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U N IT E D S T A T E S D E P A R T M E N T O F L A B O R
Frances Perkins, Secretary
B U R E A U OF L A B O R ST A TIS TIC S
Isador Lubin, Commissioner

+

Earnings and Hours
in the H at Industries, 1939
+
P repared b y th e
D i v i s i o n o f W a g e a n d H o u r S t a tis tic s , B . L . S .
J. P E R L M A N , C h ie f

Bulletin I'lo. 671

U N IT E D ST A T E S
G O V E R N M E N T P R IN T IN G OFFICE
W A S H IN G T O N : 1939

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




Price 10 cents




CONTENTS
Page

Letter of transmittal------------------------------------------------------------------------Preface____________________________________________________________
Summary----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Scope of survey-------------------------------------------------------------------------------Methods of collecting and analyzing data--------------------------------------------Manufacture of fur-felt hats--------------------------------------------------------------Analysis of sample---------------------------------------------------------------------Composition of labor force---------------------------------------------------------Average hourly earnings_________________________________________
Variations by sex and skill----------------------------------------------------Variations by type of plant__________________________________
Earnings in relation to Fair Labor Standards Act______________
Occupational differences_____________________________________
Effect of overtime on hourlyearnings_________________________
Weekly hours__________________________________________________
Full-time hours_____________________________________________
Actual weekly hours------------------------------------------------------------Weekly earnings------------------------------------------------------------------------Manufacture of wool-felt hats------------------------------------------------------------Analysis of sample----------------------------------------------------------------- ___
Composition of labor force----------------------------------------------------------Average hourly earnings_________________________________________
Variations by sex and skill___________________________________
Variations by type of plant__________________________________
Earnings in relation to Fair Labor Standards Act______________
Occupational differences_____________________________________
Effect of overtime on hourlyearnings_________________________
Weekly hours__________________________________________________
Full-time hours_____________________________________________
Actual weekly hours-------------- --------------------------------------------Weekly earnings________________________________________________
Manufacture of straw hats----------------------------------------------------------------Analysis of sample---------------------------------------------------------------------Composition of labor force----------------------------------------------------------Average hourly earnings_________________________________________
Variations by sex and skill___________________________________
Variations by product_______________________________________
Earnings in relation to Fair Labor Standards Act______________
Occupational differences_____________________________________
Effect of overtime on hourlyearnings_________________________
Weekly hours__________________________________________________
Full-time hours_____________________________________________
Actual weekly hours________________________________________
Weekly earnings________________________________________________




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IV

CONTENTS
Page

Manufacture of hat materials----------------------------------------------------------------Analysis of sample------- ---------Composition of labor force-------------------------------------------------------------Average hourly earnings-----------------------------------------------------------------Variations by product------------Earnings in relation to Fair Labor Standards Act______________
Occupational differences_______________________________________
Effect of overtime on hourly earnings__________________________
Weekly hours______________________________________________________
Full-time hours________________________________________________
Actual weekly hours___________________________________________
Weekly earnings___________________________________________________




36
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Letter o f Transmittal

U

n it e d

States D
B

epartm ent

ureau

of

L

of

abor

L abor,
S t a t is t ic s ,

Washington, D. C., October 18, 1989.

The S
L
:
Transmitted herewith is a report on Earnings and Hours in the
Hat Industries, 1939. This study was made by the Division of Wage
and Hour Statistics of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
ecretary

Hon. F

of

abor

I sador L
rances




P e r k in s ,

Secretary of Labor.

u b in ,

Commissioner.




PREFACE
This is the first survey of earnings and hours in the hat industries
conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The survey was made
at the request of the Wage and Hour Division, in order to furnish
information for the use of Industry Committee No. 4, which was
appointed by the Wage and Hour Administrator to recommend mini­
mum wage rates under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards
Act.
In carrying on the field work and preparing the report the Bureau
followed its regular procedure for making such surveys. The Bureau
is also adhering strictly to its usual practice of respecting the con­
fidential nature of all data supplied by individual establishments.
The Bureau wishes to express its appreciation for the cordial coop­
eration given by the numerous employers who supplied the informa­
tion upon which this report is based. The organizations of both
employers and workers were also very helpful in giving much-needed
advice and in expediting the survey.
The survey was made under the supervision of J. Perlman, Chief
of the Division of Wage and Hour Statistics of the Bureau of
Labor Statistics. H. E. Riley was in charge of the survey, and was
assisted by Dorothy S. Smith.
I sador L

S eptem ber




15, 1939.

u b in ,

Commissioner oj Labor Statistics.
vn




Bulletin 7\[o. 671 o f the
U nited States Bureau o f Labor Statistics

Earnings and H ours in the H at Industries, 1939
Summary
The average hourly earnings of all wage earners in the fur-felt hat
industry amounted to 66.3 cents in the early part of 1939. Workers
in the wool-felt hat industry averaged 49.8 cents, while employees in
straw hat establishments earned 49.1 cents on the average, and work­
ers in plants manufacturing hat materials had average hourly earnings
of 55.2 cents.
Hourly earnings differ substantially between males and females
and among workers of various skills in each industry. In the furfelt hat industry, skilled males averaged 85.5 cents an hour, as com­
pared with 62.8 cents for skilled females. Among the semiskilled
workers the average was 58.6 cents for males and 48.8 cents for
females. Unskilled males averaged 42.3 cents, as against 38.6 cents
for unskilled females. No skilled females were employed in the
plants covered by the survey of the wool-felt hat industry. Hourly
earnings of skilled males averaged 66.3 cents. Among the semi­
skilled workers the averages were 48.6 cents for males and 43.2 cents
for females. For the unskilled employees the respective averages
were 41.7 and 40.3 cents.
Earnings in the straw hat industry averaged 74.7 cents an hour for
skilled males and 49.7 cents for skilled females. Among the semi­
skilled workers the respective averages were 45.5 cents and 40.9
cents. Unskilled males averaged 30.5 cents, as compared with 31.4
cents for unskilled females.
In the hat materials plants the earnings of males and females respec­
tively were 82.1 and 51.4 cents for skilled, 64.9 and 40.7 cents for
semiskilled, and 45.5 and 36.8 cents for unskilled workers.
The actual workweek averaged 37.2 hours in the fur-felt hat indus­
try, as compared with 39.0 hours in wool-felt hats, 41.2 hours in straw
hats, and 37.8 hours in plants producing hat materials.
Weekly earnings of all workers in the fur-felt hat industry averaged
$24.69. Employees of wool-felt hat plants averaged $19.46 a week,
while workers in straw hat establishments received $20.20 a week
and employees of hat materials plants averaged $20.89 a week.
This information was secured in a survey of the hat industry
recently completed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
1
184737°—39------2




