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The various subjects presented in this volume—the thirtythird of the series of annual reports issued since the Bureau was organized in 1878, are all such as bear an intimate relation to the public interests assigned to its care by the act under which it was established thirty-three years ago.
The duties of the Bureau as defined by the statute are: “To collect, assort, systematize and present in annual reports to the legislature, statistical details relating to all departments of labor in the State, especially in relation to the commercial, industrial, social, educational, and sanitary condition of the working classes, and in all suitable and lawful ways to foster and encourage our manufacturing and every other form of productive industry, with a view to their permanent establishment on a prosperous basis for both employers and wage earners."
The field of activity thus prescribed for the Bureau is not exceeded in importance, if indeed it is equalled by that assigned to any other department of the State government. The prosperity of our people and the general progress of our State are dependent on the success of our efforts to create a demand for profitable labor by extending every proper encouragement that may promote the growth and expansion of manufacturing industry, in the various forms of which, at the present time, upwards of three hundred and twenty-five thousand, or 13 per cent. of our total population, are employed.
Although ranking only eleventh among the States in the matter of population, we occupy sixth place in the value of annual product of manufactured goods, which, as shown by the statistics forming a part of this report, is now in round figures $900,000,000. Besides this army of factory and workshop employes, the term "working classes” as used in the act was intended to apply to practically all those who work for wages, so that the constituency dependent upon the Bureau for keeping the public informed regarding its widely varying conditions, risks, burdens, trials, and triumphs, includes a large majority of our entire population.
The annual reports convey no adequate idea of the work performed in this wide field; in these volumes only the results of certain more or less fixed forms of inquiry carried on year after year are shown, but little or no suggestion can be obtained from them of the vast amount of work which is being performed in disseminating information relating to industrial, commercial, social, and other interests of our State, for which there is a large and constantly growing demand. In fact the Bureau has become in respect to this particular phase of its work, a combination of clearing house and enlarged Board of Trade, for all matters relating to the material and sociological interests of our State. Among the most numerous subjects of correspondence are inquiries as to the most desirable locations for factories with relation to transportation and labor supply; opportunities for foreign trade extension; the labor laws of the State; industrial education; wages and earnings of various classes of labor; the work at which women and children are employed; the trades union movement and mutual benefit organizations or cooperative associations of workingmen. In fact the Bureau is constantly endeavoring by every possible means to keep its work abreast of advancing industrial conditions and making it productive of the greatest possible good to all our people, particularly those engaged in industrial pursuits either as employers or wage earners, in whose especial interest the office was first established.
For the past twelve years an annual census of the manufacturing industries of the State, equal in point of accuracy to the work of the Federal decennial census has been made by the Bureau, which, while showing from year to year the wonderful progress we are making in the developement of manufacturing industry, has attracted population and wealth to our State. The beneficial influence of this work is powerfully assisted by the Industrial Directory of New Jersey, which, there are the best of reasons for believing, has done more toward attracting desirable attention to our State and the industrial opportunities which it offers, than any previous publication issued under either public or private auspices. The earliest possible information relating to foreign trade opportunities are now being sent daily to our manufacturers, a majority of whom show their appreciation of the service thus rendered them by acknowledging receipt of the information bulletins with cordial letters of thanks, combined with commendation of the work, as the most valuable assistance to their business interests that had as yet been received from public sources. During the year 1910, 1,200 of these trade bulletins were mailed from the Bureau to the same number of New Jersey manufacturers, and there are reasons for believing that many of the number brought about the opening of new outlets for our manufactured products, the existence of which would have remained unknown had it not been for this service.
On behalf of our army of wage earners the Bureau has striven incessantly to awaken the public conscience to the unjust character of existing law governing the relations of master and servant in this State, and much of the public interest now being manifested in the subject is traceable to its steadily maintained agitation for the past twelve years, in favor of statutory regulation of these relations on a just and fair basis. During that entire time a chapter of each annual report was devoted to a record of the industrial accidents of the year, and in reviewing the same, the cruel injustice of saddling both the physical suffering and financial loss on the victims, was always pointed out.
The first bill dealing with the subject of employers liability introduced in 1898, was based on a report made that year by the Bureau; it provided merely for the appointment of a commision for the purpose of considering the then state of the law, with permission to recommend such statutory changes of the same as seemed just and expedient. The bill failed of passage at that time, but was revived later, and finally became law in 1907. The progress of the movement since then is too well known to require further reference, but it may be added that last year's chapter on the subject which formed as usual a part of the Bureau's report, contained a reprint of the very latest statutes regulating employers liability in every State of the Union, and also the Dominion of Canada. In the broad discussion which the subject will undoubtedly receive during some part of this legislative session, members will have for guidance a perfect knowledge of how far other states have gone in the matter of establishing liability, thus enabling them to place New Jersey abreast of the most advanced industrial states, while seeing to it that injury is not inflicted on our industries and wage earners by a too radical departure from the old order of things.
