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UNITED STATES DEPARTM ENT OF LABO R
Frances Perkins, Secretary
BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
Isador Lubin, Commissioner (on leave)
A . F. Hinrichs, Acting Commissioner

Earnings and Hours in M en’s
Cotton-Garm ent Industries
and in
Plants M anufacturing Single Pants O ther Than
Cotton, 1939 and 1941

Prepared by the
DIVISION OF W AGE ANALYSIS
Robert J. M yers, Chief

B ulletin

7\[o. 719

(Reprinted from the M onthly Labor R eview , August 1942, w ith additional data)

UNITED STATES
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1942

For sale by the Superintendent o f Documents, Washington, D. C.




Price 10 cents

CON TS
TEN
Part I
Page
E a r n in g s a n d H o u r s in t h e M e n ’ s C o t t o n - G a r m e n t I n d u s t r ie s ,
1939 AND 1941

Characteristics of industry group:
Definition of industries___________________________________________________
Size and location of industries___________________________________________
Economic organization___________________________________________________
Scope and method of survey---------------------------------------------------------------------------Hourly earnings of wage earners:
Trend of earnings, 19 37-42______________________________________________
Wage structure in March 1941----------------------------------------------------------------Changes in earnings of wage earners, February-March 1939 to March
1941_____________________________________________________________________
Weekly hours and earnings of wage earners:
Average weekly hours____________________________________________________
Average weekly earnings_________________________________________________
Earnings and hours of clerical workers, 1941-------------------------------------------------

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2

5
7

8
15
19
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20

P a r t II
E a r n i n g s a n d H o u r s i n P l a n t s M a n u f a c t u r i n g S in g l e P a n t s
O t h e r T h a n C o t t o n , 1939 a n d 1941

Average hourly earnings:
Wage structure in March 1941__________________________________________
Changes in earnings, February-March 1939 to March 1941___________
Weekly hours and earnings:
Average weekly hours-------------------------------------------------------------------------------Average weekly earnings---------------------------------------------------------------------------

22
24
25
25

LETTER OF TRAN SM ITTAL

U n it ed S ta tes D epar tm en t of L ab o r ,
B u r e a u of L abor S tatist ic s ,

Washington, D. C.y September 8y 191$.
The S ecr e tar y of L a b o r :
I have the honor to transmit herewith a report covering a study
made of earnings and hours in the men’s cotton-garment industries
and in plants manufacturing single pants other than cotton, 1939 and
1941. This study was requested by the Administrator of the Wage
and Hour Division. The field survey and preparation of the report
were under the direction of Robert J. Myers, Chief of the Division
of Wage Analysis, and under the immediate supervision of Frances
M . Jones. The report was prepared by Lily Mary David, with the
assistance of Dorothy S. Stone.
A. F . H in r ich s , Acting Commissioner.
Hon. F ran ces P e r k in s ,
Secretary of Labor.
n




B ulletin

7[o.
s

719 o f the

U n ited States Bureau o f Labor Statistics
[Reprinted from the M onthly L abor R e v ie w , August 1942, with additional datai

PARTI
E A R N I N G S A N D H O U R S IN M E N ’ S C O T T O N G A R M E N T I N D U S T R I E S , 1939 A N D 1941

Characteristics o f Industry Group
DEFINITION OF INDUSTRIES

Shirts and work clothing are the principal products of the
men’s cotton-garment industries. This report covers establish­
ments whose major products are dress and sport shirts of
woven or purchased knit fabric; collars and sleeping wear of woven
fabric; men’s and boys’ all-cotton single pants; and professional coats,
aprons and other washable service apparel, work shirts, overalls,
overall jackets, and coveralls of any material. Establishments
manufacturing these products may be grouped into three industries:
(1) dress and sport shirts, collars, and nightwear; (2) cotton pants,
overalls, and work shirts; and (3) washable service apparel.
Establishments engaged primarily in manufacturing underwear,
wash suits, heavy cotton jackets, or oiled cotton garments are omitted,
since the study described here was made at the request of the Admin­
istrator of the Fair Labor Standards Act in connection with a pro­
posed minimum-wage order that did not include these products.
Moreover, at the time of the survey these articles, with the exception
of underwear, were subject to a minimum wage 7.5 cents above
that in effect for most of the products of the men’s cotton-garment
industries.
SIZE AND LOCATION OF INDUSTRIES

Between 1,400 and 1,500 establishments were engaged principally
in the manufacture of men’s dress shirts and nightwear, cotton pants,
overalls, work shirts, and washable service apparel in 1939. At that
time these establishments employed about 145,000 wage earners, or
a fifth of the workers manufacturing all types of cut and sewed gar­
ments. The total value of these cotton garments manufactured in
1939 amounted to about $375,000,000. This value includes all such
products wherever produced, but excludes receipts for contract work
and other products manufactured in cotton-garment establishments.
Almost half of the wage earners employed in the three industries
in 1939 were engaged in the manufacture of cotton pants, overalls, and
work shirts; a corresponding proportion were in shirt and nightwear,
and only about 2 percent in washable-service-apparel, establishments.




1

2

EARNINGS AND HOURS, 1939 AND 1941

The most important single product was dress shirts, accounting for
between 35 and 40 percent of the total value of products within the
scope of this survey.
The manufacture of men’s cotton garments is widely scattered
throughout the country, with a substantial proportion of the industries
in the South and in small towns and villages. Other apparel industries
demand closer contact with fashion centers or require the higher skills
found in the larger labor markets. In contrast, the standardized
nature and simpler construction of their product permit cotton-gar­
ment establishments to utilize the cheap factory space and the lowwage and relatively unskilled labor of smaller cities and agricultural
and mining towns in both northern and southern States.
At least 40 States now manufacture men’s cotton garments, and only
one State, Pennsylvania, had over 10 percent of the wage earners in
the combined industries in 1939. More than three-fifths of the wage
earners are in the northern region, which includes the Northeast,
Middle West, and West. Practically the entire washable-serviceapparel industry and about three-fourths of the wage earners in the
shirt and nightwear industry are in this region, principally in the
Northeast. Considerable proportions of cotton pants, overalls,
and work shirts are manufactured in the Middle West, and a few large
work-clothing factories are in the Mountain and Pacific States. The
South is the major producer of work clothing, having between 50 and
55 percent of the wage earners in establishments whose principal
products are cotton pants, overalls, and work shirts, including almost
three-fourths of the workers in the manufacture of work shirts.
With the exception of washable service apparel, all products of
these industries are manufactured principally outside large metro­
politan areas. A survey made by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in
1939, which covered about half of the workers in these industries,
indicated that between one-fifth and one-sixth of the workers were in
communities with a population of less than 5,000 and about two-fifths
were in communities with a population of less than 25,000. Plants
employing only one-sixth of the labor in the industries were in metro­
politan areas of 1,000,000 or more. Three-fifths of the employees in
work-shirt establishments were in communities of less than 25,000 in
1939. In contrast, the washable-service-apparel industry, which pro­
duces industrial uniforms and service clothing for professional offices,
institutions, and businesses, had about four-fifths of its employees in
large cities.
ECONOMIC ORGANIZATION

Although a large majority of the establishments in the cottongarment industries are small, about three-fourths of the industries’
wage earners are employed in plants with 100 or more workers, and
some establishments employ more than 1,000 persons. The average
employment per plant was about 100 in 1939, contrasted with an
average of between 40 and 45 wage earners in all establishments manu­
facturing cut and sewed garments. Southern cotton-garment estab­
lishments are generally larger than northern plants. Standardization
of the product and emphasis on price rather than on careful workman­
ship permit cotton-garment plants to obtain such advantages of largescale production as are possible in the manufacture of apparel.
These advantages are distinctly limited, however, and the cotton


m e n ’s

3

COTTON-GARMENT INDUSTRIES

garment industries are like other clothing industries in the ease with
which new plants can be established. These facts, together with
consumer price consciousness, make the manufacture of all types of
men’s cotton garments highly competitive. Brand names limit com ­
petition to some extent in the manufacture of dress shirts; in the sale
of overalls also, competition is somewhat limited by brand names and
the use o f the union label.

The practice of contracting, with some or all manufacturing opera­
tions being performed in plants owned by a contractor who does not
take title to the goods, is found to a limited extent in all of the cottongarment industries. On the whole, however, despite the highly com­
petitive nature of the industries, contracting is much less important
here than in the manufacture of men’s tailored clothing and women’s
coats and dresses. Industrial home work is practically nonexistent.
Contracting is most extensive in the manufacture of dress shirts and
nightwear, where, according to the 1939 census, about one-fifth of the
workers are employed in contract shops. Census data do not indicate
the extent of contracting in the other industries discussed here, but on
the basis of information collected during a survey made by the Bureau
of Labor Statistics in 1939 it is believed that perhaps 5 percent of the
employees in the manufacture of cotton pants, overalls, and work
shirts are employed in contract shops, and that the amount of contract
work in the washable service apparel industry is negligible.
Production System s

In the factory production of all types of garments, the cutting,
stitching, and finishing operations are carried on by different groups of
specialized workers, and there is more or less division of work even
within each of these operations. Greater division of labor is practi­
cable in the quantity production of cotton garments than in most
other branches of the clothing industry. This specialization is found
principally in the stitching operations, which occupy the attention of
a large proportion of the working force. Because of this division of
labor, organization of the flow of work to reduce handling becomes an
important method of reducing costs.
Stitching departments of cotton-garment establishments may be
organized under the bundle, the straight line, or the progressive bundle
system, or a combination of these systems. Under the bundle system
each sewing machine operator performs one or a few operations on a
bundle of identical parts, then turns the bundle in to a central point
to be given out for performance of the next operations. Under the
line system the garment parts progress directly and singly from one
operation to the next instead of returning in bundles to a central point
between operations; s u c h organization reduces handling and is con­
ducive to greater specialization than is the bundle system. In the
progressive bundle system, rpachines are arranged so that work
progresses through the shop directly
?ne operation to the next
w * parts move m bundles rather than as individual
The bundle system has long been the standard in the factory pro­
duction of cotton ganxients. However, the line system, which was
introduced in 1932 is now used extensively; there was a substantial
and continued expansion in its use between the early months of 1939
the^Cott^Gament^ntohT/^OTeau^LaK




6 2 193a?*’
«?

