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WAGES AND HOURS OF LABOR IN MANUFACTURING INDUSTRIES,

1890 TO 1906.

This article presents the average wages per hour, the average hours of labor per week, and the number of employees in both 1905 and 1906 in the leading wageworking occupations of 4,034 establishments in the principal manufacturing and mechanical industries of the United States. This report does not cover salaried employees in any industry. The figures of this article, taken in connection with the summary figures from the Nineteenth Annual Report and from articles in Bulletins 59 and 65 relating to wages and hours of labor, herein reproduced, bring into comparison all years from 1890 to 1906, inclusive.

In the year 1906 the average wages per hour in the principal manufacturing and mechanical industries of the country were 4.5 per cent higher than in 1905, the regular hours of labor per week were 0.5 per cent lower than in 1905, and the number of employees in the establishments investigated was 7 per cent greater than in 1905. The average full-time weekly earnings per employee in 1906 were 3.9 per cent greater than in 1905.

The variation in the purchasing power of wages may be measured by using the retail prices of food, the expenditures for which constitute nearly half of the expenditures for all purposes in a workingman's family. Retail prices of food are shown in the succeeding article in this Bulletin. According to that article the retail prices of food, weighted according to consumption in representative workingmen's families, were 2.9 per cent higher in 1906 than in 1905. As the advance in wages per hour from 1905 to 1906 was greater than the advance in the retail prices of food, the purchasing power of an

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hour's wages, as measured by food, was greater in 1906 than in 1905. In 1906 the purchasing power of an hour's wages as expended for food was 1.4 per cent greater than in 1905, and the purchasing power of a full week's wages was 1 per cent greater in 1906 than in 1905, or, expressed in other words, an hour's wages in 1906 in the manufacturing and mechanical industries in the United States would purchase 1.4 per cent more food than an hour's wages in 1905, and a full week's wages in 1906 would purchase 1 per cent more food than a full week's wages in 1905.

As compared in each case with the average for the years from 1890 to 1899, the average wages per hour in 1906 were 24.2 per cent higher, the number of employees in the establishments investigated was 42.9 per cent greater, and the average hours of labor per week were 4.6 per cent lower. The average earnings per employee per full week in 1906 were 18.5 per cent higher than the average earnings per full week during the ten years from 1890 to 1899.

The retail price of the principal articles of food, weighted according to family consumption of the various articles, was 15.7 per cent higher in 1906 than the average price for the ten years from 1890 to 1899. Compared with the average for the same ten-year period, the purchasing power of an hour's wages in 1906 was 7.3 per cent greater, and of a full week's wages 2.4 per cent greater, the increase in the purchasing power of the full week's wages being less than the increase in the purchasing power of hourly wages, because of the reduction in the hours of labor.

The figures above quoted and other figures comparing wages, hours of labor, prices, purchasing power of wages, etc., in 1906 with other years are presented in the tables on pages 4 and 7.

Comparison of retail prices of food for each month of 1905 and 1906 is made on page 180.

The following table shows the per cent of increase or decrease in the wages per hour and in hours of labor per full week in 1906 as compared with 1905 in the several industries covered by this report:

PER CENT OF INCREASE OR DECREASE IN WAGES PER HOUR AND IN HOURS OF

LABOR PER WEEK IN 1906 AS COMPARED WITH 1905, BY INDUSTRIES.

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PER CENT OF INCREASE OR DECREASE IN WAGES PER HOUR AND IN HOURS OF

LABOR PER WEEK IN 1906 AS COMPARED WITH 1905, BY INDUSTRIES-Concluded.

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Clothing, factory product...
Cotton goods..
Dyeing, finishing, and printing textiles
Eloctrical apparatus and supplies.
Flour...
Foundry and machine shop.
Furniture.
Gas.
Glass.
Harness.
Hats, fur..
Hosiery and knit goods.
Iron and steel, bar.
Iron and steel, Bessemer converting
Iron and steel, blast furnace.
Leather.
Liquors, malt
Lumber..
Marble and stone work.
Papor and wood pulp..
Planing mill
Pottery..
Printing and publishing, book and job.
Printing and publishing. newspaper.
Shipbuilding.
Silk goods.
Slaughtering and meat packing.
Streets and sewers, contract work.
Streets and sewers, municipal work.
Tobacco, cigars...
Woolen and worsted goods.

All industries..