Scope o f Survey
In determining the scope of this survey, the Bureau of Labor
Statistics followed the definition of the hat industries as adopted by
the Wage and Hour Administrator, which includes: “ (a) The manu­
facture from any material of headwear for men or boys, except caps
and cloth hats; (b) the manufacture of felt hat bodies from fur or wool
for men's, boys', women's, or children's hats; and (c) the manufacture
or processing of hatters' furs."
The principal products covered by this definition are fur- and woolfelt hats, men's sewed-braid and woven-body dress straw hats, harvest
and beach hats, silk and opera hats, and hatters' fur. A t the request
of the Wage and Hour Division, the Bureau's survey was extended to
include establishments making hat materials other than hatters' fur.
Accordingly, the report contains data on the manufacture of hat
leathers, linings, and bands, in addition to the items covered by the
above definition.
In other words, this report covers four industries manufacturing,
respectively, fur-felt hats, wool-felt hats (including bodies for men's,
women's, and children's hats and finished men's hats), men's straw
hats (including dress straw hats, harvest, and beach hats), and hat
materials.
It should be pointed out that these industries are distinct from each
other in many respects.
Thus, as between the wool-felt and fur-felt branches, the manufac­
turing processes vary to a considerable degree, requiring different
types of equipment. Furthermore, the greater part of the wool-felt
bodies are sold to the millinery trade, to be made into women's hats,
whereas a majority of the fur-felt bodies are used for men's hats.
Although a number of plants make both felt and straw hats, the
operations on the two products, with the occasional exception of trim­
ming, are invariably carried on in separate departments. As the
subsequent analysis reveals, straw-hat manufacture differs from other
types of hat production in nearly every important respect.
Likewise, the manufacture of hat materials bears little resemblance
to the processes in any of the hat industries. M ost of the hat ma­
terials are made in independent plants that specialize in these products.
Although some of the large companies process fur for their own use,
these operations are carried on in separate departments and may be
clearly distinguished from the hat-making processes.
In view of the distinctive characteristics exhibited by each of the
four industries covered by the survey, it appears that a combination
of the data might result only in obscuring important facts. Accord­
ingly, the earnings and hours figures for each industry have been
analyzed separately.
2




Methods o f Collecting and Analysing Data
In terms of wage earners, the survey covered approximately onehalf of the fur-felt hat industry and virtually 100 percent of the woolfelt hat, straw hat, and hat-materials industries.
The sample in the fur-felt branch was carefully selected to give
adequate representation with respect to all significant characteristics
of the industry, such as geographical location, size of plant, size of
community, corporate affiliation, and type of establishment. The
coverage included all of the large companies. In order to avoid
overweighting the sample with large companies, however, only onehalf of the employees in the fur-felt departments of their establish­
ments were included in the tabulation. This was done by taking a
50-percent cross section of each occupation and sex among the workers
in these departments.
The wages and hours data were copied from the company pay-roll
records by the Bureau field representatives, who also interviewed
plant officials to obtain additional information covering occupational
descriptions, employer-employee dealings, methods of wage payment,
etc. Furthermore, the plant supervisors in the various establish­
ments were asked to designate the degree of skill required in each
occupation. This information, together with detailed descriptions of
the several occupations, was used in making the skill classifications
given in this report. The data cover all occupations, including work­
ing supervisors and factory clerks, but exclude the central office
employees and higher plant supervisors. For each wage earner
scheduled, the Bureau obtained the occupational title, sex, color,1
method of wage payment, and number of hours actually worked and
total earnings during one pay-roll period.2
A pay-roll period in the months of February and March was taken
for the great majority of the fur- and wool-felt hat factories and hatmaterials establishments. The data for a majority of the plants
making straw hats covered a pay-roll period in February, March,
or April.
The Fair Labor Standards Act provides that employees working in
excess of 44 hours per week shall receive time and a half for overtime.8
In obtaining the data, the earnings at regular rates of pay were sep­
arated from the extra overtime earnings. The hourly and weekly
i

T h e nu m ber of colored workers w as not sufficient to ju stify separate tabulation.

s In case the pay-roll period exceeded 1 w eek, the schedule also show ed the nu m ber of hours w orked during
1 continuous week w ith in the pay-roll period.

W ith this inform ation, the B ureau was able to present

w eekly hours, as w ell as to com p ute w eek ly earnings, for all em ployees.
8

Som e of the establishm ents covered b y the survey paid extra rates for tim e worked bey on d 40 hours per

w eek.




3

4

EARNINGS AND HOURS IN H AT INDUSTRIES

earnings used in this report are based on regular rates only. This
method of presentation, which is contrary to the usual Bureau prac­
tice, was necessitated by the fact that the data are to be used by the
Wage and Hour Division in connection with minimum-wage recom­
mendations. As a subsequent analysis shows, however, the exclusion
of extra earnings for overtime changed the averages only slightly.




Manufacture o f FuivFelt Hats
Analysis o f Sample
According to the Census of Manufactures, the fur-felt hat industry
in 1937 included 140 establishments having an annual product valued
at $5,000 or more. The average monthly employment in these plants
during the year amounted to 15,926 wage earners.
It was the intention of the Bureau in making the survey to include
50 percent of the industry, taking only plants employing over 20 wage
earners. According to the Census of Manufactures, there were 91
establishments with 15,488 workers in this category in 1937. The
coverage of the survey, however, included 52 plants and 7,182 wage
earners. It will be observed that this is more than 50 percent of the
establishments but less than one-half of the workers reported by the
census. The difference in number of plants covered is due primarily
to the fact that the survey included all of the large establishments,
taking approximately one-half of the employees in each one, as
previously mentioned. In terms of wage earners, the sample included
46.4 percent of the total shown by the Census of Manufactures for
plants having over 20 wage earners in 1937. The index of employment
in the fur-felt hat industry, as compiled by the Bureau of Labor
Statistics, indicates that the number of wage earners in the industry
declined by 12.5 percent between 1937 and the first quarter of 1939.
Considering this as well as other factors involved, it would seem that
the survey included about 50 percent of the wage earners employed
in the industry during the period covered.
The fur-felt hat industry has three types of establishments, namely,
independent rough-body plants (back shops), independent finishing
plants (front shops), and integrated plants. In the back shop are per­
formed operations involved in producing the rough hat bodies. These
are sold to the front shops in which the rough body receives the
finishing operations. The integrated establishments combine both
back- and front-shop operations.
The integrated group is represented in the survey by 13 establish­
ments, in which 3,803 wage earners were scheduled, or 53.0 percent of
the total coverage. | Outstanding among the integrated plants are
some fairly large companies, whose products include nearly every item
covered by the industry definition. In addition to the output of men’s
fur-felt hats, for which they are best known, several of the integrated
establishments make women’s fur-felt hats and account for a large
proportion of the production of sewed-braid and woven-body dress
straw hats. Several integrated plants also process hatters’ fur and
some make their own sweat bands, linings, and other trimmings. Most