P
ro“

* *

4

EARNINGS AND HOURS, 1939

AND 1941

and 1941. Of the sewing-machine operators who could be classified
by type of system in the 1941 survey, 50 percent were employed in
stitching departments organized under the bundle system, 35 percent
under the line system, and 15 percent under the progressive bundle
system.
In the South, with its larger and newer factories, the line system
was more extensively used than the bundle system in 1941. In this
region half of the stitchers worked on the line and one-third on the
bundle system. In the North, three-fifths of the stitchers were em­
ployed on the bundle system and one-fourth on the line system. The
progressive bundle method of organizing stitching departments was of
slightly greater importance in the South than in the North. This
regional difference in use of the various production systems is a factor
in the relative importance of the systems in the different industries.
In cotton-pants, overall, and work-shirt establishments, only 40 per­
cent of the stitchers were employed on the bundle system in 1941. In
the manufacture of dress shirts and nightwear, and washable service
apparel—both industries located largely in the North—fully 60 percent
of the stitchers worked on the bundle system.
M ethods o f W age Payment

The most common method of wage payment in cotton-garment
plants is by the piece. Almost two-thirds (63.1 percent) of the workers
in the plants surveyed in 1941 were piece workers and an additional 7
percent were paid under an incentive bonus system. The remaining
30 percent were time workers. Payment by the piece is usual for
direct workers in the making department. The time method of pay­
ment predominates in the cutting, shipping, and maintenance depart­
ments, and among such indirect occupations as bundle boys and trim­
mers in the making departments. However, in the occupations of
cutters and markers, about 15 percent of the workers were paid on an
incentive basis, either by the piece or by some bonus system. More
than four-fifths of the stitchers, who comprise three-fifths of all
workers in the industries, were paid on an incentive basis in 1941.
Incentive payment is more common in the production of shirts,
nightwear, and washable service apparel than in the production of
cotton pants or work clothing; it is also more common in the North
than in the South. These industry and regional differences may be
explained in part by differences in use of the line system. Because the
necessity for keeping up with the flow of work on the line provides an
incentive to speed, an incentive method of pay is less advantageous in
line establishments. Two-fifths of the stitchers working on lines were
paid on a time basis, in contrast with less than 10 percent of the stitchers
employed on the bundle system, and less than 5 percent on the
progressive bundle system. Incentive systems for line workers base
the pay of each worker on the output
the entire line, since each
worker’s supply of work 8^^ »poed depends on that ot other operators.
The Labor Force

Ratio of labor to total costs.—Labor cost constitutes a relatively high
proportion of total costs in the production of cotton garments. Wages
average one-fifth of value of product, and salaries and wages to­
gether amount to about one-quarter of value. Available data indi­




m e n ’s

cotton-g ar m en t

i n d u s t r ie s

5

cate that the ratio of labor cost to value of product is about the same
in the three industries.
Skill.— The occupations in the manufacture of cotton garments are
largely semiskilled. A relatively small proportion, principally the
cutting occupations, require skilled workers. Very few workers are
in occupations that are unskilled in the sense of requiring no training
or experience for their satisfactory performance. Of the workers in
the plants surveyed in 1941, 5 percent were classified as skilled, 91
percent as semiskilled, and 2 percent as unskilled. Thfe remaining 2
percent were learners and handicapped workers engaged in semiskilled
occupations. The fact that the industries produce large quantities of
standardized articles has made it advantageous to subdivide operations
minutely and thus reduce skill requirements below those in most other
apparel industries. Stitching operations may be divided among as
many as 40 operators, and little hand sewing or careful finishing is
required.
Sex and color.—Employees are predominantly white native-born
women. Less than 1 percent of the workers in the plants surveyed in
1941 were Negroes, and a corresponding proportion were Mexicans.
About 6 out of 7 workers are women; this ratio showed little variation
by industry or region. The cutters, markers, and maintenance and ship­
ping workers are predominantly men, while the sewing-machine oper­
ators and most of the other occupations in the making department are
predominantly women. In some occupations, such as those of work­
ing supervisors, bundle workers, and pressers, both men and women
are employed in significant number.
Union organization.—Extensive unionization of workers in the cottongarment industries is of recent origin, although there has been some
unionization since the 1890’s. The extent of organization varies
among the industries, and in each industry it is markedly stronger in
the North than in the South. A large part of the dress-shirt and night­
wear industry has been organized in the past 10 years by the Amal­
gamated Clothing Workers of America. The United Garment
Workers union also has some agreements in shirt factories. Together,
these unions have contracts covering perhaps three-quarters of the
workers in the shirt and nightwear industry. Both unions also have
agreements with washable-service-apparel establishments. Many
overall factories are unionized, but organization in cotton-pants and
work-shirt plants is relatively weak. The United Garment Workers,
the first union to organize on a wide scale in the cotton-clothing trades,
is predominant in the work-clothing field, although the Amalgamated
Clothing Workers also has membership in cotton-pants, work-shirt,
and overall establishments.

Scope and Method o f Survey
The Bureau of Labor Statistics made two surveys of hours and earn­
ings in the men’s cotton-garment industries, covering early spring
pay-roll periods of 1939 and 1941, respectively. Representative periods
in February and March were covered in 1939. The 1941 pay rolls
studied were principally for the month of March.2 This article
summarizes the information obtained from the 1941 survey and
* Less than 10 percent of the wage earners covered were represented by pay rolls for April, May, or June,
1041.




6

EARNINGS AND HOURS, 1939

AND 1941

describes the changes in earnings that occurred between 1939 and
1941 in a group of identical firms covered in both years.
The data for 1941 cover 209 establishments employing 26,239 wage
earners and 1,065 clerical workers. This is estimated to be about
one-sixth of the workers employed in the industries at the time. The
plants for which data are available for both 1939 and 1941 numbered
180, and employed 23,935 wage earners in 1941. The plants in this
identical sample were chosen from the larger 1939 sample as being
representative of the entire industry, and those surveyed only in
1941 were added to represent new firms in the industries. In selecting
the establishments to be covered, care was taken to give adequate
representation to type of product, region, size of community, size of
plant,3 union affiliation, type of manufacturer, type of production
system, and other factors that may affect wages. As shown in table
1, three-fifths of the workers covered by the study were in the North,
where the shirt and nightwear, and washable-service-wear industries
are concentrated. Over half the workers in cotton-pants, overall, and
work-shirt establishments surveyed were in the South,4 reflecting the
*
greater proportion of such clothing manufactured in that region.
T a ble 1.— Plants and Wage Earners Included in Survey o f Men’s Cotton-Garment
Industries, b y Dom inant Plant Product and Region , March 1941
United States

North

South

Industry and product
Plants Workers

Plants Workers

Plants Workers

Total industry group............................................

209

26,239

146

15,872

63

10,367

Dress and sport shirts, collars, and nightwear. _.
Dress and sport shirts and collars.................
Nightwear.......................................................
Cotton pants, overalls, and work shirts..............
Cotton pants..................................................
Overalls
Work shirts.....................................................
Washable service apparel____________________

87
76
11
107
53
36
18
15

12,106
10,850
1,256
13,240
6,815
4,043
2,382
893

71
63
8
60
29
26
5
15

9,066
8,114
952
5,913
2,862
2,561
490
893

16
13
3
47
24
10
13

3,040
2,736
304
7,327
3,953
1,482
1,892

Trained field representatives of the Bureau obtained the information
for the study through transcription from pay-roll records and inter­
views with representatives of the establishments included in the survey.
In analyzing the information, plants were classified by product and the
products grouped into three industries: Dress shirts and nightwear;
cotton pants, overalls, and work shirts; and washable service apparel.
All data for an entire plant were classified by the plants dominant
product, as shown by total value of production during the 9-month
period July 1, 1940, to March 31, 1941.
8 In order to include a sufficient proportion of large plants and yet to avoid giving such plants an undue
influence on the results for the entire sample, only part of the workers in each of several large plants were
scheduled. The workers covered in these establishments were carefully chosen to obtain a balanced repre­
sentation of all occupations. The number of workers refers to the number for which data on hours and
earnings were obtained and not to total employment in the plants surveyed.
Because a relatively small proportion of cotton-garment workers is found in plants with fewer than 20
workers, these small plants were omitted from the survey. An exception was made in the case of separate
cutting establishments, however, because such plants typically employ fewer than 20 wage earners.
4 For purposes of the survey, the South is defined to include the following States: Alabama, Arkansas,
Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Caro­
lina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. Because of space limitations no attempt is made to
discuss differences among States or groups of States within the North or South.




m e n ’s

cotton-g arm en t

in d u s t r ie s

7

Data were collected on all plant occupations including those of
working supervisors and factory clerks, as well as plant and centraloffice employees subject to the Federal minimum-wage order for this
industry group.6 Data are reported separately for wage earners and
for all clerical workers whether employed in plant or office. Hourly
and weekly earnings, unless otherwise stated, are based on straighttime rates of pay, with the extra earnings from all premium overtime
rates excluded. Except in discussions of the normal workweek, hours re­
late to actual working time, excluding lunch but including rest periods.*

Hourly Earnings of Wage Earners
TREND OF EARNINGS, 1937-42

The average hourly wage in cotton-garment factories in the fall of

1941 and the spring of 1942 was the highest in the history of the
industries. A t the time of the field survey in the earlv part of 1941,
hourly earnings were at least 20 percent above the level to which they
had dropped subsequent to the invalidation of the National Industrial
Recovery A ct.7 During the year following the 1941 survey, they
were further increased by about one-eighth.

