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UNITED STATES DEPARTM ENT OF LABOR
Frances Perkins, Secretary
B U R E A U O F L A B O R ST A T IST IC S
Isador L ubin, Commissioner (on leave)
A . F . H inrichs, A cting Commissioner

+

Annual and H ourly Earnings
Philadelphia Knitted-Outerwear
Industry 1943

Bulletin

830

For sale b y the Superintendent o f D ocum ents, U . S. G overnm ent Printing Office
W ashington 25, D . C . - Price 5 cents







CO N TE N TS

Page




1
1

^ co to

Summary_______ ______ ______________________________________
Characteristics of the industry............................... ......... ................
Employment and earnings:
Regularity of employment..
Annual earnings___________
Hourly earnings___________
(in)

Letter of Transmittal

U nited States D epartment of L abor,
B ureau of L abor Statistics,
Washington, D . C., M a y 16, 1945.

The Secretary of L abor :
I have the honor to transmit herewith a report on annual and hourly
earnings in the Philadelphia knitted-outerwear industry in 1943. This
report was prepared in the Bureau’s Division of Wage Analysis by
Kermit B. Mohn, Regional Wage Analyst for the Philadelphia region.
A. F. H inrichs, Acting Commissioner.

Hon. F rances P erkins,




Secretary of Labor.
(IV)

Bulletin T^jo. 830 o f the
United States Bureau o f Labor Statistics
[Reprinted from the M onthly L abor R eview , May 1945, with additional data]

Annual and Hourly Earnings in Philadelphia KnittedOuterwear Industry, 1943
Sum m ary

The knitted-outerwear industry in Philadelphia employed a total
of 4,051 individual workers for varying periods of time in 1943. Of
these, 1,380 worked ^at least 46 weeks and had average gross annual
earnings of $1,739. The average straight-time hourly earnings for all
workers who were employed 6 weeks or more were 72.8 cents; over a
fourth received less than 50 cents an hour and about 16 percent at
least $1 an hour.
Comparatively full employment was afforded during 1943 to all
workers during their varying period of service in the industry . Weekly
hours during the year averaged 39 for all workers, indicating a con­
siderable amount of overtime work at premium rates. However, a
sizable turnover of workers, especially among the lowest skilled occu­
pations, resulted in an average workyear of only 27.2 weeks among the
whole group who worked in the industry at some time during the year.
Characteristics o f the Industry

The manufacture of knitted outerwear, although reflecting certain
characteristics of the apparel trades, is generally classified among the
textile industries. It is a relatively small industry, normally employ­
ing about 25,000 workers, of whom the majority are women and girls.
Most of the establishments in this industry are in the East.
The segment of the industry that is situated in Philadelphia has
had a long history of successful collective bargaining. Forty-seven of
the establishments operating in 1943, or all but 1 or 2 of the knittedouterwear manufacturers in the city, operated under agreements with
the Knit Goods Workers’ Union, Local 190 of the International Ladies’
Garment Workers’ Union (A. F. of L.). Of the 47 concerns, 43 were
members of the Knitted Outerwear Manufacturers Association oper­
ating under a master agreement. The other 4, although not members
of the association, worked under identical union agreements. Rather
unusual records, maintained under the terms of these agreements, pro­
vide significant information regarding the annual earnings of workers
in a light manufacturing industry during the war and constitute the
basis for the present article.
The product of the Philadelphia industry was valued at somewhat
more than $10,000,000 in 1943 and the number of workers employed
646949°—
45




(1 )

2
averaged about 2,700 during the year. Employment in individual
plants ranged from 8 to 172 workers; 27 plants had fewer than 50
workers, 10 had from 50 to 100 employees, and 10 had over 100.
All of the establishments operated full-process plants in that they
knit their own fabrics and manufactured finished products. A few
purchased no yarn on their own account but instead worked on a con­
tract basis, with the yarn furnished. The products were knit primarily
from woolen yarns, and in 1943 from 70 to 80 percent of the total
product was for civilian use.
The agreements made with the Knit Goods W ork ed Union stipulate
that employers shall furnish the union with weekly transcripts of pay­
roll records for each employee, by occupation.1 The union posts
figures from these pay-roll transcripts to individual members’ record
cards, so that the hours and total earnings, by weeks, are listed for
the entire year. After consultation with the Knitted Outerwear
Manufacturers Association, the union made these individual'record
cards for 1943 available to the Bureau for use in this special study.
It is recognized that there were slight imperfections in the data.
It was impossible, for example, to exclude learners and handicapped
workers, as is normally done in the Bureau’s wage studies. Further­
more, the occupational classifications were not always up to date, and
working foremen were probably included in some cases under other
occupational titles. It is believed, however, that the results are fairly
accurate, and that the slight inaccuracies that may exist do not
seriously limit the value of the material.
E m ploym ent and Earnings
R E G U L A R IT Y OF EM PLOYM ENT

