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L. B. Schwellenbach, Secretary
Ewan Clague, Commissioner


The Changing Status o f
Bituminous'Coal Miners


Bulletin 7S[o. 882

For sale b y the Superintendent o f Documents, U . S. Governm ent Printing Office

Washington 25, D . C. -

Price 5 cents

Letter of Transmittal

n it e d

States D

epartm ent








S t a t is t ic s ,

Washington, D. C., August 29, 1946♦
The S e c r e t a r y o f L a b o r :
I have the honor to transmit herewith a report on the changing status of
bituminous-coal miners, 1937-46. This report was prepared by Witt Bowden
of the Bureau’s Labor Economics Staff,
E w a n C l a g u e , Commissioner.
H o n . L. B. S c h w e l l e n b a c h ,
Secretary of Labor.

P age



rf* CO to


00 00

Wages and hours before 1941______________________________
Adjustments in 1941_______________________________________
Effects of the war on production and employment__________
Wartime change in hours, wages, productivity, and labor cost.
Main issues in 1946 contract negotiations__________________
The 1946 agreement.......................................................................
Earnings under normal hours and production_______________

B ulletin No* 882 o f the
U nited States B ureau o f Labor Statistics
[Reprinted from the M onthly L abor R eview , August 1946]

T h e Changing Status o f B itum inous-C oal M iners,

Workers in bituminous-coal mining made significant gains during
the war and immediate postwar periods.1 Only two advances in
general wage rates occurred after 1937, each of these (1941 and 1946)
averaging about 17 percent. Average earnings and hours of work,
however, rose far more than basic rates, and important supplemental
gains were made, notably paid vacations, pay for travel time in
mines at established rates, and improved standards of safety, health,
and welfare. Increases in earnings per hour caused a relatively small
increase in wages per ton because of the rise in the output of coal per
Between the two World Wars, the relative importance of coal
had declined and workers suffered from part-time employment and
relatively low weekly earnings, as well as the exceptional hazards of
the industry. After 1932 these workers made relatively large gains
in wage rates, but employment and average earnings were depressed
by part-time operation of the mines, averaging less than 200 days
per year.
If there is a return to the contractual straight-time workweek of
35 hours after the exceptional reconversion demands for coal are met,
average weekly earnings would fall, on the basis of existing wage
rates, far below current levels maintained by the lengthened work­
week. The future of employment and earnings in the coal industry
will be affected to an exceptional degree by the general level of busi­
ness activity, on which depends the demand for coal as well as oppor­
tunities for transfer to employment outside of coal mining.
W ages and H ours B efore 1941

Workers in bituminous-coal mining shared with factory workers
and others the increases in wages during and soon after World War I.
Houily earnings (based on hours of work at the “ face” or usual place
of work) averaged about 85 cents in 1923 as compared with about 52
cents for factory workers. These averages were more than twice as
high as those of 1914, even after slight declines from the early post­
war peaks; consumers’ prices were 70 percent higher.2
Extreme competition in mining and difficulties in maintaining the
strength of the miners’ organizations led to sharp declines in wages
1 Sources used, in addition to regular reports and special studies b y the Bureau of Labor Statistics, include
publications of the U . S. Bureau of Mines and the National W ar Labor Board, the United M ine Workers
Journal, and Industry Bulletins of the National Coal Association.
2 As a result of a decline in hours of work, the gain was less in weekly earnings than in hourly earnings.