Table 2 shows the change in hourly earnings over the period from
February 1937 to June 1942, as reported to the Bureau of Labor
Statistics by a group of cotton-garment manufacturers. During this
time, four successive Federal minimum-wage rates were introduced in
the industry under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and during part o f
the period an increasing volume of work was done under Government
contract and hence under the minimum-wage rates in effect under the
Public Contracts Act. The 25-cent Federal minimum applicable to
all manufacturing establishments shipping goods in interstate com­
merce was introduced in October 1938 and rose automatically to 30
cents an hour a year later. The rates in effect at the time of the 1941
survey— 32.5 cents for dress and work shirts, nightwear, cotton pants,
and overalls, and 35 cents for washable service apparel— went into
effect in July 1940. These rates were raised to 40 cents an hour at
the end of September 1941. The minimum wage for single pants other
than cotton, made as a minor product in some cotton-garment estab­
lishments, was 37.5 cents at the time of the 1941 survey and was
raised to 40 cents in September 1941.8 The date of each of these
increases is marked by a sharp rise in average hourly earnings in the
combined industries.
Aside from the general Federal minima just referred to, a 37.5-cent
minimum hourly wage was mandatory during this period for the pro­
duction, under Government contract, of the major products of these
industries. Furthermore, early in 1941 a 40-cent minimum became
* In 1939, information on office employees was not obtained.
• Rest periods were included in working time in accordance with the interpretative rulings of the Admin­
istrator of the Fair Labor Standards Act. When plant records did not consider rest periods as time worked,
the hours reported were adjusted to include them.
7 February and March of 1941 witnessed substantial increases in the industries’ employment and a coin­
cident but temporary slight recession in average earnings. Because the earnings of new workers are normally
lower than those of the rest of the labor force, it is not unnatural for an expansion in employment to be
accompanied by reduced average earnings for the entire labor force, in the absence of compensating increases
in wage rates.
8 The data in table 2 may cover some establishments whose major product was single pants other than
cotton.
484462°-42----- 2




8

EARNINGS AND HOURS, 1939

AND 1941

effective for the production, under Government contract, of all-wool
trousers. These rates had a growing influence in the cotton-garment
industries as the volume of Government contracts for clothing for the
armed forces increased.
T able 2.— M onthly Indexes o f Average H ourly Earnings in M en 's Cotton -Garment
Industries, January 1937-J u n e 1942
[12-month average, 1937=100]
1937

Month
January.................................................................
February......... .....................................................
March....................................................................
April................ ......................................................
May.......................................................................
June.......................................................................
J u ly __________ ____________________________
A u gu st____________________________________
September__________________________________
October_____ ____ _________________________
November____ _____________________________
December___ ______________________________

1938

1939

1940

1941

94.3
93.8
95.3
96.7
98.4
100.7
102.8
103.6
103.1
104.1
104.1
106.3

106.8
102.3
100.8
99.1
98.3
99.1
98.3
97.0
97.3
97.6
101.1
102.6

101.9
101.4
101.4
100.7
101.9
101.9
101.6
101.6
101.9
102.7
107.1
107.8

108.6
106.5
107.0
107.7
107.9
108.1
109.9
113.1
112.5
113.3
113.9
115.2

115.4
113.3
113.9
115.2
116.5
118.6
120.4
121.2
122.8
129.1
129.6
127.8

1942
129.1
127.8
128.6
131.9
133.2
133.2

The wage increases occurring during this period may be traced not
only to the direct and indirect effects of Federal minimum-wage rates
but also to such factors as the influence of unions and the necessity
o f attracting workers. The increasing amount of overtime during the
past year has also contributed slightly to the increased earnings shown
in table 2, as these indexes include both straight-time and overtime
pay.
W AGE STRUCTURE IN MARCH 1941

Wage earners in cotton-garment factories surveyed by the Bureau
of Labor Statistics had average earnings of 41.3 cents an hour in
March of 1941 (table 3). Establishments whose major products were
cotton pants, overalls, and work shirts reported hourly earnings of
40.1 cents; plants manufacturing shirts and nightwear had average
hourly earnings of 41.9 cents. Earnings in establishments making
washable service apparel, averaging 49.7 cents, were considerably
above the level for the other two industries. Overall factories in the
work-clothing industry paid higher average wages (44.0 cents) than
any product branch of the industry group except washable service
apparel. Work-shirt factories paid the lowest average wage (35.8
cents).
T able 3.— Average H ourly Earnings o f Wage Earners in M en 's Cotton-Garment
Industries, b y Dom inant Plant Product and Region , M arch 1941
Industry and product

United States

North

South

Total industry group.........................................................

$0,413

$0,439

$0,371

Dress and sport shirts, collars, and nightwear.................
Dress and sport shirts and collars..............................
Nightwear....................................................................
Cotton pants, overalls, and work shirts.........................
Cotton pants...............................................................
Overalls........................................................................
Work shirts............. ...................................................
Washable service apparel..................................................

.419
.423
.387
.401
.392
.440
.358
.497

.431
.435
.397
.443
.419
.482
.392
.497

.384
.387
.358
.366
.373
.369
.349
0)

i No plants making washable service apparel in the South were surveyed, since practically all plants in
this industry are situated in the North.




m e n ’s

9

COTTON-GARMENT INDUSTRIES

The average wage for each industry covers a small proportion of
workers with high hourly earnings and a heavy concentration of
workers at low earnings levels, notably at the effective minimumwage rates. Although earnings ranged from less than 30 cents to
more than $1,625 an hour, between 55 and 60 percent of the workers
earned 37.5 cents or less, and more than 70 percent earned less than
42.5 cents. Between 20 and 25 percent of the workers in the three
industries combined were paid exactly 32.5 cents, the minimum wage
for all the major products of these establishments except washable
service apparel; 13 percent earned exactly 37.5 cents, which was not
only the minimum wage for single pants other than cotton (a minor
product of many cotton-garment establishments), but was also the
minimum for production on Government contracts. The distribution
of earnings in each industry is shown in table 4.
T able 4.— Percentage Distribution o f Wage Earners in M en 's Cotton-Garment Industries,
by Average H ourly Earnings, Industry, and Region , M arch 1941
Dress and sport shirts, Cotton pants, overalls, Wash­
and work shirts
collars, and nightwear
able
service
ap­
United North South United North South United North South parel,
States
States
North
States
Total industry group

Average hourly earnings
(in cents)

Under 30.0..........................
30.0 and under 32.5............
Exactly 32.5.......................
32.6 and under 35.0............
Exactly 35.0.......................
35.1 and under 37.5.—, ___
Exactly 37.5.......................
37.6 and under 40.0............
40.0 and under 42.5............
42.5 and under 47.5............
47.5 and under 52.5............
52.5 and under 57.5............
57.5 and under 62.5...........
62.5 and under 67.5............
67.5 and under 72.5............
72.5 and under 77.5............
77.5 and under 82.5............
82.5 and under 87.5............
87.5 and under 92.5............
92.5 and under 97.5............
97.5 and under 102.5...........
102.5 and under 112.5_____
112.5 and under 122.5.........
122.5 and under 132.5_____
132.5 and over....................

1.7
.9
22.6
8.6
3.8
6.4
13.0
6.9
7.3
9.5
6.4
3.9
2.8
1.8
1.2
.9
.5
.3
.5
.3
.2
.2
.1
.1
.1

1.5
1.1
14.1
5.7
5.0
6.4
11.4
7.0
8.9
11.5
8.8
5.6
4.0
2.5
1.7
1.3
.8
.5
.7
.4
.3
.3
.2
.1
.2

2.2
.7
35.6
13.0
1.9
6.4
15.5
6.6
4.7
6.4
2.8
1.3
1.0
.6
.5
.4
.1
.1
.2
(!)
(l)
(0
(v

1.6
1.7
15.6
5.9
5.1
7.2
9.7
7.3
8.4
12.7
9.1
5.8
3.0
1.9
1.2
1.1
.7
.4
.4
.2
.2
.3
.2
.1
.2

2.7
.6
33.2
13.5
2.9
8.8
7.1
7.8
5.4
5.0
3.9
2.9
2.5
1.1
1.1
.7
0)
.1
.3
.1
.1

0)

1.9
1.4
19.9
7.8
4.6
7.6
9.0
7.4
7.6
10.7
7.8
5.1
2.9
1.7
1.2
1.0
.5
.4
.4
.2
.2
.2
.2
.1
.2

T o ta l.......................

