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Washington, D. C., April 27, 1898.

SIR: I have the honor to submit herewith the Twelfth Annual Report of the Commissioner of Labor, which report relates entirely to the economic aspects of the liquor problem, and is the result of an investigation authorized by the Congress.

This report represents but a very small proportion of the work performed by the Department during the past year, the greater part of the services of the force being applied to the investigation relating to the effect of machinery upon labor and the cost of production, the results of which I anticipated would be transmitted during the latter part of 1897; but the difficulties arising in securing accurate comparisons between hand and machine processes and the necessity of a careful analysis of the results of the work have induced me to delay it until the early autumn.

The Department has also been and is still engaged on the compilation of wage rates for the principal commercial countries of the world. I had hoped to present this report before the meeting of the Fifty fifth Congress, but the difficulty of securing official data from different countries has compelled me to postpone its transmission to a later day. The work will be very comprehensive, and the necessity of careful classification requires time for preparation.

The investigation announced in the last annual report relating to municipal and private gas, electric, and water plants, is progressing slowly but very satisfactorily. When it is understood that the facts which must be gathered from the different plants relate to all the details of production and costs, the difficulties will be easily comprehended.

In submitting this report, I take great pleasure in acknowledging the valuable services of Mr. William M. Steuart, who has had charge of the collection of data and the general tabulations. I am also indebted to Mr. Oren W. Weaver, the chief clerk, and Messrs. G. Wallace W. Hanger and C. H. Verrill for valuable assistance.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,




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