Altogether 4,051 different wage earners were employed for varying
periods during 1943 by the 47 union establishments in the Philadelphia
knitted-outerwear industry. However, these workers averaged only
27.2 weeks of employment (see table 1). This low average must be
attributed to turnover among employees, since there was relatively
little fluctuation in the total working force during the year.
Over 22 percent of those employed worked less than 6 weeks and
slightly more than half 'worked less than 26 weeks. On the other hand,
more than a third were employed for at least 46 weeks and about one
of every eight worked 52 weeks.
Among the selected occupations shown in table 1, the cutters and
menders showed the greatest continuity of employment, on the
average. The former had an average work-year of 43 weeks and the
latter had one of 41 weeks. Almost three-fourths of the cutters worked
46 weeks or more and not quite half, put in 52 weeks. Among the
menders, 61 percent worked at least 46 weeks and almost a fourth
were employed for a full year.
In contrast, the greatest turnover is indicated for examiners and
trimmers and folders and packers, with average work-years of 21.5
1 Under the arrangement with the union in 1943, the union shops in the knitted-outerwear industry con­
tributed amounts equal to 3 percent of the total weekly wages of the union members for the purpose of
financing various benefits to union members. These contributions were paid for 40 weeks during the year,
beginning with the sixth calendar week. From this fund the union provided vacation, pay-to its members,
based on total income for a designated period, with a maximum of $35. Persons in military service received
$25. In addition, sick benefits of $5 per week were paid for a maximum of 5 weeks during the year' afterlan
initial 2 weeks of illness.




3
T able 1.— D istribution o f W orkers in Philadelphia K nitted-O uterw ear Industry , by
Num ber o f W eeks W orked D uring 1943
Selected occupations
Number of weeks worked

1 to 5 wfioks_
fi to 1ft OTPPks _ _
11 to 15 wpoks
1fi to 2ft wpolrs
21 to 25 wppks
2fi to 3ft wppks
31 to 35 wppks
_ _
3fi to 4ft wppks
41 to 45 wppks
4fi to 51 wppks _
52 wppks _
_ _

___

All
Exam­
work­
ers 1 Cutters iners Folders Knitters Menders Merrow Pressers Singer
opera­
opera­
and
and
trim­ packers
tors
tors
mers
901
443
256
235
198
181
149
144
164
860
520

1
5
2
1
4
5
2
5
4
26
49

208
82
49
50
28
22
33
26
23
82
54

58
44
21
12
8
12
15
6
4
35
25

1
2
1
4
7
3
2
4
6
29
18

25
11
2
6
3
7
6
5
7
60
64

51
36
26
24
15
21
17
18
29
141
63

5
4
8
3
3
3
2
5
5
20
21

54
29
18
22
17
17
10
18
15
124
35

_

4,051

104

657

.240

196

77

441

74

359

Yearly average (weeks).......

27.2

43.0

21.5

22.7

38.7

41.0

34.0

38.4

32.0

T ota l

i Includes occupations not shown separately.

weeks and 22.7 weeks, respectively. Almost 30 percent of their total
number were employed in the industry for less than* 6 weeks and about
22 percent were employed at least 46 weeks.
The hours worked within these weeks were fairly high, on the
average. The tabulation below shows that average weekly hours
worked during the year for all employees amounted to 39, with a
range among the selected occupations from 37 for singer operators to
46 for knitters. Cutters worked sufficient overtime to give them an
average Workweek of 44 hours, and pressers had an average workweek
of exactly 40 hours.
Number
Average
of
weekly
workers
hours
All workers___________________________ 4, 051

39. 0

Selected occupations:
Cutters________________
Examiners and trimmers__________
Folders and packers______________
Knitters__________________________
Menders_________________________
Merrow operators________________
Pressers__________________________
Singer operators__________________