*

6

EARNINGS AND HOURS IN H AT INDUSTRIES

of the output of the back-shop departments in integrated establish­
ments is consumed by their own front shops, although many of the
smaller companies sell a substantial proportion of their products as
rough hats. On the other hand, the integrated establishments may
occasionally buy bodies in the market to supplement the output of
their own back shops.
The survey covered 9 independent fur-felt back shops, employing
1,101 wage earners. The products of these plants include rough bodies
for both men’s and women’s hats. The remainder of the coverage
consisted of 2,278 wage earners, employed in 28 independent front
shops and 2 fur-felt finishing departments in plants engaged primarily
in making straw hats. These establishments purchase their basic raw
materials in the form of rough hat bodies, most of which come from
the independent back shops. Some of the smaller shops in this group,
as previously noted, also process made-over hats.
Silk and opera hats were included in the survey, but the wage earn­
ers employed in the manufacture of these products were too few to
justify the presentation of separate figures. Moreover, the operations
in silk- and opera-hat manufacture differ to such an extent from those
employed on other types of hats that the data could not be combined
with any other figures, and figures for silk and opera hats are therefore
not given in this report.
The survey also included some figures covering the processing (i. e.,
cleaning, reblocking, and trimming) of made-over fur-felt hats, for
resale. Here again the number of workers in these activities was too
small for separate tabulation. However, as most of the made-over-hat
plants are also engaged in finishing hats from purchased rough bodies,
they have all been included with the fur-felt finishing shops.
As shown by table 1, the leading States in fur-felt hat manufacture
are Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. The
geographical distribution of the industry varies, however, for the
different types of establishments. Thus, virtually all of the inte­
grated plants are found in Connecticut and Pennsylvania. Likewise,
Connecticut contains most of the independent back shops. Thus,
most of the fur-felt hat bodies used by the men’s hat and millinery
industries are made in these two States. Because of the concentra­
tion of integrated plants, Connecticut and Pennsylvania are also
foremost in the finishing of men’s fur-felt hats. Nevertheless, a sub­
stantial proportion of the independent front-shop operations is found
in other areas, particularly in and near the New York metropolitan
district. Some of the independent front shops are also scattered
throughout the country, nearly every geographical region being
represented in the total.
M ost of the fur-felt hat plants are located in large metropolitan
areas. One-half of the 52 establishments covered by the survey, with




7

MANUFACTURE OF FUR-FELT HATS

over half (52.9 percent) of the workers scheduled, were found in places
of over 1,000,000 population.4 There were 10 plants, with 15.2 per­
cent of the workers, scattered in communities ranging from 100,000
to 1,000,000, while 16 establishments and 31.9 percent of the wage
earners were in places of under 50,000 population. Virtually all of
the plants in the latter group were found in the Danbury-Bethel area
of Connecticut.
T

a b l e

1.—

Coverage o f su rvey in fu r -fe lt hat in d u s tr y , b y S ta te , 1 9 8 9

W ork ers
State

N u m b e r of
plants
N um ber

Percentage
o f total

All Rt.fl.tfis

52

7,182

100.0

C onnecticut__________________________________________________________
M assach usetts________________________________________________________
N e w Jersey___________________________________________________________
N e w Y o r k ___________________________________________________________
P en n sylvan ia,
_____
.
_ ___
Othfir Rtatfis 1

17
3
6
13
4
9

3,131
361
677
748
1,676
589

43. 7
5 .0
9 .4
10.4
23.3
8 .2

* Includes 1 plan t each in the States of California, Ind ian a, K e n tu c k y , M a r y la n d , M in n e so ta , Texas,
and W ash in gton , and 2 in M issouri.

As measured by total employment, the fur-felt hat plants included
in the survey varied widely, some having over 1,000 workers. None
of the integrated plants had fewer than 50 employees, and all but 4
of the 13 establishments employed over 250 wage earners. Among
the independent plants, the back shops w
~ere on the average considera­
bly larger than the front shops. Thus, on the basis of the number of
employees working on fur-felt hats only, the back shops averaged 122
workers, as compared with 76 workers in the front shops. In both
groups there were a few establishments that had over 500 employees.
In some of these plants, however, most of the workers were engaged
primarily in making other products, such as straw or wool-felt hats.
Trade-union organization is quite extensive in the fur-felt hat
industry. Of the 52 establishments covered by the survey, 23, in
which 3,220 wage earners were scheduled, had agreements with the
United Hatters, Cap, and Millinery Workers’ International Union,
which is the only labor organization in the industry. The union is
industrial in character, including virtually all of the direct occupations,
and is affiliated with the American Federation of Labor.
Com position o f Labor Force
Over three-fourths (77.7 percent) of the workers in the fur-felt hat
industry, as a whole, are males. Skilled workers constituted 47.6
percent of the labor force, while about two-fifths (38.5 percent) were
* T h e m etropolitan area, as used in this survey, includes not on ly the population of the principal political
subdivisions b u t also that of nearby areas that form part of the sam e labor m arket.




EARNINGS AND HOURS IN HAT INDUSTRIES

8

in semiskilled occupations and over one-eighth (13.9 percent) were
classed as unskilled employees (table 2).
The distribution of workers by sex and skill varies to a marked
degree, however, between the back shops and the front shops. The
felting, blocking, and pouncing operations, which make up most of
the back-shop processes, require considerable physical effort and in­
volve continuous exposure to high temperatures, dust, and hot water.
As most of these jobs are unsuitable for women, very few are employed
in the back shops; women formed only 2.0 percent of the labor force
in integrated, and 3.7 percent in independent back shops.
Not only are many of the hat body-making operations heavy and
disagreeable, but they also require a high degree of skill. Over threefifths of the workers (63.0 percent in integrated and 61.4 percent in
independent back shops) were classed as skilled. The proportions of
semiskilled and unskilled workers were about equal in the integrated
back shops. In the independent back shops, however, only 15.3
percent of the workers were semiskilled, while 23.3 percent were in
unskilled occupations.
Although a majority of the front-shop employees are men, substan­
tial proportions of women are employed, especially for the various
operations in hat trimming. As shown by table 2, about one-third
of the front-shop employees are women, the proportions amounting
to 33.6 percent in the integrated and 37.6 percent in the independent
establishments.
T

a b l e

2 .—

D istrib u tio n o f workers covered in su rvey o f fu r -fe lt hat in d u s try, b y typ e
o f plant, skill, and sex, 1 9 3 9

A ll workers

Sem iskilled
workers

Skilled workers

U nskilled
workers

T y p e of plant
T o ta l M a le

F e­
T o ta l
m ale

M a le

F e­
T o ta l
m ale

A ll p la n ts...................................
B ack sh o p s____________
Front shops......................

