Textile production statistics - NACE Rev. 1.1

From Statistics Explained

Data from January 2009. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database.

This article belongs to a set of statistical articles which analyse the structure, development and characteristics of the various economic activities in the European Union (EU). The present article covers the manufacture of textiles, corresponding to NACE Rev 1.1 Division 17, which is part of the textiles, clothing, leather and shoe production sector. The manufacture of textiles includes such processes as:

  • spinning;
  • weaving;
  • the finishing of products.
Table 1: Manufacture of textiles (NACE Division 17). Structural profile, EU-27, 2006 (1)

Main statistical findings

Structural profile

Figure 1: Manufacture of textiles (NACE Division 17). Relative weight within textiles, EU-27, 2006 (%) (1)
Table 2: Manufacture of textiles (NACE Division 17). Expenditure, productivity and profitability, EU-27, 2006 (1).
Table 3: Textiles (CPA Division 17). Production of selected products, EU-27, 2007 (1)
Table 4: Manufacture of textiles (NACE Division 17). Main indicators, 2006 (1).

There were 79.1 thousand enterprises across the EU-27 for which the manufacture of textiles (NACE Division 17) was their main activity in 2006. These enterprises employed just over one million people, a little over one third (35.4 %) of the textiles, clothing and leather manufacturing workforce. They generated an estimated EUR 30.0 billion of value added in 2006, closer to one half (46.3 %) of the added value generated across textiles, clothing and leather manufacturing.

The largest activity within the textiles sector was the manufacture of other textiles (NACE Group 17.5) such as carpets, rugs and non-woven articles; this subsector generated an estimated EUR 8.0 billion of value added across the EU-27 in 2005. The activity of textile weaving (NACE Group 17.2) generated EUR 5.4 billion of value added, making it the next largest. By far the smallest activity was the manufacture of knitted and crocheted fabrics (NACE Group 17.6), which generated EUR 1.2 billion of value added.

The principal textile manufacturing Member State was Italy, with EUR 8.7 billion of value added generated in 2006 accounting for around 28.9 % of EU-27 value added. The textiles manufacturing sectors in Germany, the United Kingdom and France were the next largest, together contributing just over a third (36.0 %) of the EU-27’s value added. All three countries were relatively unspecialised in textile manufacturing, however, as the relative contribution of this sector to national non-financial business economy value added was beneath the EU-27 average. In contrast, Portugal, Bulgaria (2005) and Italy were relatively specialised in the manufacture of textiles, as this sector contributed about 1.5 % of the total value added in their respective non-financial business economies in 2006, between two and a half and three times the EU-27 average.

The production index of the EU-27’s textiles manufacturing activity declined by an average 2.8 % per year in the ten years through until 2007, despite a temporary upturn in 2000 and a marked slowdown in the rate at which output fell in 2006 and 2007. This pattern of development was common to six of the seven textile manufacturing NACE groups, with the sharpest rate of decline (an average -5.6 % per year) being recorded for the preparation and spinning of textile fibres (NACE Group 17.1). The exception was the manufacture of other textiles (NACE Group 17.5) such as carpets, rugs and non-woven articles, for which the production level in 2007 was remarkably similar to that in 1997 and was relatively stable in the period in-between.

Expenditure and productivity

A little over three fifths (61.3 %) of the tangible investment within the textiles, clothing and leather manufacturing sector was for textiles manufacturing in 2006. The investment rate, defined as the ratio of tangible investment to value added, was 15.0 % for textiles manufacturing, which was considerably higher than the rates for clothing or leather manufacturing.

The structure of operating expenditure for the EU-27’s textiles manufacturing sector was broadly similar to that of textiles, clothing and leather manufacturing as a whole, although personnel costs accounted for a slightly higher share within the textiles sector (23.0 % in 2005). This higher share was, in part, due to the higher – albeit still relatively low – average personnel costs; average personnel costs within the EU-27’s textiles manufacturing sector were EUR 21.5 thousand per employee, almost one third (33.0 %) more than the average across textiles, clothing and leather manufacturing in 2006.

The apparent labour productivity of the EU-27's textiles manufacturing sector in 2006 was EUR 28.3 thousand per person employed, which was also almost one third (31.0 %) more than the corresponding productivity level across textiles, clothing and leather manufacturing as a whole. Adjusting productivity for the differences in average personnel costs, the resulting wage-adjusted labour productivity ratio of the textiles manufacturing sector (131.5 %) was very similar to the average ratio across textiles, clothing and leather manufacturing as a whole (133.6 %). Bulgaria recorded a particularly high wage adjusted labour productivity ratio for textiles manufacturing (198.2 %) relative to its average ratio for textiles, clothing and leather manufacturing (145.4 %). Across all of the Member States[1], however, the wage adjusted labour productivity ratios for the textiles manufacturing sector were lower than the corresponding ratios for the non-financial business economy.

Data sources and availability

The main part of the analysis in this article is derived from structural business statistics (SBS), including core, business statistics which are disseminated regularly, as well as information compiled on a multi-yearly basis, and the latest results from development projects.

Other data sources include the PRODCOM statistics on the production of manufactured goods.


Since the closure of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO)  (ten-year, transitional Agreement on Textiles and Clothing (ATC) at the end of 2004, the European Union market for textiles, clothing, leather and footwear has been open to far more global competition, particularly from China and other Far Eastern countries. The European Commission published a study on the competitiveness, economic situation and location of production in the textiles and clothing, footwear, leather (and furniture) industries in 2007, which put forward some ideas for consideration: to upgrade knowledge and skills within the sector; to enhance the value added of EU manufactured products, perhaps through emphasising social ethics, environmental and health considerations and ethical sourcing; to enhance the protection of intellectual property; to foster trade and eliminate trade barriers; to improve the integration of fashion and design in the sector and better support young designers.

Further Eurostat information


Main tables


Dedicated section

See also


  1. Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania, 2005; Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta and the Netherlands, not available.