44. 0
38. 0
38. 5
46. 0
38. 5
37. 5
40.0
37. 0

104
657
240
196
77
441
74
359

A N N U A L E A R N IN G S

Workers who were employed at least 46 weeks in the knittedouterwear industry in Philadelphia had average gross annual earnings
of $1,739 in 1943 (table 2). Actual gross annual earnings ranged from
$642 to $5,508, and over three-fourths of the total group had earnings
of at least $800, but less than $2,200. Almost all of the others aver­
aged more than the latter figure. Because of pay-roll deductions for
various purposes, the net amounts taken home by these workers were,
of course, substantially less than the gross earnings.




4
T able 2.— D istribution o f W orkers Em ployed 46 W eeks or M ore in Philadelphia K nitted «
Outerwear Industry D uring 1943 , by A nnual Earnings
Selected occupations
Classified annual earnings

$600 to $799...........................
$800 to $999...........................
$1,000 to $1,199......................
$1,200 to $1,399......................

AH
Exam­
work­
Mer­
ers1 Cutters iners Folders Knitters Menders row Pressers Singer
and
and
opera­
opera­
trim­ packers
tors
tors
mers
4
33
46
24
21
4
1
2

2
13
21
9
6
3
2
1

$2,000 to $2,199......................
$2,200 to $2,399......................
$2,400 to $2,599......................
$2,600 to $2,799......................
$2,800 to $2,999......................
$3,000 to $3,199......................
$3,200 to $3,399......................
$3,400 to $3,599......................
$3,600 to $3,799......................
$3,800 to $3,999......................
$4,000 to $4,199......................
$4,200 and over_______ ____

9
118
196
169
199
165
123
104
70
64
48
35
25
21
13
3
11
3
4

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

1,380

75

136

60

124

47

Yearly average annual earn- •
ings..................................... $1,739

$3,016

$1, 206

$1, 259

$2,601

$1,381

$1,400 t o $ 1 , 5 9 9 ___________
$1,000 t o $1,799
$1 ,ROO to $1,999

2
6
11
16
7
10
10
2
1
6

1
g
7
17
17
16
17
10
10
9

2
1

1

1
11
14
13
g
1
1

1
14
13
49
44
30
25
13
9
2
2
1
1

5

2
1

3

1

204

41

159

$1,811

$2,538

$1,678

2
3
2

4

1
2
2
1
4
3
8
7
8
2

1
8
10
21
33
37
13
18
10
4

* Includes occupations not shown separately.

Cutters were the highest-paid workers in the industry, with average
annual earnings of $3,016. Their hourly rates (table 3) were aug­
mented by considerable amounts of premium overtime pay. Exactly
72 percent of the cutters who worked at least 46 weeks had total
earnings between $2,400 and $3,400 for the year. A number of those
with earnings over $3,400 supervised the work of other workers in
addition to performing their regular duties of cutting.
In contrast, the group having the lowest annual earnings consisted
of examiners and trimmers, with an average of $1,206. Nine of
every 10 workers in this occupational group averaged between $800
and $1,600 for the year’s work, with over 58 percent averaging
between $800 and $1,200.
Knitters and pressers ranked second and third in average annual
earnings with figures of $2,601 and $2,538, respectively. The former
exceeded the latter despite the reverse relationship of their straighttime hourly earnings (table 3), because the knitters, as a group, put
in more overtime at premium rates than did the pressers. The same
sort of relationship existed between the merrow operators and the
singer operators. Almost 69 percent of the combined machineoperating group (merrow and singer) earned between $1,400 and
$2,200, on the average.
In considering these annual-earnings figures by occupation, it is
well to bear in mind that nearly all cutters, knitters, and pressers are
males, while most of the workers in the other selected occupations
are females.
H O U R L Y E A R N IN G S

The straight-time hourly earnings of 3,150 workers who were
employed for at least 6 weeks in the Philadelphia knitted-outerwear




5
industry in 1943 averaged 72.8 cents (table 3). Individual averages
ranged from the legal minimum of 40 cents to over $2.00 per hour.
However, slightly more than half of the workers received less than
65 cents, over a third were paid less than 55 cents, and well oyer a
fourth had earnings of less than 50 cents per hour. Comparatively
well-paid workers were also numerous; about 16 percent of the 3,150
workers covered in the study had earnings of at least $1.00 per hour,
on the average.
T able 3.— D istribution o f W orkers Em ployed 6 W eeks or M ore in Philadelphia K nitted -