7,182
2,910
4, 272

5,578
2,833
2,745

1,604
77
1,527

3,420
1,817
1,603

3,247
1,817
1,430

173

Integrated p la n ts...................
B a n k shnps . _
_
Front shops____________

3,803
1,809
1,994

3,097
1,773
1, 324

706
36
670

1,839
1,141
698

1,761
1,141
620

Independent back sh o p s..
Independent front s h o p s ..

1,101
2,278

1,060
1,421

41
857

676
905

676
810

M a le

Fe­
T o ta l M a le
m ale

F e­
m ale

2,765
511
2,254

1,517
497
1,020

1,248
14
1,234

997
682
415

814
519
295

183
63
120

78

1,380
343
1,037

861
341
520

519
2
517

584
325
259

475
291
184

109
34
75

95

168
1,217

156
500

12
717

257
156

228
111

29
45

173

78

Percentage distribution

A ll plants...................................
B ack shops____________
Front shops......................

100.0
100.0
100.0

77.7
9 7 .4
6 4.3

22.3
2 .6
35.7

47.6
6 2 .4
37.5

45.2
6 2 .4
33.5

4 .0

3 8.5
17.6
5 2.8

21.1
17.1
23 .9

17.4
.5
28.9

13.9
20 .0
9 .7

11.4
17.9
6 .9

2 .5
2 .1
2 .8

Integrated p la n ts...................
B ack sh o p s. ....................
Front shops......................

100.0
100.0
100.0

8 1.4
98 .0
6 6 .4

18.6
2 .0
3 3 .6

48.4
63.0
35.0

46.3
2 .1
_
63.0 _
31.1
3 .9

3 6 .2
19.0
5 2.0

22.6
18.9
26.1

13.6
.1
25.9

1 5.4
18.0
13.0

12.5
16.1
9 .2

2 .9
1 .9
3 .8

In d ep en d en t back s h o p s ..
Ind epen dent front s h o p s ..

100.0
100.0

96 .3
6 2 .4

3 .7
3 7.6

61.4
39.8

61.4
35.6

15.3
53.4

14.2
21.9

1.1
31.5

23.3
6 .8

2 0 .7
4 .9

2 .6
1 .9




2 .4

4 .2

9

MANUFACTURE OF FUR-FELT HATS

Over one-half (52.8 percent) of the employees in the finishing plants
were classed as semiskilled, while nearly two-fifths (37.5 percent) were
skilled and one-tenth (9.7 percent) were unskilled workers. How­
ever, the skill distribution varied considerably between the two
sexes. Of the total males, 52.1 percent were skilled, 37.2 percent
semiskilled, and 10.7 percent unskilled. On the other hand, only
11.3 percent of all females were skilled and 7.9 percent were unskilled,
while 80.8 percent were in semiskilled occupations.
Average H ou rly Earnings
Piece workers were found in every fur-felt hat plant covered by the
survey. For the industry as a whole, 57.7 percent of the employees
scheduled were paid on a straight piece-rate basis. The number of
employees under production-bonus system was relatively small,
namely 4.3 percent of the total, as this method of wage payment was
in effect in only three establishments. The principal direct occupa­
tions were usually on straight piece rates, while supervisors, helpers,
and indirect workers were paid straight-time rates.

T a b l e 3 .—

P ercentage distribution o f fu r -fe lt hat w ork ers , b y average hourly ea rnings,
skill, and sex , 1 9 8 9

A ll workers
Average hourly
earnings
(in cents)
Total

M a le

F e­
m ale

100.0

100.0

100.0

and
and
and
and
and
and

under 110.0_____
under 1 20.0_____
under 130.0_____
u n d e r 1 4 0 . 0 ____
under 1 5 0 . 0 ____
ove r_____________

0 .3
4 .0
1 .5
1 .8
2 .9
1 .8
5 .7
2 .4
4 .7
7.1
7 .1
8 .3
11.6
7 .5
4.1
4 .5
4 .0
3 .4
7 .0
2 .8

0. 2
4 .3
1 .6
2 .8
3 .4
3 .3
6 .4
6 .6
7 .4
11.9
12.7
9 .0
10.1
8 .0
3 .8
3 .8
1 .6
1 .0
.4
.7

1.3

.1

.2

.2

.6

.1
0)
.1

.1
.1
.3

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

.1

T o ta l................................ 100.0

100.0
110.0
120.0
130.0
140.0
150.0

0. 3
4 .1
1.5
2 .3
3.1
2 .5
6 .0
4 .3
5 .9
9 .4
9 .7
8 .6
11.1
7 .7
3 .9
4 .2
2 .9
2 .3
4 .0
1 .8
3 .2
.8

0 .6
_
1.7
.6
1 .2
4 .0
1 .7
4 .6
9 .2
5 .2
8 .7
15.1
9 .2
8 .1
5 .8
4 .6
5 .8
2 .3
5 .2
4 .0
1 .2
.6

4 .7
5. 2
4 .3
6.1
5 .7
7 .8
3 .3
1 .5
.8
.4
.7

9 2 5 a n d u n d e r 100 0

F e­
m ale

0)
(0
0 .1
.3
.2
.7
.4
.8
1 .6
2 .5
3 .8
5 .3
5 .1
8 .0
6 .4
8 .7
7 .2
10.1
10.8
14.5
6 .6
3 .1
1 .6
.8
1 .4

0 .1
0)
.1
.4
.2
.9
.4
1 .0
2 .0
2 .7
4 .1
5 .8
5 .4
8 .0
6 .4
8 .5
7.1
9 .6
10.5
13.8
6 .3
3 .0
1. 5
.8
1 .4

5.5

M a le

M a le

0 .8
4 .2
1 .4
2 .5
3 .6
2 .9
7 .6
5 .9
8 .4
12.5
10.9
8 .2
10.1
7 .3
3 .8
3 .7
1 .7
1 .4
.6
1.1
.8
.2
.2
.1

