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comparable wages and hours of labor could be secured. It is carefully pointed out in the report that while the industries and occupations selected rank among the more highly organized and more highly skilled, they do not appear to occupy a substantially higher relative position in the United States than they do in England and Wales, and that the selection of these occupations for the purposes of international comparison is not less suitable in the United States than in the other foreign countries which have been made the subjects of similar reports by the Board of Trade.
Throughout the summary of the report, which is given in the following pages, it has been the purpose to present fully and fairly the conclusions of the original report with whatever of the details is most important from the standpoint of the American reader. In order to express exactly the findings of the British investigators, as presented in their report, the text of the report has been freely drawn upon both by direct quotation and by statements somewhat condensed for the sake of brevity. The conclusions and comment throughout are according to the original report.
SCOPE OF THE INVESTIGATION.
The present investigation, relating to conditions in the United States, was carried on by agents of the British Board of Trade during the year 1909. The data forming the basis of the report relate to February, 1909.
Twenty-eight cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul being counted as one) were covered by the investigation. These cities were chosen “because of their representative industrial character or their intrinsic importance, and an attempt was also made to select those that would fall in the few groups framed on broad lines of geographical distribution." No cities were included west of St. Louis and Minneapolis. The cities included within the inquiry were as follows: New York.
Central towns-Concluded. New England towns:
Pittsburg. Fall River.
Middle West towns: Lawrence.
Milwaukee. Other eastern towns:
Minneapolis-St. Paul. Baltimore.
St. Louis. Newark.
Southern towns: Paterson.
Augusta. Central towns:
New Orleans. Detroit.
It will be noticed that New England is represented by six cities, five of which are in Massachusetts, while the State of New York has only one city, namely, New York. Pennsylvania is represented by two cities, Philadelphia and Pittsburg; Illinois by one only, Chicago, and Indiana by one only, Muncie. The South is represented by six cities, three of which are in Georgia.
The industries which form the basis of the information in regard to wages and hours are the same as in previous investigations of the Board of Trade, namely, the building trades, engineering (that is, foundries and machine shops), and hand compositors on job work in the printing trade. While the principal comparisons are based entirely upon these occupations, the report contains much detailed information in regard to earnings and hours in other occupations in the individual cities.
In regard to housing and rents of wage-earning families, information was secured covering approximately 90,000 tenements.
In order to arrive at some estimate of the standard of living prevalent in industrial communities in the United States, 7,616 family budgets were secured showing the expenditure for food in the normal week representative of numerous occupations and of the various grades of income. The information in regard to prices is chiefly limited to such principal articles of food as permit of comparison between city and city and between the United States and England and Wales. Prices are also presented for coal and for kerosene.
RATES OF WAGES.
Information in regard to wages and hours of labor was obtained mainly from individual employers, but to some extent also from public authorities. In some cases trade unions also furnished information as to current local rates. The industries and occupations concerning which data as to wages and hours of labor were obtained were those that were considered as "most widely distributed and those of chief local importance; the former being chosen mainly as affording a basis for internal and international comparisons; the latter as being best calculated to make the investigation of local industrial conditions adequate.”
February, 1909, was taken as the period for which wages and hours of labor were obtained, and employers were asked to give for the principal classes of adult male labor in their service the predominant earnings or the predominant range of earnings for a full ordinary week without overtime. In the case
In the case of workmen not paid by time the amount most frequently earned on some other basis, generally piecework, during an ordinary week was obtained. Separate returns of wages and hours were obtained from about 1,300 representative employers.
In the following table are given the predominant range of wages for an ordinary week in February, 1909, in the case of the engineering and printing trades and for an ordinary week in summer in the case of the building trades for the entire group of cities covered by the investigation:
PREDOMINANT WEEKLY WAGES OF ADULT MALES IN CERTAIN OCCUPATIONS IN
THE UNITED STATES IN FEBRUARY, 1909.
[The wages of Negroes have been excluded.)
The wages stated for the building trades are for a full week in summer.
In order that the actual wages and the hours of labor in each city may be studied and compared, the following table is presented, showing the predominant rate of weekly wages for each occupation and in each of the cities so far as the information was secured:
PREDOMINANT WEEKLY WAGES AND HOURS OF LABOR IN SPECIFIED TOWNS OF
THE UNITED STATES, 1909.
1 21.90- 24. 64
2 30. 42 1 1 18.25 24. 33
31. 23 24. 33- 27.37
31. 23 21.90- 24. 33
30. 42 1 19. 47- 21, 90
1 Colored men.
2 White men.