713841— 46


even before 1929, when hourly earnings averaged only about 68
cents, or 20 percent lower than in 1923. The hourly earnings of
factory workers, in contrast, rose from 52 cents in 1923 to 57 cents
in 1929, an increase of 10 percent. The average for bituminous-coal
mining declined further, from 68 cents in 1929 to 50 cents in 1933,
or 26 percent. Factory average hourly earnings fell from 57 to 44
cents, or 23 percent.
After 1933, workeis in bituminous-coal mining made relatively
large gains. Average hourly earnings rose from 50 cents in 1933 to
79 cents in 1936, or 58 percent, while the factory average rose only
from 44 to 56 cents, or 27 percent. The year 1936 may be described
in general as a wage “ plateau,” following the substantial post-depres­
sion gains and preceding the upturn beginning in 1937. In bitu­
minous-coal mining, this upturn was reflected in the 1937 wage
The agreement of April 1937 extended to March 31, 1941, and
covered a part of the crucial period of preparation for national defense.
The agreement retained the 35-hour week of 5 days and 7 hours per
day, which had been adopted in 1934 in mines employing almost
three-fourths of the workers and which had been extended by 1935
to about 98 percent of the workers. The agreement for the Northern
Appalachian areas provided for an increase of 50 cents per day, from
$5.50 to $6 (or from 78.6 to 85.7 cents per hour). The corresponding
increase of 50 cents in the Southern Appalachian districts was from
$5.10 to $5.60 per day (or from 72.9 to 80.0 cents per hour). The
agreement provided for equivalent increases for other groups, includ­
ing the piece rates of tonnage workers. Outside of the Appalachian
territories, regional differences were recognized, depending on such
conditions as the nature of the coal seams, customary arrangements,
and in some instances the economic status of mines. The 1937
agreement introduced premium pay for overtime at time and one-half.
The general increase in wage rates for the industry as a whole
under the 1937 agreement is indicated approximately by the change
in average hourly earnings. The averages for the years 1936 and
1940 are to be preferred as a measure of the rate increase because of
similarities of employment and production levels and average hours
of work during these years. Average hourly earnings rose from 79.4
cents in 1936 to 88.3 cents in 1940, an increase of 11.2 percent.
The 1939 agreement renewed the terms of the 1937 contract relating
to wages and hours of work. Prolonged negotiations, accompanied
by the shut-down of the mines, dealt largely with the demand for a
union shop. This demand was ultimately conceded by most of the
industry with the exception of the so-called “ captive” mines (those
operating primarily to produce coal for use by the owners, such as
steel companies).
Adjustm ents in 1941

The contract negotiations of 1941 took place during the early stages
of a sharp upturn in prices and wages. The demands, presented by
the union in joint conferences in March, included a general wage
increase of $1 per day for “ all regular classifications of inside and
outside day men,” with corresponding increases for other day workers
and for tonnage men. Another important demand was the elimina­

tion of North-South differentials and of other differences in wages
described as “ inequitable.” The North-South differentials and
later the union shop in captive mines proved to be major causes of
disagreement and ensuing work stoppages.
A separate agreement was signed by operators representing the
Northern Appalachian area (Pennsylvania, Ohio, northern West
Virginia, western Maryland, and Michigan). The agreement pro­
vided for an increase of $1 per day or 14.3 cents per hour for basic
day occupations, contingent upon the elimination of the NorthSouth differential of 40 cents per day in basic occupations. Southern
operators (representing southern West Virginia, Virginia, eastern
Kentucky, and northern Tennessee) were unwilling to eliminate the
differentials and therefore, on April 11, withdrew from the conference.
At length, however, on July 6, an agreement was reached between
the union and the southern operators for the elimination of the
differential for day men but not for tonnage men. The increase for
basic day occupations was $1.40 per day or 20 cents per hour. The
union shop was also extended to Harlan County, Kentucky. Each
of the two agreements (for the Northern and Southern Appalachian
areas) covered approximately 150,000 workers.
The union shop had not been extended to the captive mines, employ­
ing approximately 50,000 workers. About 95 percent of these work­
ers were union members and they produced about 10 percent of the
yearly output of coal. Demands were made in the fall of 1941 that
the steel companies extend the union shop to the captive mines. On
December 7, 1941, an arbitration board ruled in favor of the union.
The agreements of 1941 provided for considerable differences in the
extent of increases in wages. The rise in the Southern Appalachian
area, in particular, was relatively large because of the elimination of
the differential for day workers. An estimate made for the National
War Labor Board for the Northern and Southern Appalachian areas
combined indicated an increase of about 18 percent. The change in
average hourly earnings for the industry as a whole indicates that the
1941 agreements brought about a general increase of about 17 per­
cent in basic rates. The Bureau of Labor Statistics figures of average
hourly earnings during that period were affected only to a slight
extent by factors other than changes in basic rates, such as premium
payments for overtime.
Effects o f the W a r on Production and E m ploym ent

An outstanding industrial achievement of the war was the very
large increase in the tonnage of coal produced by a declining number
of miners. The output of bituminous coal and lignite in 1939 totaled
about 394,855,000 tons. This was less than the production of the
years 1936 and 1937 but more than that of the years 1931 to 1935
and 1938. The expanded output after 1939 is shown below:
Output (in tons)