0. 3
2 .6
.7
1 .2
1.7
1.4
5 .3
2 .8
5 .6
6 .3
6 .7
6 .0
7 .4
6 .0

U nskilled workers

T o ta l

F e­
m ale

T o ta l

0. 2
2.1
.5
.8
1.2
.9
4 .7
1 .9
4 .7
4 .5
5 .4
5 .4
6 .7
5 .6
6 .0
5 .0
6 .2
5.1
7 .7
7 .0
9 .9
4 .2
1 .9
1 .0
.5
.9

U nder 2 5 . 0 ........................ ..
E x actly 2 5 .0 .............................
25.1 and under 27 .5 ............ .
27. 5 and under 3 0 .0_............
3 0.0 and under 3 2 .5 ............
3 2 .5 and under 3 5 .0 -----------3 5.0 and under 37. 5_______
3 7.5 and under 4 0 .0 ............4 0 .0 an d under 4 2 .5 ............ ..
4 2.5 and under 4 7 .5 ..............
47. 5 and under 5 2 .5__..........
52. 5 and under 5 7 .5 _______
57.5 and under 6 2 .5 _______
62. 5 and under 6 7 .5 ..........__
6 7 . 5 and under 7 2 . 5 _______
72. 5 and under 7 7 . 5 _______
77. 5 and under 8 2 . 5 _______
8 2.5 and under 8 7 .5 _______
87.5 and under 9 2 . 5 _______

Semiskilled
workers

Skilled workers

5.5

T o ta l

M ale

1 .7
6 .8
.5
1 .9
2 .4
2 .1
18.6
6 .5
20 .4
12.5
12.1
5 .7
3 .5
3 .1
1 .2
.6
.2
.1

0 .9
6 .8
.4
2 .1
1 .2
2 .2
18.4
6 .9
2 0 .4
11.1
13.9
6 .4
3 .1
3 .7
1 .5
.6
.2
.1

.2
.2

.1

.1

100.0

100.0

100.0

F e­
m ale

5 .5
7 .1
1 .1
1.1
7 .8
1 .6
19.1
4 .9
19.1
19.1
4 .4
2 .7
5 .5

.5

.5

.5

100.0

i Less than Ho of 1 percent.
Individual hourly earnings covered a wide range, as the effective
limits of the distribution shown in table 3 are 25 cents and $1.20 an
hour. In fact, the data were so widely dispersed that virtually no
184737°— 39-------3




EARNINGS AND HOURS IN HAT INDUSTRIES

10

central tendency is evident. Thus, the 5-cent interval having the
largest concentration (37.5 to 42.5 cents) contained but 8.4 percent
of the workers, while from about 4 to 7 percent of the wage earners
were found in each 5-cent class from 42.5 to 92.5 cents. There was a
minor concentration (2.6 percent) at exactly 25 cents. The propor­
tion averaging under 35 cents amounted to only 7.9 percent of the
total. About one-seventh (14.5 percent) of the workers received
$1 and over, but only 3.4 percent averaged $1.20 and over.
Variations by Sex and Skill
The wide dispersion of hourly earnings in the fur-felt hat industry
is partly a reflection of variations in earnings by sex and skill. The
male employees (who make up over three-fourths of the labor force)
averaged 71.2 cents an hour, as against only 49.1 cents for the females
(table 4). Among the males, the skilled workers averaged 85.5
cents, as compared with 58.6 cents for the semiskilled and 42.3 cents
for the unskilled employees. Of the females, the relatively numerous
semiskilled workers averaged 48.8 cents, as against 62.8 cents and 38.6
cents, respectively, for the small number of skilled and unskilled
employees.
T

a b l e

4. —

A verag e h ou rly earnings in fu r -fe lt hat in d u s try , b y typ e o f pla n t , skill,
and sex, 1 9 8 9

A ll workers

Skilled workers

Semiskilled
workers

T y p e of plan t
T o ta l

M a le

F e­
T o ta l
m ale

M a le

Fe­
T o ta l
m ale

M a le

U nskilled workers

Fe­

m ale

T o ta l

M a le

F e­
m ale

A ll p lan ts................................... $0.663 $0. 712 $0.491 $0,843 $0.855 $0,628 $0,543 $0. 586 $0.488 $0.417 $0.423 $0.386
,
.758
.767
.907
.642
B ack shops.....................
.405
.907
.638
.438
.443
.396
.603
.778
F ront shops............. ..
.660
.496
.796
.628
.561
.488
.523
.388
.391
.381

0)

Integrated p la n ts...................
B ack sh o p s____________
Front shops........... ..........

.734
.785
.691

.776
.792
.757

.546
.432
.552

.909
.928
.880

.918
.928
.902

.697

.634
.660
.626

.686
.661
.699

.547

.455
.458
.451

.4 5 8
. 461
.452

.441
.428
.446

In d epen den t back s h o p s ..
Ind epen dent front s h o p s ..

.714
.5 2 9

.572

.726

.380
.453

.872
.699

.872
.714 " ’ .'575

.597
.438

.607
.425

0)
.448

.412
.293

.419
.2 9 8

.358
.2 8 0

.697

.546

(i)

* N u m b e r of workers not sufficient to justify com putation of an average.

A striking feature of the distributions by skill and sex is the large
concentration of skilled males in the upper earnings brackets. Thus,
nearly one-half (48.9 percent) of the workers in this group earned 87.5
cents or more an hour. In comparison, the proportion receiving 87.5
cents or more amounted to 13.9 percent for the skilled females and
17.3 percent for the semiskilled males, while for the semiskilled
females and the unskilled workers of both sexes the number was
negligible. The contrast in the lower wage brackets was equally
striking. Among the skilled workers, less than 1 percent of the
qiales and qnly 4.1 percent of the females averaged under 35 cents an




MANUFACTURE OF FUR-FELT HATS

11

hour. On the other hand, the proportions in that category included
12.3 percent of the semiskilled males, 15.6 percent of the semiskilled
females, 13.6 percent of the unskilled males, and 24.2 percent of the
unskilled females.
Variations by Type of Plant

