This category covers establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing small articles normally carried on the person or in a handbag, such as billfolds, key cases, and coin purses of leather or other materials, except precious metal. Establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing similar personal goods or precious metals are classified in SIC 3911: Jewelry, Precious Metal.
Personal Leather Good (except Women's Handbag and Purse) Manufacturing
The overall economic health of the personal leather goods industry is tied to the status of the domestic leather production industry as a whole. Both this small segment and its parent category are affected by many of the same problems in manufacturing, labor costs, and competition with foreign-made products. The products manufactured by this industry are sometimes referred to as flatgoods due to their small dimensions; they are generally designed to fit into pockets or handbags. Such items include wallets and billfolds, coin purses, and key and cigarette cases; these goods may be manufactured wholly or partially of leather, plastic, or fabric, or from a combination of these materials.
Wallets and billfolds have historically represented the largest production segment of this industry, although by the early 2000s the category consisting of travel kits, jewelry cases, vanity cases, compacts, and other personal items had overtaken the wallet and billfold category. In 2002, travel kits and the like accounted for 52 percent of shipments in the industry; wallets and billfolds made up 37 percent. The remaining 11 percent consisted of other leather goods. Typically, manufacturers offer several product lines each season in a variety of colors and prices. Many of the products are interrelated, meaning consumers of both sexes can purchase a wallet and accompanying accouterments in a single style at the department store counter, traditionally the largest retailer of such products. This industry category also includes such items as watchbands, compacts, and business-card cases, if made from leather.
According to U.S. Department of Commerce estimates, the value of shipments for this segment of the leather manufacturing industry totaled $355.9 million in 2002, down from $465.2 million in 1997. The total number of employees in this segment of the industry fell to 3,156 in 2002 from 5,215 in 1997. The number of production workers in the...