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Economic impact of U.S. hides, skins industry measured

Industry accounts for nearly $3.4 billion in total economic output.

The U.S. hides and skins industry accounts for nearly $3.4 billion in total economic output, according to a new economic impact analysis conducted by John Dunham & Associates for the North American Meat Institute, an affiliate organization of the U.S. Hide, Skin & Leather Assn. (USHSLA). The entire U.S. meat and poultry industry, meanwhile, is responsible for $1.02 trillion in total economic output, or 5.6% of gross domestic product.

The study, which groups hides and skins with offal, found that the production, processing and distribution of product directly employs an estimated 5,486 individuals who collectively earn more than $384 million in wages. The broader meat and poultry industry is responsible for 5.4 million jobs and $257 billion in wages, the report notes.

“The U.S. hides and skins industry remains one of the top raw material suppliers to the global leather manufacturing industry,” USHSLA president Stephen Sothmann said. “This study just proves what we have implicitly known for years: The companies and employees that export more than 90% of U.S. hides and skins products are integral to the U.S. economy.”

U.S. exports of hides and skins products, including cattle hides, pig skins and wet blue leather, topped $2.3 billion in value in 2015.

“Leather manufacturers throughout the world prefer to use U.S. materials in their shoes, handbags, upholstery and automobiles,” Sothmann added. “The hides and skins industry is proud to support quality American jobs that ensure consumers around the world have access to our exceptional and affordable products.”

The Dunham analysis, which uses data from 2014, is featured on the newly designed website www.MeatFuelsAmerica.com. The site enables users to view the summary of findings presented nationally, state by state or by congressional district.

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