_________ Outerwear Industry D uring 1943, by Straight-tim e H ourly Earnings________
Selected occupations
Classified hourly earnings

$0,400 to *0.449
$0 450 tn $0 499
|n .Wl tn $0 549
$o 550 tn $0590
$n ooo t.n $n fi4Q
$0 650 tn $0,699
$0,700 tn $0,749
$0,750 tn $0 799
$0 son tn *0 849
$0 850 tn $0 899
$0 900 tn $0,949
$0 950 tn *0.999
$1 000 tn $1,049

$1,050 to $1.099......................

$1 100 tn $1,149
$1 150 tn $1 199
$1 900 tn *1249
$1 950 tn $1.999
$1300 tn $1,349
$1 350 tn $1,399
$1 400 tn *1449
$1.450 tn $1,499 ___.
$1 500 tn $1 549
$1 550 tn $1,599
$1 O O tn $1 049
O
$1 050 tn $1.099
$1.700 tn $1,749 ______
$1,750 tn *1.799
$1 800 tn $1 849
$1 850 tn $1.899
$1.900 tn $ 1 .949 _________
$1 950 tn $1 999
$2,000 and o v e r _____________

All
Exam­
Mer­
work­
Singer
ers1 Cutters iners Folders Knitters Mend­ row Pressers opera­
and
and
opera­
ers
tors
trim­ packers
tors
mers
512
352
271
249
203
178
183
138
144
168
138
111
99
101
69
57
48
24
23
13
17
6
8
6
9

8
3
3
2

1
1
2
15
20
19
5
7
1
1
4
5
2
5

170
84
57
45
28
20
12
13
6
2
1
2
2
5
1
1

47
53
30
14
9
9
6
3
3
2
1
1
1
1
1
1

6
2

1
16
49
31
15
17
5
7
5
5
4
4
3
3
1
2

3
2
7
15
15
8
14
4
2
4
1

i

1
1

5
9
16
23
25
22
38
35
35
31
34
33
18
16
12
19
6
5
1
1
2
1
1
1
1

4
5
6
3
3
8
4
3
3
6
1
2
2

1

2
4

3
2

1
6

103

Average hourly earnings___ $0. 728

$1.241

3

2

3,150

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

5
2
6
3

6
13
9
21
14
25
14
15
22
26
27
20
27
15
17
11
5
5
3
2
1

449.
$0.524

182

171

76

390

69

305

$0. 531

$1.005

$0,652

$0,846

$1.172

$0,867

» Includes occupations not shown separately.

Cutters were generally the highest-paid employees, with an average
hourly rate of $1,241. Pressers ranked next, with an average of
$1,172, and knitters were third with $1,005. Male workers are em­
ployed in these three occupations. Although pressing is not con­
sidered as skilled an occupation as knitting, the workers in this classi­
fication were able to raise their hourly earnings to a higher level be­
cause of favorable piece-work systems of wage payment. Knitters
were usually paid on a time basis.
Among the remaining five selected occupations, in all of which
females were used almost exclusively, average straight-time hourly
earnings ranged from 86.7 cents for singer operators to 52.4 cents for
examiners and'trimmers. Singer and merrow operators and most of




6
the trimmers were paid on a piece-work basis, but all of the menders,
most of the folders and packers, and most of the examiners, were paid
hourly rates.
All of the figures shown in table 3 exclude premiums for overtime
work but include any payments for piece work or other incentive
earnings.
Quarterly changes in employment and in hourly earnings are shown
for selected occupations in tables 4 and 5. In both of these tables a
quarter represents a 13-week period rather than 3 calendar months.
T able 4.— Average W eeks and W eekly Hours W orked in Selected Occupations in Phila­
delphia Knitted-Outerwear Industry, by Quarters, 1943

Occupation

Third quarter

Second quarter

First quarter

Fourth quarter

Num­ Aver­ Aver­ Num­ Aver­ Aver­ Num­ Aver­ Avery Num­ Aver­ Aver­
age
ber
age
ber
age
ber
age
age
age
age week- ber
age
of
of
of
weeks week- work­ weeks weekweeks week- of
work­ worked . i work­ worked .l work­ worked
y ers weeks hours ers
y
i ers worked hours
y
i
y
hours
hours
ers

Cutters................
Examiners and
trimmers______
Polders and packe r s - ..................
Knitters...............
Menders...............
Merrow operators.
Pressers...... .........
Singer operators..