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

Number of plants..............
146
63
209
Number of workers. ......... 26,239 15,872 10,367
Average hourly earnings. _ $0,413 $0,439 $0,371

0.2
.1
.1
.4
11.6
7.8
4.9
8.0
10.0
14.3
12.8
8.3
5.0
4.5
2.9
2.6
1.2
1.2
1.2
.6
1.0
.8
.1
.2
.2

1.4
.3
14.5
6.2
3.7
5.0
15.1
6.4
9.6
9.3
7.8
5.0
5.3
3.2
2.2
1.4
.8
.5
1.0
.6
.3
.2
.1
.1
0)

2.0
.8
36.7
12.7
1.5
5.4
19.0
6.1
4.4
6.9
2.3
.6
.4
.5
.2
.2
.i
.1
.1
0)
(0

.1

1.7
.6
26.7
9.8
2.5
5.2
17.3
6.3
6.7
8.0
4.8
2.5
2.6
1.7
1.1
.7
.4
.2
.5
.3
.2
.1
.1
0)
(0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

107
60
47
13,240 5,913 7,327
$0,401 $0,443 $0,366

15
893
$0,497

71
16
87
12,106 9,066 3,040
$0,419 $0,431 $0,384

0)

1Less than a tenth of 1 percent.
Regional Differences

Hourly earnings were distinctly higher in the North than in the
South. The average for the combined industries in the North was
43.9 cents, 18 percent above the 37.1-cent average for the South.
The regional difference in the shirt and nightwear industry was
12 percent of the southern average, and in cotton-pants, overall,
and work-shirt factories it was 21 percent. In the North, average
earnings in the work-clothing industry were slightly above those in
the shirt and nightwear industry, but a reverse relationship existed in



10

EARNINGS AND HOURS, 1939 AND 1941

the South. No regional comparison of wages in washable-serviceapparel establishments can be made, as this industry is situated
almost entirely in the North.
Considering separately the products that comprise the industries,
the regional difference in average hourly earnings was smallest in the
case of nightwear, where the northern wage was only 11 percent
above that for the South. The greatest difference was found in
overall establishments, where the northern average was 31 percent
above southern earnings. Whereas northern overall plants had aver­
age hourly earnings second only to the washable-service-apparel
industry, earnings in southern overall plants were exceeded by earn­
ings in both dress-shirt and pants factories. It will be observed that
the product division (work shirts) that paid the lowest wages in the
North (39.2 cents) nevertheless had higher average earnings than
were paid by southern dress-shirt factories, which paid the highest
average wages (38.7 cents) in the southern region.
That the southern plants constitute a more homogeneous wage area
than do the more widespread northern establishments may be in­
ferred from the wider variation of individual workers’ earnings in the
latter region. In the North, earnings of half the workers were in­
cluded in a range of 7.5 cents; in the South half of the workers’ earnings
were within a 2.5-cent range. This characteristic of the pattern of
northern earnings is reflected also in the extent of variation in average
earnings among plants. Excluding separate cutting establishments,
plant average hourly earnings ranged from 32.7 to 61.8 cents in the
North, as compared with a range of from 30.9 to 56.8 cents in the
South. The greatest concentration of plant average hourly earnings
in the North was between 42.5 and 47.5 cents, plants in this group
employing a fourth of the northern workers. In contrast, almost
two-fifths of the southern workers were employed in plants with hourly
earnings averaging between 35.0 and 37.5 cents.
Difference by S ize o f C ity

It has been pointed out that many of the cotton-garment factories
are located in small towns. Arrangement of the plants by size of
T able 5.— Average H ourly Earnings o f Wage Earners in M en 's Cotton-Garment
Industries, by Size o f C ity ana Region, M arch 1941
North

United States
Size of city (population)

Aver­
Aver­
Aver­
Num­ Num­
age Num­ Num­
age Num­ Num­
age
ber of ber of hourly ber of ber of hourly ber of ber of hourly
plants workers earn­ plants workers earn­ plants workers earn­
ings
ings
ings

All cities____________ ____ ______

209

Under 2,600.....................................
2,600 and under 10,000....................
10,000 and under 50,000..................
60,000 and under 100,000.................
100,000 and under 260,000...............
260,000 and under 600,000...............
600,000 and under 1,000,000...........
1,000,000 and over ____ __________

26
41
43
15
16
17
14
37

26,239 $0,413
2,706
6,169
7,543
2,228
1,970
2,872
1,039
1,712

.366
.377
.394
.426
.447
.490
.418
.604

1An average is not computed for fewer than 3 plants.




South

146
15
21
26
10
15
10
12
37

15,872 $0,439
1,328
2,433
4,714
1,340
1,859
1,604
882
1,712

.374
.411
.415
.464
.453
.516
.425
.504

63

10,367

$0,371

11
20
17
5
1
7
2

1,378
3,736
2,829
888
111
1,268
157

.359
.355
.358
.370
(l)
.459
0)

m e n ’s

cotton-garm en t

in d u s t r ie s

11

city reveals a clear but not invariable tendency for average hourly
earnings to increase with population. This tendency is apparent in
the combined industries and in each industry considered separately,
but is less pronounced in the South than in the North (table 5).
Variation b y Unionization

Plants that were working under union agreements had average
hourly earnings of 46.5 cents, 22 percent above the average of 38.1
cents reported by nonunion plants. About this same difference be­
tween union and nonunion wages was found in both the dress-shirt
and nightwear industry and the cotton-pants, overall, and work-shirt
industry; in washable service apparel, however, earnings in nonunion
establishments were 2 percent above the level in union plants. In
the North, factories with union agreements reported earnings 15
percent above those in unorganized plants. The number of unionized
southern plants was too small to warrant comparison.
Variation by Production System and M ethod o f Paym ent

In comparing earnings under different production systems and
methods of wage payment, data for stitchers only have been analyzed,
since the possibilities of different methods of organization and pay­
ment are limited principally to the stitching department. This
comparison reveals that m the northern region, stitchers employed
on the line system in the combined industries had average hourly
earnings (39.6 cents) that were somewhat lower than the earnings of
stitchers in bundle plants (42.3 cents). Northern stitchers on the
progressive bundle system had higher average earnings (45.0 cents)
than stitchers in either line or bundle plants. A similar variation
between line and other plants is observed in both the shirt and the
work-clothing industries. These differences undoubtedly reflect a
combination of influences. The differential between line and bundle
systems is not so apparent in the generally lower-wage southern
region, but progressive bundle workers earned somewhat higher wages
(38.9 cents) than did either bundle workers (36.3 cents) or line stitchers
(36.0 cents).
Hourly earnings of stitchers paid under a piece or bonus system
were higher in both regions than the earnings of stitchers paid on a
time basis. For the combined industries, earnings of workers paid
under an incentive system averaged 12 percent above those of time
workers. Time payment is encountered most frequently in plants
operating under the line system. In general, the average wages of
stitchers paid by the hour were below the earnings of other stitchers
regardless of the organization of production.
Variation b y Sex , Skill, and Occupation

The average hourly earnings of the major occupational groups in
the industries are shown in table 6. Among these occupations, earn­
ings ranged from 37.8 cents for examiners and inspectors to 72.9 cents
for machine adjusters. Except for skilled workers and stock and
shipping clerks and order fillers, the average earnings of all occupa­




12

EARNINGS AND HOURS, 1939 AND 1941

tional groups ranged between 37.8 and 49.0 cents. Earnings of
women in the lowest-paid stitching operation averaged 36.7 cents and
in the highest-paid stitching operation, 42.8 cents an hour. The
average for all stitchers, both men and women, was 39.9 cents. Marked
regional differences exist among all occupational groups but they tend
to be wider for the higher than for the lower skills.
T able 6.— Average H ourly Earnings o f W age Earners in Men’s Cotton-Garment
Industries, by Skill, Occupational Group, Sex, and Industry, A ll Regions,
March 1941
Average hourly earnings

Skill, occupational group, and sex

Num­
ber of
work­
ers

All workers _
____
_ __ ___ 26,239
Male
.
___
3,663
Female_______________________________________ 22,586
Skilled workers _
_
Male________ _____ ___________ _____ ______
Female................................................................
Cutters and markers................................................
Male............... ..................................................
Machine adjusters, male___ _ ____ ____________
_
Working supervisors___________________________
_____ _
__ _____
__ _
Male
Female.................................................. ............
Miscellaneous occupations, maintenance and
service, male............................................... .........
Semiskilled workers. __ _

______ ____ _




Dress
and
sport
shirts,
collars,
and
night­
wear

Cotton
pants,
overalls,
and
work
shirts

$0,413
.509
.396

$0,419
.539
.400

$0,401
.476
.386

1,190
870
320
548
543
138
458
143
315

~640
.698
.480
.687
.688
.729
.560
.735
.479

.697
.762
.496
.790
.792
.725
.596
.783
.496

.578
.626
*.458
.594
.596
.730
.512
.646
.459

46
23,879
2,335
21,544
346
189
157

.604
.404
.460
.397
.379
.392
.364

.616
.410
.482
.402
.377
.417
.358

0)

Male_____________________________________
Female______________ ____________________
Bundle workers _
r _
Male____ _________________________________
Female.................. .... ............................. ...........
Buttonhole and button sewing and riveting ma­
chine operators______________________________
1,364
54
Male................. ...... ............................................
1,310
Female___________________________________
Creasers and crimpers....... ................... ......... .........
87
Male.......................... ...................................... .
28
59
Female............. .............. ..................................
•Cutters, small parts......... .................... ..................
125
105
Male_____________________ ____ ___________
Examiners and inspectors______________________
1,959
94
Male______________ _____________ _________
1,865
Female...............................................................
Fitters. .....................................................................
111
Female.......................... .............................. ......
97
Packers, boxers, and folders...... ........... ..................
669
Male............ .................................. ...................
152
Female______ __________ __________________
517
Pressers, off, pants__________ ______ ___________
296
Male____________________ _________________
253
Female_______ ____ _____ ____ ______ _______
43
Pressers, other............. ..................................... ........ 1,975
Male.................... ...................................... ........
384
Female_________ _______ ________________ _
1,591
Stitchers......... .......................................................... 15,419
Male_____________________ ________________
223
Female................................................................ 15,196
294
Back makers, shirts....................................
See footnote at end o f table.