394, 855, 325
514, 149, 245

During prewar years there was normally a considerable seasonal
variation in the output of coal, production declining in the spring
and summer months. The seasonal peaks were less pronounced
during the war. Major fluctuations in production during the war
were caused by work stoppages. Thus, in April 1941 only 6,110,000
tons were produced, in contrast to the October peak-month output of
51,703,000 tons; and in June 1943, production fell to 34,540,000 tons
as compared with the peak output of 56,203,000 tons in March. In
prewar years, when the mines could normally supply all demands by
operating less than 200 days per year, a work stoppage, especially in
the spring months of slack demand, had no marked effect on aggregate
production and employment during the year.
The production of coal between the two World Wars, although
quite variable, had tended to decline, but to a smaller extent than
employment. The largest amount of coal produced in any one year
before 1944 was 579,386,000 tons in 1918. This volume of production
was almost equaled in 1926, with an output of 573,367,000 tons.
Production in 1944 reached a peak of 619,576,000 tons. The average
number of wage earners employed in that year was only 354,000,3 in
contrast to 542,000 in 1926. Thus, production in 1944 was 8 percent
larger than in 1926 and average employment was 35 percent smaller.
Employment reached a low point in 1932, with only 350,000 wage
earners. The number rose to 461,000 in 1937 but declined to 371,000
in 1939. Following are the average numbers of wage earners em­
ployed during the war period:
Average number
o f wage earners




W artim e Change in H ours, W ages9 Productivity, and Labor Cost

It will be noted from the figures previously cited that there was a
remarkable wartime rise in the production of coal. The amount in­
creased 57 percent from 1939 to 1944. Still more noteworthy was the
fact that the increased production of coal was accompanied by an
actual reduction of about 5 percent in average employment. These
trends are to be explained in part by the lengthened workweek and in
part by a rise in productivity or average man-hour output.
Standard hours of work were reduced in 1934 and 1935 to 35 hours
per week (a 7-hour day and 5-day week). In response to a request by
the Government in September 1942 for measures to prevent a shortage
of coal, the union and the operators agreed early in 1943 to a 6-day
week of 42 hours, with premium pay for the sixth day. The agree­
ments were followed by action by the Office of Price Administration to’
raise coal prices for meeting the additional costs.
8These and the following Bureau of Labor Statistics figures of employment are the averages of the numbers
on the pay rolls during 12 pay-roll periods, the averages thus being affected b y the m onthly variations
accompanying mine shut-downs, work stoppages, labor turn-over, and other factors. Bureau of M ines
estimates of em ploym ent, based on the numbers at work when the mines are actually operating as dis­
tinguished from shut-down periods, are significantly larger and are also less variable than the averages here

The 7-hour day was abandoned in the 1943 agreement, which pro­
vided for a 9-hour day underground for inside workers, including 15
minutes for lunch and an estimated average of 45 minutes for travel
time. The daily shift of most of the outside workers was fixed at 8.5
hours, including a 15-minute intermission for lunch. The 1945 agree­
ment modified the hours of work only to a slight extent. Inside
workers retained the 9-hour day, figured from portal to portal, but the
15-minute lunch period was to be staggered. A workday of 8 hours
and 15 minutes was established for outside workers, the shift to in­
clude “ a staggered 15 minutes for lunch, and without any intermission
or suspension of operations throughout the day.” For certain outside
workers, however, the agreement called for a shift of 8 hours and 35
minutes, including a staggered 15-minute lunch period. According to
the Bureau of Labor Statistics survey made in the fall of 1945, work
schedules varied widely. The usual shift of outside workers was 8
hours and 15 minutes, including the 15-minute staggered lunch period.
The prevailing shift of outside workers on continuous operations
(limited to relatively few mines) was 8 hours and 35 minutes, including
the same staggered lunch period.
As a result of these changes, average weekly hours rose from 27.1
per week (excluding travel time of inside workers) in 1939 to 43.4 hours
(including travel time) in 1944. The average fell to 42.3 hours in 1945
but rose to 45.9 hours in March 1946. Travel time of inside workers
was assumed, under the 1943 agreements, to be about 45 minutes per
day. The inclusion of travel time as working time would thus in­
crease the length of the workday (or workweek) of inside workers
about 9 percent. A study by a joint committee appointed by the
President in 1943 indicated average travel time as significantly above
45 minutes per day, but it appears that the agreement to compensate
workers for travel time has caused material reductions in the amount
of time spent between the portal and the “ face” or usual place of
Average Weekly hours worked are materially below full-time hours
per week, the averages being affected by such factors as part-time
operation of mines, labor turn-over, and absences due to accidents and
other causes. Part-time operation of the mines was less significant
during the war than in earlier years, the average number of days of
mine operation rising from 178 days in 1939 to 278 in 1944.
No changes in basic rates of wages were made between the agree­
ments of 1937 and 1946 with the exception of the 1941 changes previ­
ously described. These changes averaged approximately 17 percent.
Minor wage-rate adjustments were made from time to time, as for
example, the equalization of rates of outside workers corresponding to
the introduction of pay for travel time for inside workers.
The average earnings of bituminous-coal workers rose materially
more than their basic rates. Average weekly earnings rose from
$23.88 in 1939 to $56.84 after the 1945 agreement and the partial work
stoppage in October (the average from November 1945 to March 1946).
This rise was caused in part by the change in basic rates but mainly by
the increase in hours and in premium pay for overtime and by supple­
mental gains such as pay for travel time.
The 1943 arrangement for travel-time pay, as approved by the
National War Labor Board, called for the regular straight-time rate of

