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Hats in NYC

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Hat Manufacturing

Photo Credit: Kelly Ernst/NYCEDC

The Kentucky Derby, which takes place on Saturday, May 5th this year, is also known as “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports.”  Many traditions surround the event, including mint juleps, the rose garland, and of course the parade of hats. While the origin of the hat tradition is largely unknown, both men and women wear hats of varying shapes and sizes to the Kentucky Derby.

Though a relatively small industry, the hat/cap industry has experienced growth in recent years. From 2010 to 2011, retail sales for hats/caps increased 4%, and sales are expected to increase an additional 2% in 2012, according to Accessories Magazine.  Women ages 13 to 34 lead the market, representing 50% of sales in 2011.

The hat manufacturing industry accounts for roughly 2,240 jobs nationwide, based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over two-thirds of these jobs are concentrated in 10 states, with New York State having the largest share of national employment in hat manufacturing at almost 20%. A large portion of these jobs are in New York City. In fact, the City has more hat manufacturing jobs than some states, including California, Virginia, and Tennessee. Hats off to the milliners in NYC!

Hat Manufacturing

StatsBee is a column featuring interesting statistics about NYC, written by economists at the Economic Research & Analysis department within NYCEDC’s Center for Economic Transformation.




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