The differences in average hourly earnings between back shops
and front shops shown in table 4 are partly explained by variations in
the composition of the labor force. As previously pointed out, a
very high proportion of the employees in back shops were males,
whereas a substantial number of females were employed in the front
shops. In addition, skilled workers make up a much higher percentage
of the working force in back shops than in front shops.
Even on the basis of skill and sex groups, hourly earnings are usually
higher in the back shops than in the front shops. This is especially
true of the independent establishments.6 It may be explained partly by
the fact that work in the back shops is somewhat more arduous than
in the front shops, as pointed out before.
In the integrated establishments, skilled males averaged 92.8 cents
an hour in back shops, as compared with 90.2 cents in front shops, a
difference of 2.6 cents. For unskilled males, the respective averages
are 46.1 and 45.2 cents, which is a difference of only 0.9 cent. In
each case, the difference between the averages in the back and front
shops is considerably less for integrated than for independent estab­
lishments. Furthermore, the averages of some skill-sex groups in
the integrated establishments are found to be higher in the front
shops than in the back shops. The semiskilled males, for example,
averaged 69.9 cents in the front shops, as against 66.1 cents in the
back shops. Likewise, the unskilled females received 44.6 cents in
the front shops, as compared with 42.8 cents in the back shops. The
somewhat different situation in integrated as compared with inde­
pendent establishments is probably due to variations in plant organi­
zation. Thus, it was found in some cases that the integrated plants
carried on certain activities in their front shops that are ordinarily part
of the back-shop operations in independent establishments. Such a
practice would naturally tend to bring about an equality of hourly
earnings as between back and front shops of integrated establishments.
Comparison of the averages as between integrated and independent
establishments shows that in every case the figure is higher in the
former than in the latter for both back and front shops. The highest
averages are shown for the back shops in integrated establishments.
The average hourly earnings in integrated front shops, moreover, are
not only higher than those in independent front shops, but they also
• T h e average in these plants for all females is higher in the front shops than in the back shops.

T h is is

du e to the fact that the front shops em p loy a large nu m ber of skilled and semiskilled females, whereas
virtu ally all of the females in back shops are in unskilled occupations.




12

EARNINGS AND HOURS IN

HAT INDUSTRIES

exceed the averages of the independent back shops for each skill-sex
group.6 These differences are probably due to the fact that the
integrated plants are relatively much larger than the independent
establishments. This aspect of the analysis cannot be developed in
greater detail because of the limited amount of data.
Table 5 shows the distributions of hourly earnings for all wage
earners by type of plant.7
T able 5.— Percentage distribution of fu r-felt hat workers, by average hourly earnings
and by type o f plant, 1989

A ll plants

Integrated plants

Ind epen dent
plants

A verage hou rly earnings
T o ta l

U nder 25.0 cen ts_____________________ ___________
E x a c tly 25.0 cen ts_____ _______________ ________ __
25.1 and under 27.5 cen ts_______________________
27.5 and under 30.0 cen ts............... ...........................
30.0 and under 32.5 c e n ts ...........................................
32.5 and under 35.0 cen ts....................................... ..
35.0 and under 37.5 cen ts...........................................
37.5 and under 40.0 cen ts...........................................
40.0 and under 42.5 cen ts...........................................
4 2 .5 and under 47.5 cen ts......................................
47.5 and under 52.5 cen ts.........................................52.5 and under 57.5 cen ts............... ............................
57. 5 and under 62.5 cen ts.
_______ ___________
62.5 and under 67.5 c e n t s ........................................
67.5 and under 72.5 cen ts..................... .....................
72.5 and under 77.5 c e n t s .. .......................................
77.5 and under 82.5 c e n ts.............. ....................... ..
82.5 and under 87.5 cen ts------- -------- ------------------87.5 and under 92.5 cen ts________ _______________
92.5 and under 100.0 c e n t s ................................... ..
100.0 and under 110.0 c e n t s .. _____ ____________
110.0 and under 120.0 ce n ts.......................... ............
120.0 and under 130.0 ce n ts.......................................
130.0 and under 140.0 c e n t s ..--------- ------------------140.0 and under 150.0 cen ts_____________________
150.0 cents and o v e r................. ..................... ...............

0 .3
2 .6
.7
1 .2
1 .7
1 .4
5 .3
2 .8
5 .6
6 .3
6 .7
6 .0
7 .4
6 .0
5 .5
4 .7
5 .2
4 .3
6. 1
5 .7
7 .8
3 .3
1 .5
.8
.4
.7

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

100.0

B ack
shops

F ron t
shops

T o ta l

0 .3
.4
.4
4 .8
2 .3
4 .8
5 .2
5 .4
4 .8
6 .5
4 .5
5 .8
4 .9
7 .3
5 .5
5. 5
8 .5
11.8
5 .1
2 .6
1.4
.8
1 .4

0 .6
4 .3
1.1
1 .8
2 .6
2 .0
5 .7
3 .1
6 .0
7 .0
7 .5
6 .9
8 .2
7 .0
5 .3
4 .6
3 .8
3 .5
6 .6
3 .8
5 .1
2 .1
.7
.3
.1
.3

0 .1
.1
.3
.5
.3
4 .0
1 .7
5 .9
5 .9
6 .1
6 .0
8 .4
5 .9
5 .1
4 .8
5 .9
4 .7
8 .1
6 .8
10.2
4 .3
2.1
1 .2
.7
.9

100.0

100. c

100.0

0)

B ack
shops

0.1

F ront
shops

B ack
shops

.1
.1
.1
3 .5
1.3
5.1
5 .7
4 .6
5 .3
6 .5
3 .5
5 .6
4 .7
7 .8
5 .2
5 .8
9 .1
12.8
5 .6
2 .9
1 .9
1.1
1 .6

0 .1
.2
.5
.8
.5
4 .4
2 .0
6 .6
6 .2
7 .5
6 .6
10.1
8 .1
4 .6
5 .0
4 .2
4 .2
10.1
4 .8
7 .9
3 .1
1.3
.6
.3
.3

0 .7
.9
.9
6 .8
4 .1
4 .4
4 .4
6 .6
4 .0
6 .4
6 .1
6 .0
5 .2
6 .4
5 .9
5 .0
7 .6
10.6
4 .2
2 .0
.6
.2
1 .0

100.0

100.0

100.0

Front
shops

1 .1
7 .8
2 .0
3 .0
4 .2
3 .4
6 .8
4 .0
5 .5
7 .8
7 .6
7 .1
6 .4
6 .0
6 .0
4 .3
3 .4
2 .9
3 .3
2 .9
2 .7
1.1
.3
.1
.3
100.0

1 Less than Ho of 1 percent.

Earnings in Relation to Fair Labor Standards Act

A 25-cent minimum hourly wage rate for establishments engaged
in interstate commerce became effective on October 24, 1938,
under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. This mini­
mum will be advanced to 30 cents on October 24, 1939. The act
further provides means by which the minimum may be raised in the
meantime to a level not exceeding 40 cents an hour.
• T h e average hourly earnings of all workers ir integrated front shops were slightly lower than the average
for all em ployees of independent back shops.

T h is is due to the fact that the labor force in the independent

back shops contained a high proportion of skilled workers, m ost of w h om are m ales, whereas the integrated
front shops em p lo y a substantial nu m ber of semiskilled workers and females.