pay for productive time and for two-thirds of that rate for travel time
up to 40 hours, and for two-thirds of the premium rate for travel time
beyond 40 hours. This arrangement was viewed by the Board as nec­
essary to meet the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The
1945 agreement reverted, however, to the original contract provisions
for overtime rates for hours beyond 7 per day or 35 per week. Full
porta 1-to-portal payment was approved by the Board on the basis of a
United States Circuit Court of Appeals decision that travel time
must be paid for as work time, a decision later upheld by the United
States Supreme Court.
During the war, coal operators encountered serious difficulties in
maintaining their production facilities and in replacing worn-out
equipment. Efficiency of production was also impaired in a measure
by the lengthened workweek.4 Nevertheless, substantial gains were
made in average man-hour output. There was an increase in every
year after 1938 with the exception of 1943. The increase between
1938 and 1945 was 29 percent. This rise (or inversely the decline in
the amount of labor required per ton) slowed up the increase in unit
labor cost (the amount of wages paid per ton) resulting from advances
in the amount of wages paid per hour. Unit labor cost rose 22 percent
between 1938 and 1945. Labor cost declined between 1938 and 1940
and remained about the same between 1944 and 1945.
The increase of about 22 percent in unit labor cost between 1938 and
1945 was accompanied by a rise of 58 percent, as estimated by the
Bureau of Mines, in the value of coal per ton at the mines. These
estimates relate to the* industry as a whole. Costs (including nonwage
costs) and profit margins as the basis of price increases have related to
producing districts, kinds of coal, and in exceptional cases individual
These comparisons of percentage changes are summarized below:
Percent of change,
1938 to 1945

Output (in tons) per man-hour--------------------------------------------------Man-hours required per ton_____________________________________
Unit labor cost (amount of wages per ton )_______________________
Value per ton at mines__________________________________________


The ending of emergency conditions in employment and production
may be expected to improve the efficiency of production. A return
to the normal workweek would presumably increase the intensity of
work, thus tending to raise man-hour output; and the elimination of
premium payments for overtime, as well as the rise in man-hour
output, would tend to reduce the amount of wages paid per ton.
When operators are able to replace worn machinery with improved
equipment a rise in efficiency will naturally ensue. The possible
elimination of some high-cost mines in operation during the war
may also contribute to rising productivity.
M a in Issues in 1946 Contract N egotiations

The National Bituminous Wage Conference, convening in Wash­
ington on March 12, 1946, carried on negotiations under conditions
4 This subject is discussed in relation to various metalworking industries in Studies of the Effects o f Long
W orking Hours, b y M ax D . Kossoris (Bureau of Labor Statistics Bulletin N o. 791, Parts 1 and 2, Washing­
ton, 1944).