Much of the foregoing is of course, not exactly pertinent to the purposes of an "introduction," but there certainly is no impropriety in calling public attention in this way to the large amount of important and highly productive work which the Bureau is doing every day, the details of which cannot be given in the annual reports.
The present volume is divided into three parts, the first containing the Statistics of Manufactures for the twelve months ending December 31st, 1909, which are condensed into the briefest possible form consistent with leaving the data understandable. These statistics occupy from page i to page 127, and are interspersed with analytical reviews intended to fix attention on the significance of the figures. This compilation is arranged throughout on the basis of industries and not by localities. The inquirer can therefore ascertain through this report practically everything that may be desired relating to any particular industry carried on in the State, such as the number of establishments engaged in it, the capital invested, number of persons employed, value of material used, and of finished products; but the same information cannot be given for localities for the perfectly obvious reason that the multiplication of details required to furnish separate compilations by counties or municipalities, would be prohibitive because of its expensiveness and bulk, besides which the Industrial Directory, which is revised every three years, gives a full list of the manufacturing establishments with the number of wage earners for every city, town and village in the State.
The Statistics of Manufactures show that our industries are now in a highly prosperous condition, having almost completely recovered from the depression caused here and elsewhere throughout the country by the money panic of 1907-1908.
Part Two, which extends from page 131 to 191, contains chapters on Employment, Working Hours 'and Wages on Steam Railroads in New Jersey; Cost of Living in New Jersey and Europe; Fruit and Vegetable Canning Industry of New Jersey; The Relation of Occupation to Health, and an article descriptive of the means whereby the Bureau is endeavoring to assist the manufacturers and exporters of our State to secure foreign trade in their respective lines. Part Three, consists entirely of the Industrial Chronology, which is a record of occurrences of general public interest—but especially important to employers and wage earners, for the twelve months ending September 30th, 1910.
A separate introductory review accompanies such of the subjects presented in Parts One and Two as appear in tabular form; the others being self explanatory require no further introductory notice, except to say that the purpose of the chapter on the relation of occupation to health was designed to point out the justice of placing the unnecessary impairment of health where the same could be avoided, if proper precautions were taken and safeguards provided, on the same basis with regard to right to compensation, as an accidental injury suffered in the performance of duty. The introduction of this topic seems timely in view of the fact that legislation of an advanced character relating to employers liability is now pending in our own and other large manufacturing states. In the judgment of those having a broad acquaintance with factory and workshop conditions, these non-essential ill health factors where they exist, are a far greater menace to the wage earner than the liability to accident; he can to a measureable extent protect himself against accidental injury, but his employer only can guard him against danger of the other kind.
One of the most interesting and timely features of the Industrial Chronology which constitutes Part III of the report, is the record of industrial accidents for the year. These are divided among six occupational groups, and again subdivided according to their seriousness into major and minor injuries. The total number of wage earners injured during the year, was 1,875; of these 970 were serious, and 905, of a comparatively minor character. Of the 970 serious injuries, 360, or 37.1 per cent resulted in death either immediate, or shortly after the accident occurred. In four instances the accident victims lost both legs; in two, both feet; in two, one leg and one arm. Twenty suffered the loss of one leg, and nine the loss of one arm. Thirty-seven had from one to four fingers amputated; forty-one suffered fracture of the skull, and ten unfortunates had their eyesight either totally or partly destroyed.
The list is given in full in its proper place, and a perusal of it should quicken interest in the question of how this deplorable total of human suffering can be most effectively and permanently reduced. The number of accidents resulting fatally was ten per cent. greater in 1910 than in 1909. In the occupational division of accidents, "factories and workshops” are charged with a total of 644, or 34.3 per cent of the total number; “building and construction,” 323, or 17.2 per cent; “transportation,” 365, or 19.4 per cent; "tunnelmen, miners, and excavators," 170, or 9.1 per cent; "linemen and other electrical workers," 59, or 3.1 per cent; and various "unclassified occupations," 317, or 16.9 per cent.
The strikes recorded for the year are quite numerous as compared with other years, but happily only a few of them were of extended duration. The total number of strikes was 112, while the record of the preceding year was only 93. The total number of wage earners involved was 14,044, and the total wage loss reported was $439,088. Practically 50 per cent. of the strikes were for wage increases, and next in the order of numerical importance were sympathy with other strikers, and against working with non-union men. A more cheering chapter of the chronology is that which shows the growth of factory industries in our State during the year. On page 243 is a