7 A lthough som e geographical differences m a y exist, a detailed examination of the data indicates that ty p e
of plan t is probably m ore im portant th an m ere geographical location.

I t should be pointed out that on ly a

sm all portion of the indu stry is located ir the South.
A n analysis of the original data shows that average hourly earnings were u su ally highei in the plants having
union agreements than in those w ith ou t such contracts.

Because of the lim ited nu m ber ol establishm ents in

the indu stry, it is im possible to present the data supporting this conclusion.




MANUFACTURE OF FUR-FELT HATS

13

As indicated in table 3, the number of workers receiving less than
the 25-cent minimum was insignificant, amounting to only 0.3 percent
of the total labor force. There was, however, a definite grouping at
exactly 25 cents an hour, which is limited to the semiskilled and
unskilled workers, among whom the proportion receiving this wage
ranged from 4.0 percent for the semiskilled males to 7.1 percent for
the unskilled females.
The industry apparently will have little difficulty in meeting the
30-cent minimum, as indicated by the fact that only 4.8 percent of
the workers are now averaging less than that figure. The effects of
this minimum will also be confined almost entirely to the semiskilled
and unskilled workers, of whom the proportions averaging under 30
cents amounted to 8.2 and 10.9 percent, respectively.
The number of workers paid under 40 cents an hour amounted to
about one-sixth (16.0 percent) of the total labor force. Relatively
few of the skilled workers averaged under this figure, the proportions
being 1.7 percent of the males and 9.8 percent of the females. Among
the semiskilled and unskilled employees a very substantial percent­
age had average hourly earnings of less than 40 cents, the proportions
ranging from 20.4 percent for semiskilled males to 48.2 percent for
unskilled females.
The number of workers averaging under 30 cents an hour was signif­
icant only in the independent front shops, in which 13.9 percent of
the employees earned less than that figure. The proportion of workers
averaging under 40 cents was 7.0 percent in integrated plants, 13.4
percent in independent back shops, and 32.3 percent in the independ­
ent front shops.
Occupational Differences

Average hourly earnings by occupation, as presented in table 6,
ranged from $1,087 for skilled male blockers in the back shops to 37.8
cents for the group of females in miscellaneous unskilled direct occu­
pations.
Among the skilled males, the finishers, who compose the largest
occupational group in the fur-felt hat industry, averaged 78.4 cents
an hour. The lowest average for this skill-sex group was received by
the inspectors in the back shops, who earned 74.3 cents. It will be
noted that the hourly earnings of a number of the skilled occupations
exceeded the average for foremen, who received only 88.6 cents.
The few skilled females included only forewomen and leather
inserters, who averaged respectively 55.6 cents and 64.5 cents. The
lower average for forewomen is due largely to the fact that these
workers combined supervisory duties with various types of semiskilled
operations. Hence, their hourly earnings are comparable with those
of the higher-paid semiskilled women.




14

EARNINGS AND HOURS IN HAT INDUSTRIES

The average hourly earnings of semiskilled males ranged from 69.5
cents for multiroller operators, who constitute the largest occupation
in this group, to 47.8 cents for ironers. It will be observed that the
front-shop pouncers and slickers, who were classed as semiskilled,
averaged considerably less than the skilled back-shop pouncers (65.5
cents as compared with 95.7 cents an hour). Likewise, the hourly
earnings of the skilled back-shop blockers were almost double the
average for the semiskilled front-shop blockers.
T

a b l e

6 .—

Average hourly earnings, weekly hours, and weekly earnings o f fu r-felt
hat workers, hy skill, sex, and occupation, 1939

Skill, sex, and occupation

N u m b e r of
workers

Average
hourly
earnings

Average
w eekly
hours

Average
w eekly
earnings

Skilled workers
M a le s:
“ A ” and “ B ” m achine operators ___________________
269
____ ________________________ ________
Blockers, back sh o p
244
C oners. .................. ..................... ....................... ...........................
173
F in is h e r s .--.................................................. ..................................
965
Flangers______________________ _____ ______________________
250
Forem en, w orking______________________________________
123
H ardeners_______ I ___________________ _______________ ____
158
inspectors, back sh op ___________________________________
49
Inspectors, front sh o p ___________________________ _______
72
Pouncers, back shop*._______________________ _____ _____
171
8 ta r te r s._ _____ ______________________________ _____ _______
586
M iscellaneous, direct............... ........ ................... .....................
84
M iscellaneous, indirect_________ ________ _____ _________
113
Fem ales:
F orew om en. _________________________ _________ _________
31
Leather inserters________________________________________
142

$0.761
1.087
.9 8 2
.784
.781
.886
.969
. 743
.854
.957
.8 9 3
.798
.825

35.7
33.0
33.2
37.3
37.8
42.3
33.3
38.1
40.0
35.0
32.9
40.1
43.2

$27.17
35.92
32. 62
29. 21
29.54
37.48
32. 25
28.27
34.19
33.54
29. 35
32.03
35. 62

.556
.645

40.2
36.8

22.36
23. 72

145
80
65
73
146
326
99
254
55
41
154
79

.546
.573
.587
.546
.478
.6 9 5
.489
.655
. 566
.576
. 536
.578

3 8 .8
39. 3
42. 6
4 0.2
39.9
32. 4
4 1.6
37.9
40.3
40.3
41.3
44.7

21.17
22.52
24.98
21.98
19.10
22. 50
20.34
24.80
22.82
23.24
22.11
25.86

127
70
65
136
36
645
56
113

.541
.509
. 533
.491
.587
.474
.466
. 457

36.8
36.6
35.3
34.3
32.1
36.4
40.1
4 2 .0

19.89
18.59
18.83
16.85
18.86
17.26
18.69
19.19

75
65
204
83
101
51
174
61

.412
.509
.396
.395
. 432
.421
.429
.444

41.3
40.5
41.2
35. 4
36.8
49.5
3 9 .6
41. 2

17. 00
20.64
16.30
14.01
15.88
20. 82
16.99
18. 31

52
59
72

.3 8 9
.3 9 4
.378

39. 7
35.0
3 8 .2

15. 46
13. 78
14.42

Semiskilled workers
M a les:
Blockers, front shop_____________________________________
B rim curlers_____________________________________________
Olerks, factory___________________________________________
F u r blowers and m ixers. __________ __________________
Ironers____________ . _______________________ ____________
M ultiroller operators___________________________________
P a ck ers............................................................................................
Pouncers and slickers, front s h o p . . __________________
R oun ders________________________________ ____ _____ _____
_____________ ______________________
Stiffeners____ _____
M iscellaneous, direct_____________________ __________ ___
Miscellaneous, indirect_________________________________
Fem ales:
B inders...............................................................................................
Leather fitters____________________________ _______________
Leather joiners and bow t a c k e r s _____ _______ ________
Lin in g inserters_____________________ ___________________
m akers___________________________________________
T r im m e rs.. . _______________________________ _____ _______
W e lte rs......................... ........................................... .........................
M iscellaneous, direct______________________________ ____