of rising wages and prices somewhat similar to the situation during
the 1941 negotiations.6 The United Mine Workers presented nine
proposals described as “ negotiable suggestions.” These nine proposals
related to a health and welfare fund; the unionization of supervisory,
technical, and clerical employees; increase in wages and reduction of
hours; adjustment of vacation, holiday, and severance compensation;
improved safety standards, and compliance with mining, compensa­
tion, and occupational disease laws; adjustment of wage differentials
and local “ inequalities” ; elimination of “ inequities and abuses” of
fining and penalty provisions; amendment of rules and practices
“ to promote mutual accord, increased efficiency and elimination of
the small tyrannies of management;” and adjustment of the contro­
versy over “ unilateral interpretation of existing agreement by
Representatives of the Operators’ Negotiating Committee criticized
the proposals as vague and indefinite. It was asserted that the delay
in defining the several demands was in effect a “ filibuster,” and the
proposals as a whole were described as “ ethereal.” On March 18,
the operators presented for consideration four counter proposals.
These included the limiting of premium pay to work beyond 40 hours
per week. Proposals on March 25 included increases in wages con­
sistent with public wage-price policy; study of a plan for a joint fund,
to be independently administered, for mitigating hardships resulting
from accidents; acceptance of optional as well as compulsory provi­
sions of State workmen’s compensation laws; joint study of State
mining laws affecting safety; and strengthening of penalties against
violation of agreements.
Major issues which deadlocked the conference included the proposed
health and welfare fund and the changes in safety and related practices.
The union’s detailed proposal regarding a health and welfare fund,
as outlined for the joint conference on M ay 13, called for a 7-percent
pay-roll assessment, the fund thus created to be administered by the
union. At the same meeting of the joint conference on May 13,
the proposals regarding safety measures were analyzed. It was
proposed that a safety committee of three union members at each
mine should have authority to inspect the mine and order the men
removed in any section of the mine where danger is threatened to
life and limb. Operators, it was insisted, should comply with State
and Federal mining laws and particularly with recommendations of
Federal inspectors as to safety standards. State workmen’s compen­
sation laws, it was further demanded, should be complied with even
though some of the laws are elective rather than compulsory.
The demand of the union for improved safety standards was sup­
ported by reference to the comparative records of deaths and injuries
in coal mines and other industries. The record of bituminous-coal
mining showed some improvement during the war, the number of
disabling injuries for each million hours of work falling from 71.0
in 1939 to 64.4 in 1944, but it remained far above the record of 18.4
per million man-hours in manufacturing as a whole and 27.7 in
* For details of the course of the 1946 negotiations, see M on th ly Labor R eview, June 1946 (pp. 915-917).


The 1946 Agreement
The failure of the United Mine Workers and the Operators’ Negoti­
ating Committee to adjust their differences led, on March 26, 1946,
to notifying the officials and members of the union that the agreement
would terminate on March 31. The resulting work stoppages con­
tinued until M ay 13, when work was resumed for 2 weeks by authority
of the union’s policy committee.
It became apparent, however, that no agreement could be reached
during the 2 weeks; and on M ay 21, the President instructed the
Secretary of the Interior to take possession of the mines and to conduct
negotiations with the union, subject to national stabilization policies.
At the end of the 2-weeks’ “ truce” there was another work stoppage.
An agreement was signed on M ay 29, 1946, by the Secretary of the
Interior as Coal Mines Administrator and the president of the United
Mine Workers. Notices were then sent out by the union ordering an
immediate return to work.
The terms of the agreement signed on M ay 29, 1946, were summar­
ized by the Coal Mines Administrator as follows:
Hours.— Mines are to be operated 9 hours per day as heretofore, with overtime
to be paid after 7 hours.
Wages.— A basic hourly increase of 18.5 cents, which, with overtime, means
a daily increase of $1.85.
Mine safety 'program.— Federal Mine Safety Code to be issued by Director of
Bureau of Mines, Interior Department. Periodic inspections by Federal inspec­
tors. Local unions to select mine safety committees at each mine to report
Workmen’s compensation and occupational disease laws.— Coal Mines Adminis­
trator will direct operat ing managers to comply with State laws, whether elective
or compulsory.
Health and welfare program.— (1) A welfare and retirement fund financed
by 5 cents a ton on coal produced for use or sale. To be used for payments for
sickness, disability, death, or retirement. To be managed by trustees, one ap­
pointed by the union, one by the Administrator, and the third by the other two.
(2) A medical and hospital fund. Financed from deductions now made from
miners’ pay for such purposes. To be administered by trustees appointed by
the president of the union.
(3) The two funds to be used to complement each other.
Survey of medical and sanitary facilities.— A comprehensive survey of hospital
and medical facilities, medical treatment, sanitary and housing conditions in
coal-mining areas to determine improvements necessary to bring these up to
recognized American standards.
Supervisors.— Coal Mines Administrator to be guided by NLRB decisions.