Total
industry
group

.393
.451
.391
.395
.410
.389
.490
.513
.378
.378
.378
.421
.415
.395
.406
.391
.486
.503
.377
.442
.490
.430
.399
.482
.398
.392

.402
0)

.399
.398
(i)
(i)
.517
.539
.384
0)

.384
.430
.422
.393
.405
.391

0)
(0

.451
.531
.436
.401
.531
.400
.401

.394
.440
.388
.377
.382
.357
.384
.436
.381
.394

Wash­
able
service
apparel

$0,497
.650
.467
.790
.841
0)

.791
.792

n\
0)

(1)
.473
.541
.466
(l)
0)
0)

.459
0)

.459

0)

.383
.451
.481
.370
.379
.369
.393

0)

.397
.405
.393
.487
.505
.377
.395
.414
.380
.392
.451
.391
.351

8

.403
.403

(t)
(

(0
0)

.480
.572
.476

m e n ’s

cotton-g ar m en t

13

in d u s t r ie s

T a b le 6.— Average H ourly Earnings o f W age Earners in Men’s Cotton-Garment
Industries, by Skill, Occupational Group, Seje, and Industry, AU Regions,
M arch 1941 — Continued
Average hourly earnings

Skill, occupational group, and sex

Semiskilled workers—Continued.
Stitchers—Continued.
Female—Continued.
Back makers, overalls__________________
Bar tackers..'...............................................
Coat makers___________________________
Collar makers arid setters, shirts____
Collar makars and Setters^ other __ _
Facing stitchers............................................
Fellers.-...................... ................................
Fly makers and setters................................
Front makers, shirts and nightwear______
Hemmers. ...................................................
Label sewers................................................
Lining stitchers________________________
Pocket makers and setters, shirts________
Pocket makers and setters, other................
Seamers and joiners....................................
Sergers..........................................................
Sleeve makers and setters............................
Trimmings and small-parts makers............
Waistband sattars
Miscellaneous stitchers............ ...................
Stock and shipping clerks and order fillers..............
Male....................................................................
Turners, p a r t s _____
Famala
Miscellaneous occupations, cutting room................
Male.......................................................... .........
Female................................................................
Miscellaneous occupations, maintenance and
service, m a le.........................................................
Miscellaneous occupations, making department...
Female................................................................
Unskilled workers......... ..................................................
Male....................................................................
Female................................................................
Handicapped workers.....................................................
Female................................................................
Learners...........................................................................
Female................................................................

Num­
ber of
work­
ers

51
595
224
1,570
105
341
641
590
352
968
265
151
847
1,827
1,407
297
2,005
322
397
1,947
282
264
282
260
509
389
120

Total
industry
group

$0,426
.394
.425
.402
.428
.398
.397
.394
.402
.395
.384
.367
.387
.398
.406
.380
.391
.418
.396
.403
.523
.532
.409
.402
.397
.403
.376

154
301
291
639
431
208
68

67
463
447

.465
.387
.382
.379
.380
.379
.273
.273
.260
.260

Dress
and
sport
shirts,
collars,
and
night­
wear

$0,380
.414
.391
.391
.402
.408
.392
.390
.398
0)

.404

CO

.398
.473

CO

.384
.541
.557
.419
.410
.401
.410
.380

.461
.400
.388
.382
.379
.386
.275
.275
.260
.260

Cotton
pants,
overalls,
and
work
shirts

$0.426
.394
.409
.360
.408
.381
.402
.391
.387
.393
.374
.367
.359
.395
.397
.380
.370
.405
.395
.400
.501
.506
.356
.357
.385
.388
.368
.466
.374
.373
.373
.377
.356
CO
(0

.259
.259

Wash­
able
service
apparel

(i)

$0,540
.485
.464
(0
CO
CO

.498
.485
(0

.452
.432
.471

CO
CO

CO
CO
CO
(0
v)
(1)

.422
Q)
v)
v)
?1)
(1)
0)

*N ber of w
um
orkers too sm to justify com tation of average.
all
pu

Earnings of men employed in the cotton-garment industries averaged
50.9 cents an hour, compared with 39.6 cents for women. Substantial
differences are observed in both the northern and the southern regions,
where the earnings of men were respectively 35 percent and 17 percent
above the average for woman workers (table 7). These differences
were due principally to differences in occupation, but were apparent
to some extent in earnings of men and women in the same occupation.
Skilled workers earned almost 60 percent more than semiskilled and
about 70 percent more than unskilled workers. Learners and handi­
capped workers, who could be paid at subminimum rates, earned about
30 percent less than unskilled workers. A comparison of earnings for
identical skill groups in the two regions shows earnings in the North to
be 22.2 cents (44 percent) higher than in the South for skilled workers,
6.2 cents (17 percent) for semiskilled, and 3.6 cents (10 percent) for
unskilled workers.



14

EARNINGS AND HOURS, 1939

AND 1941

T able 7.— Regional Variations in Average H ourly Earnings o f W age Earners in M en 's
Cotton -Garment Industries, b y Skill, Occupational Group, Sex , and Industry, March
1941
North

Skill, occupational group, and sex

Dress Cotton
Dress Cotton
and
and
Total sport pants, Wash­ Total sport pants,
able
indus­ shirts, over­ serv­ indus­ shirts, over­
alls,
alls,
try collars,
try
and
ice ap­ group collars,
and
and
group
and
work
work
night­ shirts parel
night­ shirts
wear
wear

All workers............................................................ $0,439
Male.......................................................... .564
Female...................................................... .417

$0,431
.567
.409

$0,443 $0,497 $0,371
.545
.423
.650
.423
.363
.467

Skilled workers......................................................
Male..........................................................
Female......................................................
Cutters and markers......................................
Male.........................................................
Machine adjusters, male................................
Working supervisors.......................................
Male..........................................................
Female......................................................
Miscellaneous occupations, maintenance and
service, male................................................

.732
.793
.538
.795
.795
.813
.628
.787
.535

.755
.815
.544
.838
.838
.796
.643
.780
.544

.686
.748
.514
.739
.739
.835
.570
.708
.514

0)

(0

0)

Semiskilled workers..............................................
Male..........................................................
Female......................................................
Bundle workers...............................................
Male-----------------------------------------------Female......................................................
Buttonhole and button sewing and riveting
machine operators.......................................
Male________________________________
Female......................................................
Greasers and crimpers_________ _______ ___
Male.........................................................
Female
__________________________
Cutters, small parts........................................
Male............... ..........................................
Examiners and inspectors..............................
Male
_ ______
_ _ __
Female......................................................
Fitters__________________________________
Female ___________________________
Packers, boxers, and folders...........................
Male.........................................................
Female.....................................................
Pressers, off, pants..........................................
Male..........................................................
Female____ ____ ____ ________________
Pressers, other.................................................
Male..........................................................
Female......................................................
Stitchers..........................................................
Male..........................................................
Female........ .............................................
Back makers, shirts..____ _________
Back makers, overalls.......................
Bar tackers.........................................
Coat makers_______________ ____ _
Collar makers and setters, shirts—
Collar makers and setters, other____
Facing stitchers.................................
Fellers................................ ...............
Fly makers and setters.....................
Front makers, shirts and nightwear.
Hemmers............................................
Label sewers......................................
Lining stitchers__________________
Pocket makers and setters, shirts....
Pocket makers and setters, other—
Seamers and joiners...........................
Sergers................................................
Sleeve makers and setters.................
Trimmings and small-parts makers..
Waistband setters. ...........................

.428
.505
.419
.389
.420
.367

.419
.505
.410
.372
.407
.358

.434
.502
.425
.409
.430
0)

.419
.477
.416
.420
(i)
.410
.530
.556
.392
.403
.391
.424
.425
.409
.430
.402
.568
.591
(i)
.465
.533
.447
.423
.521
.422
.403
.492
.434
.457
.422
.474
.411
.421
.434
.420
.419
.398
.436
.403
.443
.433
.418
.412
.453
.433
.404
.552
.565

.411
(i)
.408
0)
(i)
(i)
.555
.583
.388
(0
.388
.427
.428
.405
.410
.404

.426
(i)
.423
0)
(i)
0)
M
0)
.398
0)
.396
(0
0)
.419
.456
.389
.574
.600
(0
.436
.447
.424
.431
.498
.429
0)
.492
.438
.438
.392
.463
.419
.453
.437
.440
.441
.398
.436
.401
.440
.431
.417
.418
.445
.433
.400
.544
.551

M
iscellan s stitch
eou
ers..................
Stock an sh
d ippin clerk and ord fillers_
g
s
er
M
ale...............................................

See footnote at end o f table.




South

(l)
0)

.468
.558
.448
.409
.535
.408
.405
.392
.427
.395
.400
.416
.416
.401
.398
.403
0)
.414
0)
.410
.500
(i)
.384
.551
.573

$0,384
.444
.376

$0,366
.415
.357
.498
.532
.422
.479
.481
.652
.474
.605
.424

.790
.841
(0
.791
.792
0)
0)
0)
0)

.510
.551
.417
.503
.504
.637
.471
.634
.417

.541
.602
.403
.593
.595
0)
.459
0)
.399

...........

