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CLASSIFICATION of Persons Employed on the Steam Railroads in New Jersey, for the Fiscal Year Ending
June 30th, 1910.
Rates and Annual Earnings.
Pennsylvania Railroad Company.
1909 402.56 15,890 5,199,690 327 9.9 38 $11,280, 935.03 $2.17 $709.94 1,021 1910 436.
18,532 5,592,443 302 9.6 63 13,555,838.52 2.42 731.48 1,253
62 1,332,004.44 1.77 536.45 105
63 1,486,729.04 1.89 572.26 104
Cost of Living in New Jersey.
Retail Prices for a Selected Bill of Food Supplies Obtained From Repre. sentative Dealers in Groceries and Meats, in the Twenty-One
Counties of the State. Prices as they were in June, 1910.
The following tables present for the year 1910 the results of the study of food prices which for many years has formed a regular feature of the reports of this Bureau. The prices quoted are for a bill of goods selected with a view to making the list as nearly as possible representative of the standard varieties of table supplies used by families of average incomes. In the large cities the dealers from whom the prices are obtained year after year are neither the highest nor the lowest priced, and care has been taken to exclude from the test list many varieties of articles that are rightly regarded as luxuries beyond the means of mechanics or others who support families on moderate wages or salaries.
The cost of living as an element of the economic problem of how to obtain from our labor the greatest possible amount of the good and desirable things of life is of equal importance with the question of income, whether the same be in the form of profits of business, salaries and fees for professional services, or wages for work performed with the hands. The reciprocal relations of both are such that the fairness or sufficiency of neither one can be passed upon without also considering the other. The value of incomes in any form, is, therefore, simply a question of how far the money will go toward supplying the things we want and must have according to the plane of living to which we aspire. In recognition of this economic interrelation of prices and incomes, the Bureau has endeavored for years back to give an accurate presentation of the trend of both of its annual reports. Current wages and earnings for approximately 310,000 persons employed in the factory and workshop industries of the State, are given in the annual "Statistics of Manufactures," and similar data are supplied for the upwards of 47,000 employed in steam railroad transportation within the geographical limits
of New Jersey. Both elements of the problem are thus presented year by year, thereby enabling us to determine the extent of such changes as may have occurred in their relations to each other.
To insure the utmost possible uniformity of conditions one year with another, the cost of living reports are furnished successively by the same dealers, and the prices furnished by all are those that prevailed during the month of June each year, thus assuring the fairest possible conditions for comparison, and showing such changes as may have occurred.
Following the forms of previous years, this presentation consists of three tables, No. I giving the cost of the entire bill of goods by localities, No. 2 giving the average prices which prevailed throughout the State, for each separate article in standard quantities, the prices of 1910 being placed in comparison with those of 1909, and No. 3, which is the same in form as No. 2, excepting only that the comparison covers a period of twelve years, or from 1898 to 1910.
Table No. 1 is so arranged as to show the relative costliness of the entire bill of goods; the city or town in which it is lowest appearing first on the list, the others following in the order in which prices increase, the highest being as a matter of course the place which appears last on the table.
Califon, Hunterdon county, still maintains the position of lowest in price, which it has held for the past six years, and is therefore by reasonable inference the most inexpensive location for residence in the entire State, so far as ordinary table supplies are concerned. The cost of the bill of goods there is $10.745; in other towns it ranges from $11.287 to $11.814; twenty-nine localities report totals ranging from $12.050 to $12.980; twenty-six localities report totals ranging from $13.084 to $13.945, while five report totals of from $14.027 to $14.684, and five—the highest on the list, report totals of from $15.141 to $15.810. In presenting these totals, and prices appearing on the other tables, it has been found necessary to carry the decimal fraction to three figures in order to show the changes per article, which in one year are very slight either way.
The average cost of the bill of goods for the entire State is $13.143. In 1909 the average cost was $13.796, a decrease is therefore shown of $0.653, or 4.8 per cent. An examination of the table will show that generally prices are highest in the larger cities and the suburban towns immediately about them, and lowest in the smaller communities where there is little or no competition, and to which all goods, with the exception of farm products, must be transported from distant wholesale markets with, of course, some addition to the prices which the ultimate consumer must pay. The difference in prices under these circumstances can be accounted for only by the fact that country stores are not burdened with high rents, expenses of delivery and probably have to pay much lower wages for such help as may be employed. The country store also, as a rule, handle many other lines of goods, the profits on which help to defray fixed charges, and, most important advantage of all, usually do business on a strictly cash basis, and are not obliged to recoup themselves for losses through uncollectable debts.