The agreement was described by union officials as embodying “ the
greatest economic and social gains registered by the U M W A in a
single wage agreement since the birth of the union in 1890.” The
statement emphasized the health and welfare and mine safety pro­
grams and indicated that the carrying out of these provisions of the
agreement would “ give to American coal-mining communities the
economic and social parity they so richly deserve.”
Earnings Under N orm al H ours and Production

Average weekly earnings of bituminous-coal miners rose, as stated
above, from $23.88 in 1939 to $56.84 preceding the 1946 agreement.
The increase of 18.5 cents per hour under the 1946 agreement was

about 17 percent.*6 Assuming a continuation, during the early period
of operation of the 1946 agreement, of working time and other cir­
cumstances affecting earnings similar to those of the period from
November 1945 to March 1946, weekly earnings under the new agree­
ment would average about $66.50.
These estimates of weekly earnings are averages of part-time as
well as full-time earnings. They do not take account of certain
supplemental gains, such as paid vacations, improved safety stand­
ards, and the welfare and retirement fund. Earnings of workers
who are regularly able to work a full-time week exceed the general
average for all workers.
Underground workers in basic day occupations, paid $1 per hour
under the previous contract and $1,185 per hour under the 1946
contract at full time (54 hours per week, equivalent to 63.5 hours
at straight time), would earn about $75.25 per week. The 1946
agreement provided, however, for a 35-hour week as the standard
straight-time workweek. If the demand for coal should fall and the
supply of workers should remain comparatively large, it may be
assumed that the workweek would be reduced to 35 hours. In that
event, and in case there is no additional increase in wage rates, the
full-time earnings of workers in basic day occupations would fall
to about $41.50 per week, a decline of 45 percent from the above
estimate of $75.25.
Although the full-time workweek before the war was 35 hours, the
time actually worked averaged much below that figure. The 1939
average was 27.1 hours and the highest figure before that year and
after the adoption of the 35-hour week was 28.8 in 1936. A major
factor in the reduction of average hours of work below a full-time
workweek of 35 hours was the part-time operation of the mines.
The average number of days that the mines were worked in 1939
was 178, and between 1918 and 1940, as high as 200 in only the 4
years 1920, 1926, 1928, and 1929.
Postwar opportunities for the relatively adequate employment of
workers will be affected by a number of circumstances, notably by
demand for coal and the resulting volume of output. After the
exceptional reconversion and early postwar needs for coal have
been met, the levels of production, employment, hours, and weekly
earnings will be dependent mainly on three possible developments.
One of these will be the degree of success of the bituminous-coal
industry in competing with other fuels and sources of energy. In 1913,
according to estimates by the Bureau of Mines, bituminous coal
supplied 70.3 percent of total energy (expressed in terms of British
thermal units) from fuels and water power. Between 1918 and 1939
the ratio declined from 69.5 to 42.0 percent.7 Slight gains were made
between 1939 and 1942, but part of the gains were lost between 1942
and 1944.
A second factor that may have a significant bearing on postwar
opportunities for employment approaching full-time levels is the
• Straight-tine hourly earnings in the fall of 1945 averaged $1.07, and on this base the 18.5 cents gives an
increase of about 17 percent.
7 These percentages are based on a count of water power at a constant fuel equivalent of approximately 4
pounds per kilowatt-hour. W hen the fuel equivalent prevailing during the year is used (reflecting increasing
efficiency of fuel-burning central electric stations), the estimates for bituminous coal are 44.9 percent for
1939,51.4 percent for 1942, and 48.2 percent for 1944. The percentages on the basis of a constant fuel equivalent
are 42.0 for 1939, 47.6 for 1942, and 44.6 for 1944.

course of labor productivity. In the event of substantially constant
levels of production, increases in average man-hour output will entail
displacement of labor, at least in terms of man-hours. Increased
efficiency of production, however, may tend to strengthen the com­
petitive position of the industry and make possible emarged demand
and production or at least check the decline of production.
Outstanding in importance in the future of opportunities for employ­
ment and earnings in coal mining will be a third factor: the general
level of business activity and of opportunity for employment outside
of coal mining. High general levels of production and employment
will tend to maintain a large demand for coal and will at the same
time enable surplus coal miners or miners displaced by increased
productivity to find profitable work in other employments.