93

1.
17

44.0

97

11.8

45.5

93

12.2

42.5

97

12.3

4.
40

388

8.8

38.0

388

9.3

39.0

372

9.1

37.5

328

9.9

39.5

113
157
69
362
58
329

10.8
11.8
12.1
11.4
11.1
10.5

38.5
44.0
39.0
37.0
40.0
37.5

131
156
69
367
59
291

9.8
12.1
12.1
11.3
11.9
11.2

41.5
47.0
38.5
37.5
44.0
34.0

143
161
64
360
56
297

9.0
11.4
11.1
10.5
11.6
10.2

39.0
43.5
40.0
36.0
42.5
36.5

152
146
59
358
60
290

9.2
12.2
12.1
11.0
11.9
11.0

37.0
45.5
40.0
37.5
41.5
37.5

T able 5.— Number o f W orkers and Straight-Time Average H ourly Earnings fo r Selected
Occupations in Philadelphia Knitted Outerwear Industry, by Quarters, 1943
6 weeks or more 46 weeks or more 6 weeks or more 46 weeks or more
employment
employment
employment
employment

Occupation

Aver­
Aver­
Aver­
Aver­
Num­
Num­
Num­
Num­
age
age
age
age
ber of hourly ber of hourly ber of hourly ber of hourly
workers earn­ workers earn­ workers earn­ workers earn­
ings
ings
ings
ings
First quarter

Cutters................................................
Examiners and trimmers...................
Folders and packers...........................
Knitters..............................................
Menders.............................................
Merrow operators...............................
Pressers....... .......................................
Singer operators..................................

91
307
102
150
69
317
57
254

$1.180
.505
.515
.951
.621
.818
1.130
.835

75
136
60
124
47
204
41
159

Second quarter
$1.180
.527
.553
.956
.626
.832
1.124
.842

97
338
124
153
69
326
64
254

Third quarter
Cutters................................................
Examiners and trimmers...................
Folders and packers...........................
Knitters..............._.............................
Menders.............................................
Merrow operators...............................
Pressers..............................................
Singer operators.................................

93
331
134
152
67
325
61
251

$1,255
.530
.558
1.018
.664
.863
1.175
.877

75 $1,272
.594
136
.602
60
124
1.031
47
.664
204
.916
41
1.202
159
.911

$1,206
.531
.530
.989
.654
.850
1.157
.831

75
136
60
124
47
204
41
159

$1,220
.565
.573
.998
.664
.893
1.180
.892

Fourth quarter
94
300
123
146
58
311
60
244

$1.295
.536
.539
1.058
.700
.876
1.238
.896

75
136
60
124
47
204
41
159

$1,316
.627
.622
1.067
.692
.937
1.282
.887

There were only slight variations in total employment among the
selected occupations. The most noticeable drop occurred during the4




7
last quarter when the total number of workers in the eight occupations
was about 5 percent less than the total during the peak quarter, the
first. This was caused primarily by reductions in the number of ex­
aminers and trimmers and singer operators.
Similarly there was very little fluctuation in the number of weeks
worked, on the average, or in the number of weekly hours. All of
these figures indicate a relatively uniform work load in the industry
throughout the year.
As indicated in table 5, the straight-time hourly earnings increased
progressively during the year. The fourth-quarter averages for those
workers with 6 weeks or more of employment were higher than the
first-quarter averages for each of the occupations, with a rise in
menders’ earnings of 12.7 percent and in knitters, of 11.1 percent.
Among those workers who had 46 weeks or more employment, the
upward movement was generally more pronounced. The percentage
increases from the first to fourth quarters for this category were
generally greater than the comparable increases among all those
working at least 6 weeks. It is also of interest to note that the
averages for these workers having the longer tenure were usually
greater than those for the whole group in each of the quarters.
The upward movement of earnings during the year reflects in part
the reduction in number and simplification of civilian styles, and the
introduction of large Government orders for single-style items.
Piece-work earnings tended to increase under these conditions and
helped to stimulate changing the rates of the time workers.




V. $ .

GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 194G

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