A factory in mid-town Manhattan remains a testament to one man’s determination to keep jobs local as the economy slowly recovers.
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11,000 garments will pass through this factory in midtown Manhattan over the next four weeks, as the 85 full-time workers at Ferrara Manufacturing assemble a fall fashion line for a high-end label.
In the inspection area, workers check all of the individual pieces before they are sewn, and then pressed, steamed and finally, shipped.
Orders are up 25% this year, nearly back to pre-recession levels and almost all of the laid off workers are back. Still, the economy offers challenges, especially the present conditions in Washington.
Owner Joe Ferrara explains:
“The very thought of a default of U.S. debt is just unimaginable and so while we are all very secure that that would never happen, the very thought that it could is just unnerving, so we have to get past that.”
The recent news on the economy is also unnerving. The economy grew a weak 1.3% last quarter as high gas prices prompted consumers to keep a tight lid on their wallets.
Gus Faucher of Moody’s Analytics says:
“1.3 percent is barely enough to keep the economy going. We need to see growth of 2.5 or 3% in order to bring down the unemployment rate. This is less than half of that. So this is bad news and hopefully the economy should be able to get over this soft patch in the second half of 2011.”
Ferrara won’t know for a couple of months how orders will look for next year, but says he has stitched together a new business model for an old industry.
“We’re positioning ourselves as a small business for new innovation, entrepreneurship, that’s where the money is, and the nation needs to be reoriented that way.”
Ferrara is focusing on getting new business from up-and-coming fashion entrepreneurs, in the hopes it will help to revive the label “Made in America.”