.532

(0

(0

.473
.541
.466
0)
0)
0)

.366
.386
.364
.364
.367
.354

.380
.399
.379
.394
0)
(i)

.361
.383
.358
.354
.355
(0

.459
(i)
.459

.356

.371

.356
.380
0)
371
.397
.408
.358
.360
.358
.413
390
.376
.371
.377
.387
.396
0)
.391
.368
.395
.363
.387
.363
.371
(i)
.354
.362
.366
.378
.362
.369
.348
.366
.358
.358
.339
.357
.352
.353
.350
.360
.353
.354
.400
.450
.452

.371

.351
m
\/
.350
.369
(i)
.349
(0
0)
.351
.360
.350
(i)
(i)
.387
.369
.394
.387
.396

(0
0)
.403
.403
0)
h
0)

0)
0)
.480
.572
.476
(0
.540
.485
.464
0)
C
O
0)
.498
.485
0)
.452
.432
.471

C
O
C
O

w
(*)
0)
.372
(i)
.372
m
0)
.358
(0
.356

(l)

.402
.333
.408
.374
0)
.374
.388
<0
.382
0)
.367
(0
.383
.365
.361
.38i
.374
0)
.372
(0
.383
<0
(0

.365
.383
.355
.359
.388
.359
.338
(i)
V 354
.362
.341
.378
.365
.370
.348
.347
.354
.356
.339
.334
.352
.347
.350
.344
.355
.354
.401
.437
.439

m e n ’s

cotton-g ar m en t

15

in d u s t r ie s

T able 7.— Regional Variations in Average H ourly Earnings o f Wage Earners in M en 's
Cotton-Garment Industries, by Skill, Occupational Group, Sex9 and Industry, M arch
1941 — Continued
North

South

Dress Cotton
Dress Cotton
and
and
Total sport pants, Wash­ Total sport pants,
over­
able indus­ shirts, over­
indus­ shirts,
serv­
alls,
try collars, alls,
try
and
ice ap­ group collars,
and
and
and
group
work
work
night­ shirts parel
night­ shirts
wear
wear

Skill, occupational group, and sex

Semiskilled workers—Continued.
Turners, parts
_______________________ $0,423
.412
__________________________
Female
Miscellanoues occupations, cutting room___ .419
Male........................................................ .431
Female...................................................... .379
Miscellaneous occupations, maintenance and
service, male..... .......................................... .510
Miscellaneous occupations, making depart­
ment............................................................. .404
Female...................................................... .397
Unskilled workers................................................. .394
Male------- ----------------------------------------- .399
Female...................................................... .385
Handicapped workers........................................... .275
Female...................................................... .273
Learners................................................................. .267
Female...................................................... .268

$0,429
.418
.413
.426
.377

(i)
0)
$0,426
.429
0)

.509

.506

.408
.392
.390
.394
.383
0)
0)
.265
.265

.392
0)
.391
0)
.398 $0,422
.400
0)
8
(9
0)
0)
.270
(i)
.271
o

(9

$0.374
.376
.367
.365
.372

$0,383
.383
.375
.370
.384

$0,361
.364
.361
.362
0)

0)

.411

.401

.424

.361
.360
.358
.354
.369
.272
.272
.250
.250

.377
.377
.361
.344
.394
0)
0)
.251
.251

.356
.355
.356
.359
.347
(9
<9
.250
.250

8

1Number of workers too small to justify computation of average.
CHANGES

IN

EARNINGS

OF

W AGE

EARNERS, FEBRUARY-MARCH 1939 TO

MARCH 1941

At the time of the 1939 survey of earnings, the legal minimum wage
for experienced, nonhandicapped workers in the cotton-garment indus­
tries was 25 cents an hour. When the 1941 survey was made the
minimum was 35 cents for washable service apparel and 32.5 cents
for the other products covered. Over the intervening period the volume
of public contracts, for which a 37.5-or 40-cent minimum wage was fixed,
increased greatly. In March 1941, plants employing 30 percent of the
workers surveyed were working on such contracts. This increase in
Government contracts, combined with the general increase in employ­
ment and national income, resulted in a marked expansion of cottongarment production in the spring of 1941, as compared with 1939 levels.
Data for 180 firms covered in both the 1939 and 1941 surveys indi­
cate some of the changes in earnings that occurred over the intervening
period.9
Between the early months of 1939 and March 1941 average hourly
earnings in identical plants in the combined industries increased by
about one-eighth (table 8). In 1939, almost two-fifths of the industries’
workers were paid less than 30 cents an hour and about half earned
less than 32.5 cents; the corresponding proportions in 1941 were 1.8
percent and 2.4 percent. In the latter year, three-fifths of the workers
earned between 32.5 and 40 cents contrasted with about one-fourth of
the workers in 1939 (chart 1).
9 The slight differences between the earnings reported here for 1941 and those shown earlier are explained
by differences in the number of plants covered by the two sets of data.




DISTRIBUTION OF WORKERS IN IDENTICAL PLANTS
IN THE MEN’S COTTON-GARMENT INDUSTRIES
BY AVERAGE HOURLY EARNINGS AND REGION
EARNINGS AND HOURS, 1939 AND 1941




O

AVERAGE HOURLY EARNINGS IN CENTS

h e n ’s c o t t o n - g a r m e n t

17

i n d u s t r ie s

T able 8.— Average H ourly Earnings in Identical Plants in M en 's Cotton-Garment
Industries, by Industry and Region , 1939 and 1941
United States

North

South

Industry
1939

1941

1939

1941

1939

1941

Average hourly earnings
Total industry group.....................................................
Dress and sport shirts, collars, and nightwear.......
Cotton pants, overalls, and work shirts.................
Washahlp sp.rvipp apparp.l

_

_

$0,367
.369
.354
.514

$0,414
.419
.403
.509

$0,407
.391
.418
.514

$0,443
.431
.451
.509

$0,307
.313
.305

$0,372
.386
.366

Number of wage earners
Total industry group......... ...........................................
Dress and sport shirts, collars, and nightwear.......
Cotton pants, overalls, and work shirts.................
Washamp sp.rvipp apparp.l

21,721
10,711
10,373
637

23,935
11,190
11,953
792

13,124
7,810
4,677
637

14,194
8,300
5,102
792

8,597
2,901
5,696

9,741
2,890
6,851

Increased average hourly earnings were found only in the shirt and
work-clothing industries, where the increases averaged between 13 and
14 percent. In the washable service-apparel industry average wages
in the small number of plants surveyed actually declined slightly, due
to the absence of important wage increases and to the expansion of
employment, which reduced the ratio of higher-paid workers to the
total labor force.
The necessity for advancing the wages of so large a segment of the
industries’ workers in order to conform to the 7.5-cent increase in the
legal minimum wage resulted in a general narrowing of existing wage
differences. Earnings in the northern plants advanced 3.6 cents (9 per­
cent), compared with an increase of 6.5 cents (21 percent) in the South.
The regional difference was thus narrowed from 10 cents, or a third of
the 1939 southern average, to 7.1 cents or less than one-fifth of the
1941 average for that region. In both regions changes in minimumwage rates resulted in large shifts of workers from the lowest wage
classes of 32.5 cents or less to earnings classifications between 32.5 and
40 cents. Even in the North, a quarter of the workers earned less than
30 cents in 1939 contrasted with only 1.5 percent in 1941 (table 9).
Whereas less than one-third of the workers in the northern region
earned between 32.5 and 40 cents an hour in 1939, half of them fell in
this wage classification in 1941. In the South, three-fifths of the
workers earned less than 30 cents and almost three-fourths less than
32.5 cents in 1939, compared with 2.2 and 2.9 percent in 1941. The
proportion of southern workers paid between 32.5 and 35 cents in­
creased from 6 to about 50 percent, and the proportion with wages
between 32.5 and 40 cents increased from 16 to more than 75 percent.
A t the same time that wage levels were raised generally, the wage
differences among establishments were reduced. Plants with relatively
high earnings levels in 1939 had much smaller wage increases (both
absolute and proportionate) than did the low-wage plants. Table 10
shows the wage changes in plants with different wage levels.




18

EARNINGS AND HOURS, 1939

AND 1941

T able 9.— Percentage Distribution o f W age Earners in Identical Plants in M en 's
Cotton-Garment Industries, b y Average H ourly Earnings and Region , 1939 and 1941
United States

North

South

Average hourly earnings
1939

1941

1939

1941

1939

1941

Under 30.0 cents.............................................................
30.0 and under 32.5 cents................................................
32.5 and under 35.0 cents................................................
35.0 and under 37.5 cents................................................
37.5 and under 40.0 cents................................................
40.0 and under 42.5 cents................................................
42.5 and under 47.5 cents................................................
47.5 and under 52.5 cents................................................
52.5 and under 57.5 cents................................................
57.5 and under 62.5 cents................................................
62.5 and under 67.5 cents................................................
67.5 and under 72.5 cents................................................
72.5 and under 77.5 cents................................................
77.5 and under 82.5 cents................................................
82.5 and under 87.5 cents.............................................. .
87.5 and under 92.5 cents................................................
92.5 and under 100.0 cents..............................................
100.0 cents and over............................ ...........................

38.0
9.8
8.1
8.1
7.2
5.8
7.5
5.0
3.0
2.1
1.5
1.0
.7
.4
.3
.5
.3
.7

1.8
.6
32.1
10.4
18.0
7.5
9.8
6.6
4.1
3.0
1.8
1.2
.9
.5
.3
.5
.3
.6

24.0
6.8
9.5
10.0
8.6
7.9
10.1
7.1
4.5
3.2
2.3
1.5
1.1
.7
.5
.7
.4
1.1

1.5
.5
20.6
11.7
16.0
9.3
12.0
9.2
5.9
4.2
2.6
1.7
1.3
.8
.5
.7
.5
1.0

59.4
14.2
6.0
5.2
5.2
2.5
3.5
1.8
.8
.5
.3
.3
.1
.1
0)
.1
0)
h

2.2
.7
48.8
8.5
20.9
4.8
6.6
2.9
1.3
1.1
.7
.5
.4
.1
.1
.2
.1
.1

Total......................................................................

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

Number of plants...........................................................
Number of workers........................................................
Average hourly earnings........................................... .

180
21,721
$0.367

180
23,935
$0.414

124
13,124
$0,407

124
14,194
$0,443

56
8,597
$0,307

56
9,741
$0,372

i Less than a tenth of 1 percent.

