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Which State Produces the Most Leather?

Which State Produces the Most Leather?

This is a tough question to answer because the journey from raw hide to finished leather crosses states and regions. The United States imports the majority of the leather products consumed here, but the products made by U.S. manufacturers have a very high level of domestic content - so when these products say “Made in the U.S.A.,” they truly do contain very little foreign materials.

Interestingly, regardless of which state produces it, over 90% of U.S. hide products are sold to leather tanners abroad. Hide processors and exporters are concentrated in the South Plains and Western states, near the country’s meatpacking production centers. The vast majority goes to China and other Asian countries, with much of the resulting leather being used to make shoes.

For the hides that remain in the United States, companies in the leather tanning and finishing industry are concentrated in the Northeast, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and California. These domestic companies typically obtain raw hides from slaughterhouses, then treat and dye them to create finished leather.

U.S. leather tanners have suffered over the past several years. though. Falling demand from auto, footwear, and furniture manufacturers caused double-digit drops in revenue. The industry will stabilize over the coming years, however, as demand returns slowly (particularly in the global footwear market).

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