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From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report.
The clothing and textile industry in the United States is growing again. VOA visited the southern state of North Carolina to learn about changes in manufacturing there. The number of factories there had decreased because of competition with factories in countries where wages are low. Clothing and cloth manufacturing was once one of the biggest and most important industries in the state. The industry has reinvented itself using technology and fewer factory workers. At the National Spinning Company factory in Burlington, North Carolina, robots do most of the work once done by textile workers. The factory adds colors to more than 110,000 kilograms of yarn every week. The yarn is sent to clothing and furniture makers in the U.S. and around the world. Michael Hankensen is one of only two workers who take care of the machines. He says it would take an army of men to do the work now done by computer controlled robotic machines. Technology is helping the company compete with factories in other countries that pay workers only a few dollars a day. The National Spinning Company factory pays its 100 employees between $10 and $20 an hour. The factory supervisor says it is important to limit labor costs. But he says the factory must also make good products to compete in the international market. Deborah Wince-Smith is the president of the Council on Competitiveness. She says the textile industry must continue to develop technology. The industry has built 23 factories in the last three years. It has also increased its exports by 30 percent. The American textile industry is showing new signs of life.