T able 10.— Changes in Average H ou rly Earnings in Identical Plants in M en 's CottonGarment Industries, 1939 and 1941 , b y Region and Group o f Plants W ith Specified
W age Levels in 1939
Average hourly earnings
Region and 1939 plant average hourly earnings class

Number
of plants

1939

1941

Percentage
change,
1939-41

United States, all classes___________________ ____ ___

180

$0.367

$0,414

+12.8

North, all classes............................ ..................................
Under 30.0 cents_______________________________
30.0 and under 32.5 cents...................... ....................
32.5 and under 35.0 cents________________________
35.0 and under 37.5 cents________________________
37.5 and under 40.0 cents__________ ______ _______
40.0 and under 42.5 cents...........................................
42.5 and under 47.5 cents....... ...................................
47.5 and under 52.5 cents_________________ ______
52.5 rwifs and ovap

124
13
8
11
9
19
9
20
10
25

.407
.284
.318
.336
.356
.388
.411
.447
.499
.586

.443
.358
.379
.386
.411
.421
.437
.468
.519
.575

+8.8
+26.1
+19.2
+14.9
+15.4
+8.5
+6.3
+4.7
+4.0
—1.9

South, all classes__________________________________
Under 30.0 cents................... ......... ...........................
30.0 and under 32.5 cents_______ _____ __________
32.5 cents and over_____________________________

56
32
14
10

.307
.276
.311
.382

.372
.352
.360
.436

+21.2
+27.5
+15.8
+14.1

A decrease of 2 percent was reported for establishments with aver­
age hourly wages of 52.5 cents or over, apparently because of changes
in the occupational structure of some of these plants. There were
cases in which cutting plants in that wage classification took on
additional functions requiring lower-paid labor, whereas the expansion
of employment in other plants reduced plant averages. In establish­
ments with lower wage levels, the effect of the minimum-wage rates
offset the tendency for average earnings to be reduced as additional
workers were added.




m e n ’s

cotton-g ar m en t

19

in d u s t r ie s

Earnings of men rose 3.2 cents or 7 percent. Women’s earn­
ings advanced by 4.9 cents or 14 percent. Wage differences by skill
likewise were reduced, the earnings of skilled workers advancing only
2 percent contrasted with an increase of 13 percent for workers of
all degrees of skill combined.

Weekly Hours and Earnings o f Wage Earners
AVERAGE W EE K LY HOURS

The regular workweek reported in practically all cotton-garment
establishments in 1941 was 40 hours. The only important exceptions
were found in 6 of the 13 separate cutting plants where the scheduled
workweek was 36 hours and in 1 cutting plant where it was 44 hours.
Actual hours worked during the period surveyed averaged 37.7
per week (table 11). Over four-fifths of the employees worked 40 hours
or less; two-fifths worked exactly 40 hours. There was no marked
variation in hours among the three industries or between regions.
There was a tendency in the South, however, for the higher-wage
plants to work longer weekly hours than did the lower-wage plants.
No consistent variation of weekly hours with plant wage level was
apparent for the northern plants.
T able 11.— Average W eekly Hours o f Wage Earners in M en 's Cotton-Garment Industries,
b y Industry, Region , and Sex , 1941
North

All regions
Industry

All
work­ Male
ers

Total industry group.....................
Dress and sport shirts, collars,
and nightwear.................... ........
Cotton pants, overalls, and work
shirts.........................................
Washable service apparel..............

Fe­
male

All
work­
ers

Male

South
Fe­
male

All
work­ Male
ers

Fe­
male

37.7

40.7

37.3

37.7

40.5

37.2

37.8

41.0

37.3

37.5

40.4

37.1

37.3

39.9

36.9

38.1

42.5

37.5

37.9
38.4

40.9
40.1

37.4
38.1

38.1
38.4

41.3
40.1

37.5
38.1

37.7

40.5

37.2

Male wage earners had an average 40.7-hour week; women averaged
only 37.3 hours. This difference in the workweek resulted partly
from the fact that men were employed principally in occupations for
which longer hours were required. However, the hours of men were
also longer than those of women in occupations which employed both
sexes.
The average workweek for skilled workers was 42.3 hours, compared
with 37.5 for semiskilled and 39.4 for unskilled workers. The rela­
tively short workweek of learners, 34.8 hours, apparently resulted
from the fact that some worked only part of the pay period studied.
AVERAGE W EEK LY EARNINGS

Earnings in the cotton-garment industries averaged $15.56 per week
at the time of the 1941 survey (table 12). This average is reasonably
representative of earnings in both the shirt and nightwear industry and
the cotton-pants, work-shirt, and overall industry, but the weekly




20

EARNINGS AND HOURS, 1939 AND 1941

earnings in washable service-apparel establishments averaged $19.12.
Wide variations in weekly earnings (from less than $5 to more than $50)
are apparent in each of the three industries. About three-fourths of
all wage earners earned more than $10 but less than $20; a third of
the workers earned between $12.50 and $15, the earnings bracket
corresponding to the minimum hourly wage rates and maximum
workweek required by Federal law at the time.
T ab le 12.— Average W eekly Earnings o f Wage Earners in M en 's Cotton-Garment
Industries, by Industry, Region , and Sex9 1941
North

All regions
Industry

Total industry group.....................

All
work­
ers

Male

$15.56 $20.69

Dress and sport shirts, collars,
15.72 21.79
and nightwear.............................
Cotton pants, overalls, and work
shirts........................................... - 15.18 19.45
19.12 26.08
Washable service apparel..............

Fe­
male

All
work­
ers

Male

South
All
work­
ers

Fe­
male

Male

Fe­
male

$14.73

$16.56 $22.81

$15.53

$14.04 $17.33

$13.52

14.84

16.09 22.62

15.09

14.63 18.89

14.08

14.43
17.81

16.89 22.55
19.12 26.08

15.87
17.81

13.80 16.83

13.28

Northern plants reported average weekly earnings of $16.56 com­
pared with earnings of $14.04 for the South. As a result of higher
hourly earnings and longer average hours, skilled workers earned
about 80 percent more per week than did the semiskilled and unskilled
workers, and men received approximately 40 percent more than
women. Because unskilled employees worked longer hours than did
the semiskilled workers, the weekly earnings of these two groups
differed by only about 1 percent, contrasted with a variation of 7 per­
cent in their hourly pay. Among occupational groups, the average
weekly earnings ranged from $13.01 for women lining stitchers to
$31.70 for machine adjusters. Earnings as high as $20 a week were
attained only by workers in the skilled occupations and in two semi­
skilled occupational groups.
The figures quoted do not include premium overtime pay, but the
inclusion of such pay in either the hourly or weekly earnings figures
would not increase these averages significantly. In none of the indus­
tries and in neither region would the average increase amount to as
much as 2.5 percent.
Between 1939 and 1941 weekly earnings in the combined industries
increased by about 20 percent. The respective figures for the North
were 16 percent and for the South 26 percent. The increase in earn­
ings in shirt and nightwear factories and in cotton-pants, overall, and
work-shirt establishments was slightly greater than the average in­
crease for the combined industries. A small reduction in both hourly
earnings and weekly hours accounted for a decrease of 2 percent in the
weekly pay of workers manufacturing washable service apparel.

,

Earnings and Hours o f Clerical Workers 1941
Clerical workers in the cotton-garment industries earned an average
of 49.0 cents an hour in March 1941. This figure is almost 20 percent
above the average wage of the manual workers. The earnings of



m e n ’s

cotton-g ar m en t

in d u s t r ie s

21

about three-fifths of the clerical workers were concentrated between
37.5 and 52.5 cents. More than one-third of them earned between 40
and 47.5 cents and a fourth averaged less than 40 cents. The pro­
portion receiving exactly the minimum-wage rates set for these in­
dustries was relatively small.
Earnings varied relatively less among industries and between
regions than did the earnings of factory workers. Clerical workers
in the North were paid about 12 percent higher wages than southern
workers, contrasted with an 18 percent difference for factory workers.
Grouping workers into broad occupational classifications, stenograph­
ers and typists, general clerks, and miscellaneous office workers
earned an average of 45 cents per hour; department heads and special­
ists were paid approximately 60 cents; and accountants and book­
keepers averaged 75 cents.
The average weekly earnings of clerical workers ($19.95) were 28
percent above those of factory workers. A third of them received
between $15 and $17.50. In the North, earnings averaged $20.46
a week, which was 10 percent above the average of $18.52 in the
South. The average workweek reported was 40.7 hours. Threequarters of the clerical employees worked 40 hours or less, two-thirds
of them having a 40-hour workweek. About 6 percent worked 48
hours or more. The average workweek in the North was 40.6 hours,
and in the South it was 41.1 hours.




P A R T II
E A R N IN G S A N D H O U R S IN PLA N TS M A N U F A C T U R ­
I N G S IN G L E P A N T S O T H E R T H A N C O T T O N , 1939
A N D 1941

The wage surveys made in 1939 and 1941 covered not only cottongarment plants but also establishments whose principal product was
single pants made of materials other than cotton. Industrial classi­
fication of single pants of various fabrics has been a problem since
the N. R. A. At that time trousers of fabrics which were chiefly cotton
in content were included in the cotton-garment industry, and other
trousers were put under the code for the men’s-clothing industry.
The apparel industry committee which was established in 1939 under
the Fan- Labor Standards Act set a 32.5-cent minimum-wage rate
for single pants of all-cotton fabric and a 37.5-cent minimum for all
other single trousers. Because of the difference in minimum rates
which remained in effect at the time of the 1941 survey, establish­
ments which produced primarily single pants other than cotton are
discussed separately here. Moreover, although many plants manufac­
ture both cotton and other products, separation of pants factories
on the basis of their major product isolates what is essentially a
cotton-garment industry group, discussed in part I.
The 1941 survey covered 3,112 wage earners in 47 establishments
whose major product was single pants other than cotton. Of these,
39 establishments with 2,385 workers were also covered in 1939 and
hence provide information on changes in earnings and weekly hours
over the intervening period.