Table No. 2 gives average prices throughout the State for each article included in the bill for 1910, in comparison with those reported for 1909. Flour in barrels—first and second quality, although having a place on this table for the purpose of parison, is not included in the totals of either year, for the reason that these goods also appear in twenty-five pound bags, and their inclusion under both designations would result in doubling whatever difference there may be in price of four as shown by the comparison.
An examination of the table will show only two articles“bread, small loaf,” and “prunes, second quality,” selling for the same prices both years. Fourteen articles show decreases amounting in the aggregate to $1.251, and thirty-six articles show increases which amount in the aggregate to $0.598; the net decrease shown in prices for 1910 as compared with those of 1909, is therefore, as before stated, $0.653, or 4.8 per cent. ponderance of decreases over increases, notwithstanding the much greater number of the latter, is due entirely to two items out of the fourteen which show a reduction in prices; these are "new potatoes” and “old potatoes,” which averaged $0.589, and $0.457 less respectively per bushel in 1910 than in 1909. Excluding potatoes from the bill of both years, the net decrease of $0.653 pointed out above, is changed to an increase of $0.393, or 2.8 per cent. in the prices for 1910.
Table No. 3 is the same in every respect as Table No. 2, except that 1910 prices are compared with those reported for the year 1898, when this annual inquiry was first begun. The comparison, it will be noticed, is based on a smaller number of articles, those only being used for which prices were quoted in 1898. Flour by the barrel is substituted in the comparison for the same goods in twenty-five pound bags, which will, as a matter of course, cause a very considerable enlargement in the aggregate amount of the bill for both years, as compared with totals on
Table No. 2. This comparison over the longest period of time (12 years) for which there is available data, is made for the purpose of presenting the changes in larger figures, the significance of which are much more striking than the small fractions required for recording the fluctuations from year to year. The increases and decreases are given in absolute numbers and by percentages.
In 1898, the forty-three articles appearing on Table No. 3 cost in the quantities specified for each, $16.901; in 1910, the same list of goods is quoted at $23.824, an increase of $6.923, or 40.96 per cent. Granulated sugar is the only article on the bill that shows no variation in price for both years; that, however, must not be regarded as indicating absolutely stationary cost for this commodity during the entire twelve years covered by the comparison; as a matter of fact, fluctuations—but of a very minute character, were reported many times during the period covered by the comparison, and the agreement in price for 1898 and 1910 shown by the table is merely a coincidence.
Nine articles show a reduction of price in 1910, as compared with 1898, these are: N. O. molasses, 22.96 per cent.; Rio coffee, 3.16 per cent.; Java coffee, 24.69 per cent.; first quality black tea, 3.90 per cent.; first quality green tea, 1.75 per cent.; mixed tea, 0.34 per cent. ; canned tomatoes, 14.68 per cent. ; succotash, 0.86 per cent.; prunes—second quality, 3.49 per cent. All other articles show increases that are, with few exceptions, very large. Principal among these are, cheese—best creamery, 93.62 per cent.; butter_second quality, 92.31 per cent. ; lard, 91.21 per cent.; flour-second quality, per barrel, 59.84 per cent. ; flour
-first quality, per barrel, 50.89 per cent., and butter—first quality, 59.36 per cent.
The advance in prices of meats during the twelve years covered by the comparison is very marked, but that recorded for pork products surpass all other varieties. The price of bacon has increased 107.44 per cent. ; that of shoulder, 91.67 per cent.; salt pork, 87.37 per cent.; ham, 84.03 per cent., and fresh pork, 80.36
The increases in price of beef, although much below pork, are also very large; the cheaper cuts show the greatest advance, as for instance, the 1910 prices quoted for corned brisket, corned round, round steak, and chuck roast, are 49.33 per cent., 40.88 per cent., 34.21 per cent., and 31.36 per cent. higher respectively than they were in 1898, while such choice cuts as surloin steaks and rib roast have advanced only 31.36 per cent., and 27.81 per cent., respectively. Leg of mutton and breast of mutton show respective increases of 41.38 and 40.43 per cent.