This category covers establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing leather goods, not elsewhere classified, such as saddlery, harnesses, whips, embossed leather goods, leather desk sets, razor strops, and leather belting. Establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing gaskets and packing are classified in SIC 3053: Gaskets, Packing, and Sealing Devices. Establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing leather and sheep-lined clothing are classified in SIC 2386: Leather and Sheep-Lined Clothing.
316999 (All Other Leather Good Manufacturing)
The industry category of manufacturers of miscellaneous leather goods encompasses a broad array of unusual products with somewhat archaic uses. For example, a significant number of items classified relate to antiquated equestrian pursuits and the reliance on the horse as a primary form of transportation, as it was during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in the United States. For this reason, the miscellaneous leather goods industry can trace its roots back to the first skilled leather craftspeople who arrived on the North American continent with early European settlers, and even before that, back to near prehistoric times when militia units roamed much of Eurasia on horseback. The demand for such items as saddles, feed bags, halters and harnesses, riding crops, helmets, and stirrups made from leather later declined with the advent of the industrial era.
More recently, the miscellaneous leather goods industry shifted to manufacturing products for use in factories and other mechanical establishments. Such items included textile machinery aprons, machinery belting, and sleeves and leggings for welders. Declines in the manufacturing segment of the economy led to another shift toward consumer products. This area, which dominated the industry in the 1990s and early 2000s, is involved in manufacturing small leather novelty items, such as leather collars and harnesses for household dogs and cats. A large portion of earnings in this industry is derived from the manufacture and sale of leather desk accessories.
The value of industry shipments declined steadily from $628.5 million in 1998 to $425.6 million in 2001. The sluggish economic conditions in the United States that began in 2000 and were exacerbated by the September 11,2001 terrorist attacks were partly to blame for this downward trend, as were the growing numbers of inexpensive imports.
At the turn of the twenty-first century roughly 400 establishments operated in the industry, an increase of about 15 percent since 1987, when there were 349 establishments. The majority of establishments employed less than 20 people. The number of workers in the industry was 8,524 in 2000, down from 10,216 in 1997. The industry's 6,520 production workers earned an average hourly wage of $8.46 in 2000. Total payroll expenses that year were $169.2 million. The leading states, in terms of number of establishments, were Texas and California. The leaders, in terms of shipment value, were California and Ohio.
While finished leather accounts for the majority of material utilized by the miscellaneous leather goods industry, broadwoven fabrics, coated plastics and fabrics, and other forms of plastics are also used in industry production. In 1977, the cost of materials used by the industry in manufacturing was $154 million; five years later, the figure had risen to just $165.3 million. In 1987, the cost of materials totaled $181.4 million, a somewhat dramatic jump from the previous year's figure of $134.5 million. In 1995, the cost of materials was $149.4 million; this rose drastically in 1997 to $392.1 million. After peaking at $451.4 million in 1998, the cost of materials declined to $369.3 million in 2000.
U.S. Census Bureau. "Statistics for Industry Groups and Industries: 2000." February 2002. Available from http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/m00as-1.pdf .
——. "Value of Shipments for Product Classes: 2001 and Earlier Years." December 2002. Available from http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/m01as-2.pdf .