3.8 11. 2

1.9 10.1 1.4 3. 4 2.9 1.8 4.9 2.5 5.0 4. 6 6. 9 8.5 1.3

.8 2. 7 5. O 1.7

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3. 4 1.3 4. 4 2.0 4. 8 2.7 1.5 8. 7 1.7 8. 4 4.8

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An examination of this table shows an increase in wages per hour in 1906, as compared with 1905, in 40 of the 41 industries covered by this report. The greatest increase was in the manufacture of cotton goods, where the average wages per hour in 1906 were 11.2 per cent higher than the average wages per hour in 1905. In the manufacture of electrical apparatus and supplies there was an increase in wages per hour of 10.1 per cent. In street and sewer work done by contract the increase in wages per hour was 8.7 per cent; in iron and steel, Bessemer converting, 8.5 per cent, and in the manufacture of cigars, 8.4 per cent. In the manufacture of bar iron the increase in wages per hour was 6.9 per cent, and in the building trades 6.1 per cent. Briefly stated, two industries show an increase in hourly wages of more than 10 per cent, 7 industries an increase of 5 per

cent but less than 10 per cent, and 31 industries an increase of less than 5 per cent. In one industry, paper and wood pulp, there was a decrease of wages of 1.1 per cent. In the industries as a whole, weighted according to importance, the increase in wages was 4.5 per cent. The method of weighting the several industries is fully explained on pages 23 and 24.

The per cent of change in hours of labor in 1906, as compared with 1905, was not so great as the per cent of change in wages per hour. In 5 industries there was a decrease of hours of 1 per cent or more, while in 25 industries there was a decrease of less than 1 per cent. In 5 industries there was an increase in hours of labor per week; in no instance, however, was the increase more than 0.3 per cent. Five industries show no change in hours of labor. The hours of labor were not reported for slaughtering and meat packing, for the reason set forth in footnote on page 58. The decrease in hours of labor in the industries taken as a whole was 0.5 per cent.

The table immediately following shows for the industries, taken as a whole, the per cent of increase or decrease in wages per hour, hours of labor per week, the purchasing power of wages, etc., in 1906 in the manufacturing and mechanical industries, as compared with each year preceding, back to and including 1890, and as compared with the average for the ten years, 1890 to 1899. The figures comparing conditions in 1906 with 1905, shown on pages 1 and 2, are taken from this table.

PER CENT OF INCREASE (+) OR DECREASE (-) IN 1906, AS COMPARED WITH PREVIOUS YEARS, IN EMPLOYEES, HOURS PER WEEK, WAGES PER HOUR, FULL-TIME WEEKLY EARNINGS PER EMPLOYEE, RETAIL PRICES OF FOOD, AND PURCHASING POWER OF HOURLY WAGES AND OF FULL-TIME WEEKLY EARNINGS PER EMPLOYEE, MEASURED BY RETAIL PRICES OF FOOD. 1890 TO 1906.

(A chart showing in graphic form the changes in employees, hours, wages, and retail prices will be

found facing page 8.]

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Opposite each year in the table is given the per cent of increase or decrease indicated by + or -) in 1906 as compared with the year specified. Thus, in the fourth column, opposite 1890, appears +23.8, indicating that the increase in the wages per hour in 1906, as compared with 1890, was 23.8 per cent. In like manner, in the third column, opposite 1890, appears - 5.3, indicating that the decrease in the hours of labor in 1906, as compared with 1890, was 5.3 per cent.

As before stated, the average wages per hour of wage-workers in the manufacturing and mechanical industries of the country were 4.5 per cent higher in 1906 than in 1905. This per cent (+4.5) appears in the column headed “Wages per hour” opposite the year 1905. In inspecting the percentages up the column it is seen that there was an increase in the average wages per hour in 1906 over the average wages per hour in each preceding year of the period covered; that is, back to 1890. The increase in 1906 over 1904 was 6.2 per cent, over 1903 the increase was 6.8 per cent, and over 1902 the increase was 10.7 per cent.

The increase in 1906 was more than 20 per cent over the average hourly wages in any one year from 1890 to 1899, and 24.2 per cent over the average for the ten years from 1890 to 1899. Wages in 1906 were 26.9 per cent higher than in 1894, the year of lowest wages per hour in the period.

The average hours of labor per week of wage-earners in the manufacturing and mechanical industries were lower in 1906 than in any preceding year. The hours of labor in 1906 decreased 0.5 per cent as compared with the years 1904 and 1905, the average hours of labor being the same in those two years. There was a decrease of 1.2 per cent in 1906 as compared with 1903, a decrease of 2.0 per cent as compared with 1902, and a decrease of 2.8 per cent as compared with 1901. As compared with 1890 there was a decrease of 5.3 per cent, and as compared with the average from 1890 to 1899, a decrease of 4.6 per cent.

The figures for employees relate only to the number of employees in the selected occupations covered by the report in the establishments investigated. There was an increase of 7 per cent in the number of employees in 1906 as compared with 1905; an increase of 13.7 per cent as compared with 1904; an increase of 13 per cent as compared with 1903; an increase of 15.6 per cent as compared with 1902, and an increase of 20 per cent as compared with 1901. As compared with 1894, the year in which wages and the number of persons employed were the lowest during the period, there was an increase of 51.9 per cent in the number of employees. As compared with the average for the ten years from 1890 to 1899 there was an increase of 42.9 per cent in the number of employees. These figures

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