Average Hourly Earnings
W AGE STRUCTURE IN MARCH 1941

Wage earners in plants whose principal product was single pants
other than cotton earned an average of 45.7 cents an hour in March
1941. Although hourly pay ranged up to $1,625 or more, about
two-thirds of the workers earned less than 42.5 cents, and one-half
were paid less than 40 cents an hour. Thirty percent of the workers
earned exactly 37.5 cents, the minimum wage in effect for experienced
workers making this product, and about 13 p e r c e n t rpp^ived less than
37.5 cents. The latter were principally handicapped W o r k e r s and
learners, or worked on minor products that were subject to a lower
minimum wage (table 13).
Earnings in the North averaged 48.3 cents, which was 23 percent
above the 39.2-cent average for the South. The two regions had
approximately the same proportion of workers earning exactly 37.5
cents an hour. However, because southern factories produced
22




23

SINGLE PANTS, OTHER THAN COTTON, INDUSTRY

relatively more cotton pants than did the northern plants, and also
employed more learners, almost a quarter of the workers in the
South earned less than this amount compared with about one-tenth
in the North. Over nine-tenths of the southern workers and about
three-fifths of the northern workers had average earnings lower
than 42.5 cents an hour.
T a b l e 13 .— Percentage Distribution o f Wage Earners in Plants M anufacturing Singfe
Pants Other Than Cotton, b y Average H ourly Earnings and Region , M arch 1941

Average hourly earnings
Under 30.0 cents.......... ........
30.0 and under 32.5 cents___
Exactly 32.5 cents_________
32.6 and under 35.0 cents___
35.0 and under 37.5 cents___
Exactly 37.5 cents_________
37.6 and under 40.0 cents___
40.0 and under 42.5 cents___
42.5 and under 47.5 cents___
47.5 and under 52.5 cents___
52.5 and under 57.5 cents___
57.5 and under 62.5 cents___
62.5 and Under 67.5 cents___

A7 R o n d u r ilLUvx • wlLvw.. . .
Vi «U cUlU U d a r 79 R f*anf*Q

72.5 and under 77.5 cents___
77.5 and under 82.5 cents—

United North
States
1.9
.5
2.0
3.0
6.0
29.8
6.5
17.9
8.0
5.7
4.7
2.8
2.9
2.0
1.6
1.0

2.5
.7
1.8
1.9
2.4
29.4
6.1
12.6
10.1
7.6
6.4
3.7
3.8
2.5
2!l
l.Z

South
0.3
2.5
5.5
14.7
31.1
7.3
31.1
3.1
1.1
.5
.5
.8
g

.*3
.2

Average hourly earnings
82.5 and under 87.5 cents___
87.5 and under 92.5 cents___
92.5 and under 97.5 cents___
97.5 and under 102.5 cents...
102.5 and under 112.5 cents..
112.5 and under 122.5 cents..
122.5 and under 132.5 cents..
132.5 and under 142.5 cents..
142.5 and under 152.5 cents..
152.5 and under 162.5 cents..
162.5 cents and over
_ _

United North South
States
0.5
.7
.4
.3
.4
.2
.1
.1
.1
.8
.1

0.7
1.0
.5

0.1

.4

.1

T ota l.......................... 100.0

100.0

100.0

Number of workers.............. 3,112 2,199
Average hourly earnings___ $0,457 $0,483

913
$0,392

.5
.2
.1
.2
.1
1.2
.2

The wage levels of individual plants, excluding cutting plants,
ranged from 36.6 cents to 72.5 cents. Plants paying average wages
of less than 40 cents an hour employed a fifth of the workers in the
North and three-fifths of the workers in the South. One-fourth of
the workers in the North were in establishments with average hourly
earnings of 52.5 cents or more, while the average in all southern
plants (excluding cutting plants) was less than 42.5 cents.
An analysis of earnings by production system showed that establish­
ments organized on the line system paid their stitchers 13 percent
less an hour than did the progressive-bundle-system plants, and 11
percent less than plants organized on the bundle system. This
variation in earnings with method of organization of the stitching
department was found in both regions, although it was smaller in
degree in the South.
Piece workers had earnings averaging 14 percent above those of
workers paid by time rates. Reflected in this difference is the higher
proportion of time workers in the South as well as the higher propor­
tion of time workers employed in line-system plants. The hourly pay
of time workers in the South was 6 percent above that of piece
workers. There were no bonus workers in the plants covered.
Earnings were about 20 percent higher in unionized plants (largely
northern) than in establishments not covered by union agreements.
Plants engaged in work on Government contracts reported hourly
earnings about a tenth lower than plants without such contracts.

Earnings of men were almost 40 percent higher than those of
women workers, the respective figures for the northern and
southern regions being 14 percent and 44 percent. Skilled occu­
pations, employing about 16 percent of the men and 1 percent of
the women, had average hourly earnings of 85.5 cents compared
with 44.1 cents for semiskilled workers and 38.7 cents for unskilled



24

EARNINGS AND HOURS,

1939

AND 1941

jobs. The average wages paid the various occupational groups
may be seen in table 14.
T a ble 14.— Average H ourly Earnings o f W age Earners in Plants M anufacturing Single
Pants Other Than Cotton, by Skill, Occupational Group, and Sex, 1941

Skill, occupational group, and sex

Num­ Average
ber of hourly
workers earn­
ings

All workers....................................
Male........................................
Female.....................................

3,112
721
2,391

$0,457
.582
.418

Skilled workers..............................
M a le ................................
Female..... ................... .
Cutters and markers, male.. .
_
Miscellaneous occupations_
Male.......... ............... ......
Female..............................

143
117
26
89
54
28
26

.855
.946
.466
.995
.635
.795
.466

Semiskilled workers...................... 12,823
Male.................................
553
Female.............................. 2,270
Bundle workers......................
28
Male__________________
26
Buttonhole and button sew­
ing-machine operators.........
125
Female________________
109
Examiners and inspectors___
228
Female..............................
208
Fitters.................. ...... ...........
29
Packers, boxers, and folders—
37
33
Male.................................
Pressers, off, pants.................
142
134
Male.................................

.441
.519
.422
.391
.393
.420
.406
.404
.400
.463
.474
.482
.607
.606

Skill, occupational group, and sex

Semiskilled workers—Continued.
Pressers, other.........................
Male.................................
Stitchers................... _.............
Male.................................
Female................... .........
Stock and shipping clerks and
order fillers_______ _______
Male............... .................
Miscellaneous occupations,
cutting room........................
M ale................. ..............
Female............ ...............
Miscellaneous occupations,
making department, main­
tenance, and service___. . . .
M a le...............................
Female..............................

Num­ Average
ber of hourly
workers earn­
ings

107
84
1,872
112
1,760

$0,475
.490
.432
.533
.425

50
49

.567
.568

68
40
28

.414
.412
.416

1137
28
109

.418
.422
.416

Unskilled workers.........................
Male........................................

70
49

.387
.389

Learners.........................................
Female.....................................

76
74

.289
.289

includes 5 handicapped workers (2 male, 3 female).
CHANGES IN EARNINGS, FEBRUARY-M ARCH 1939 TO MARCH 1941

Between early 1939 and March 1941, hourly earnings in 39 identical
plants that manufactured single pants other than cotton increased
from 39.4 to 45.7 cents. In 1939, when the Federal minimum wage
was 25 cents an hour, almost two-fifths of the workers earned less than
30 cents an hour, and three-fifths earned less than 37.5 cents. By
1941, these proportions declined to 1.4 and 16 percent, respectively.
At the time of the 1941 survey, when the minimum rate for single
pants other than cotton was 37.5 cents, almost two-fifths of the
workers earned between 37.5 and 40 cents an hour, compared with 6
percent in 1939.
The percentage increase in average hourly earnings was almost three
times as great in the South as in the North (31.4 compared with 11.3
percent). The difference in average wages between the two regions
was narrowed from 13.7 cents, or 46 percent of the southern average,
in 1939 to 9.3 cents, or 24 percent, in 1941. In the South, almost
three-fourths of the workers earned less than 30 cents in 1939 while in
1941 a corresponding proportion earned between 35 and 40 cents.
The proportion of southern employees receiving between 37.5 cents
and 40 cents increased from 1.5 percent to more than 50 percent. In
the North, although the change in wages was less marked than in the
South, half of the workers earned less than 37.5 cents in 1939, con­
trasted with only 10 percent in 1941. The proportion of northern
workers earning between 37.5 and 42.5 cents increased from 15 to
almost 50 (47.8) percent.



SINGLE PANTS, OTHER THAN COTTON, INDUSTRY

25

Because of the different incidence of the minimum-wage rates
among plants and occupations, earnings of higher-paid employees
increased less than did those of lower-paid workers. Hourly earnings
of women rose by 21 percent compared with 9 percent for men. The
increase for skilled workers between 1939 and 1941 was about 6
percent; that for semiskilled and unskilled workers was 19 percent.

Weekly Hours and Earnings
AVERAGE W EEK LY HOURS

The regular workweek in plants manufacturing single pants other
than cotton was 40 hours. The only important variation from this
schedule was found in 8 of the 13 cutting plants where cutters
were on a 36-hour week. Actual time worked averaged 38.2 hours.
At the time of the survey, four-fifths of the employees worked
40 hours or less, 46 percent working exactly 40 hours. Less than 3
percent worked 48 hours or more. Skilled workers averaged 3.4 hours
more than semiskilled and about 2 hours more than unskilled workers.
Hours averaged 38.6 in the North and 37.1 in the South.
AVERAGE W EEK LY EARNINGS

Weekly earnings in establishments manufacturing single pants other
than cotton were $17.44 in the spring of 1941. Exactly 40 percent
of the workers earned between $15 and $17,50. Weekly pay averaged
$18.64 in the North compared with $14.54 in the South. Half
(50.7 percent) of tHe northern workers and almost three-fourths
(72.7 percent) of the southern workers received between $12.50 and
$17.50.
Earnings of men were 44 percent higher than those of women, the
earnings of the two groups being $22.79 and $15.82, respectively.
Skilled workers averaged $35.37, or more than twice the earnings of
$16.77 for semiskilled workers and $15.21 for unskilled workers.
Among occupations, earnings varied from $14.34 for bundle workers
to $40.44 for cutters. Stitchers, the largest occupational group,
earned $16.36.





Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, One Federal Reserve Bank Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63102