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Trends of Earnings and Hours
Summary of Earnings and Hours Data for October 1946
WEEKLY earnings in manufacturing industries in November 1946 continued to average about $45.50 for the third successive month, according to preliminary estimates. This average is about $5 per week more than in November 1945, although the average workweek is about 1 hour shorter. The figures below are preliminary averages for November.
Final figures for October 1946 indicate that both average hourly and average weekly earnings were slightly higher than in September in both the durable and nondurable goods groups. The transportation equipment and tobacco groups showed the greatest increases in weekly earnings over the month-$1.63 and $1.49, respectively. A longer workweek in the shipbuilding industry, following the settlement of the maritime strike, was a large factor in the gain in weekly earnings in the transportation equipment group. A bumper tobacco crop, combined with increased demand for tobacco, raised the earnings in the tobacco group to $36.82, the highest on record.
In the year ending October 1946, weekly earnings of production workers in manufacturing increased 111⁄2 percent or almost $5. While this is the average for all industries, the spread around this average was considerable. For example, 4 industries, employing 1 percent of all factory workers, reported decreases in weekly earnings between October 1945 and October 1946; while 51 industries, with 21 percent of the employment, had increases in weekly earnings of less than 10 percent. At the other extreme, increases in weekly earnings of 20 percent or more were reported by 13 industries with 11 percent of all workers. It must be remembered that these figures are industry averages; weekly earnings in individual plants or for individual workers may not agree with these.
Earnings and hours in manufacturing and nonmanufacturing industries-Continued
1 These figures are based on reports from cooperating establishments covering both full- and part-time employees who worked or received pay during any part of one pay period ending nearest the 15th of October 1946, as follows:
Manufacturing.-32,400 establishments, 7,235,000 production workers.
Mining.-2,600 establishments, 311,000 production workers.
Public utilities.-6.600 establishments, 688,000 employees.
Hotels (year-round).-900 establishments, 84,000 employees.
Power laundries and cleaning and dyeing.-1,400 establishments, 64,000 production workers.
As not all reporting firms furnish man-hour data, average hours and average hourly earnings for individual industries are based on a slightly smaller sample than are weekly earnings. For manufacturing, mining, power laundries, and cleaning and dyeing industries, the data relate to production workers only. For the remaining industries the data relate to all employees except high paid executives and officials. Data for the current and immediately preceding months are subject to revision.
? Excludes messengers, and approximately 6,000 employees of general and divisional headquarters, and of cable companies.
Cash payments only; additional value of board, room, and tips, not included.
Trend of Factory Earnings, 1939 to October 1946
THE average earnings of factory workers are summarized in the accompanying table for selected months from January 1939 to October 1946. The earnings shown in this table are on a gross basis (i. e., before deductions for social security, income taxes, bond purchases, etc.).
Weekly earnings in all manufacturing averaged $45.68 in October 1946-97.0 percent above the average in January 1939, 71.5 percent above January 1941, and 17.5 percent above October 1942. Weekly earnings for October 1946 increased 11.5 percent above October 1945. However, average weekly earnings were still below the wartime peak of $47.50 (in January 1945), as a result of shorter working hours
1 Compare trends in factory wages, 1939-43, in Monthly Labor Review, November 1943 (p. 869), especially table 4 (p. 879). For detailed data regarding weekly earnings, see preceding table.