Can U.S. Jewelry Manufacturers Survive?

Since 2000, it has shrunk from 4,065 companies to 3,290 at the end of 2007, says Jewelers Board of Trade. The average finished-jewelry manufacturer employs fewer than 50 workers, does $5 million to $8 million annually, and is confronting a serious recession, foreign competition, fewer skilled workers, and fewer purchases by jewelers. Meanwhile, new technology, tighter credit, and loss of support services traditionally provided by trade groups are changing how jewelers do business with manufacturers. JCK brought together several leaders of the U.S. jewelry trade for their insights and opinions. This month, they tackle why—and how—the U.S.-based industry is shrinking, what that means for jewelers, the impact of the Internet, and whether the U.S. manufacturing industry will disappear. Senior editor William George Shuster moderated. The industry has lost companies since 2000. Wh
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