Lining

Unskilled workers
M a le s:
D y e-room attendants___________________________________
D ye-room helpers_____ __________________________________
Floor workers______ _____________________________________
Form ing-m achine feeders______________________________
Sizers’ helpers___________________________________________
W a tc h m e n ________ ______________________________________
M iscellaneous, direct___________________________________
Miscellaneous, indirect_________________________________
Fem ales:
Floor workers _ ______ ___________________________________
Form ing-m achine feeders_______________________________
M iscellaneous, direct___________________________________




MANUFACTURE OF FUR-FELT HATS

15

The trimmers, who averaged 47.4 cents an hour, were the most
important of the semiskilled females, and make up, in fact, the second
largest occupational group in the industry. The highest hourly
earnings in this skill-sex group were received by the small group of
lining makers, who averaged 58.7 cents.
Among the unskilled workers, only the male dye-room helpers aver­
aged as much as 50 cents an hour, while the hourly earnings of the
remaining occupations ranged from 44.4 cents for the male miscel­
laneous indirect workers to 37.8 cents for the female miscellaneous
direct workers. It is worthy of note that the averages for male and
female forming-machine feeders are almost identical. Likewise, the
hourly earnings of male and female floor workers differed by less than
1 cent an hour. This is particularly interesting, in view of the fact
that both of these groups are paid almost entirely on a straight-time
basis.
Effect of Overtime on Hourly Earnings

As previously pointed out, the earnings data presented in this
report are based on regular rates of pay for all time worked disregard­
ing extra rates paid for overtime. Of the 52 plants scheduled in the
survey, 32 paid some extra overtime wages during the pay period
covered. The amount of such payment was small in each case and
was fairly well distributed over the working force. Consequently,
the addition of overtime earnings resulted in but a slight change in
the data shown. The actual increase in average hourly earnings for
the industry as a whole amounts to only three-tenths of 1 cent, which
means that the industry average including extra overtime earnings is
66.6 cents, as against the 66.3-cents average based on regular rates of
pay.
Weekly Hours
Full-Time Hours

A majority of the plants covered by the survey of the fur-felt hat
industry had a normal workweek of 40 hours. The proportion varied
considerably among the different types of plants.
Of the 9 independent back shops, 4 were on a 40-hour basis, 1
had a workweek of 44 hours, and in 1 establishment the full-time
hours varied from 32 %to 44 (depending upon the occupation of the
worker or the shift on which he was employed). In the 3 remaining
back shops, some of the occupations normally worked 40 hours, while
others had a 44-hour week.
The 30 independent front shops included 12 plants with a 40-hour
week, 9 on a 44-hour basis, 7 having some workers at 44 and others
at 40 hours, 1 with a 43%-hour week, and 1 with a workweek of 45




EARNINGS AND HOURS IN HAT INDUSTRIES

16

hours. The latter establishment provided two 6-minute rest periods
each day.8
Of the 13 integrated establishments, 10 had a 40-hour week and 1
was on a 44-hour basis. Of the 2 remaining plants, one had a 40-hour
week for all but a few workers who were on a 30-hour week, while
the other was on a 40- to 42-hour basis, depending upon the occupa­
tion of the worker.
Operation of more than one shift was found in seven of the inte­
grated plants and six of the independent back shops. None of the
independent front shops had second- or third-shift operations. In the
integrated establishments, the multiple-shift operations were con­
fined almost entirely to the back shops.
Actual Weekly Hours

The actual workweek of all workers in the fur-felt hat industry
averaged 37.2 hours. An examination of the data for the different
skill-sex groups in the various types of plants, as shown in table 7,
reveals that the average hours of work varied from 33.8 for semiskilled
males in back shops of integrated establishments to as much as 44.3
for unskilled males in independent front shops. For the industry as
a whole, however, the averages varied from 36.1 hours for skilled males
to 40.2 hours for unskilled males.
T

able

7 .— A verage actual w eek ly hours o f fu r -fe lt hat w ork ers, by typ e o f pla nt ,
sk illy and sex , 1 9 8 9

All workers

Skilled workers

Semiskilled
workers

Unskilled workers

Type of plant
Total M ale

Fe­
Fe­
Total M ale
Total Male Fe­ Total M ale Fe­
male
male
male
male

A ll plants................................ 37.2
Back shops___________ 35.5
Front shops. ................. 38.4

37.3
35.5
39.2

36.9
34.9
37.0

36.1
34.6
38.0

36.1
34.6
38.0

37.4

Integrated plants................. 36.6
Back shops..................... 35.2
Front shops.................... 37.9

36.7
35.2
38.8

36.1
35.6
36.1

35.8
34.5
37.8

35.8
34.5
38.1

36.0

Independent back shops.. 36.0
Independent front shops._ 38.9

36.1
39.6

34.2
37.7

34.6
38.1

34.6
38.0

37.7
35.4
38.2

38.5
35.5
39.9

36.7
0)
36.8

39.7
38.7
41.1

40.2
39.1
42.1

37.6
35.3
38.8

36.5
33.9
37.4

36.9
33.8
38.9

35.9
0)
35.9

39.5
39.2
39.9

40.1
39.7
40.8

37.0
35.1
37.9

38.6
38.6~ 38.9

39.2
41.0

C)
1
37.4

38.0
43.1

38.3
44.3

35.6
40.2

37.4

36.0

* Number of workers not sufficient to justify computation of an average.

Nearly seven-tenths (69.0 percent) of the employees worked from
32 to 44 hours, inclusive, during the selected pay-roll period. Onefifth (19.8 percent) worked exactly 40 hours, while 14.2 percent
worked exactly 44 hours. A substantial proportion (22.1 percent)
worked under 32 hours. This group is made up largely of workers
who received only part-time employment, due to labor turn-over and
8
In accordance with the practice observed by both the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the W age and
Hour Division, these rest periods have been considered part of the regular working time.




17

MANUFACTURE OF FUR-FELT HATS

absenteeism during the pay-roll period scheduled. On the other hand,
8.9 percent averaged over 44 hours. This group includes the employees
who were entitled to overtime compensation, under the provisions of
the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Weekly Earnings 9
The weekly earnings of all workers in the fur-felt hat industry
averaged $24.69 (table 8). The average was $26.57 for males and
$18.13 for females. The weekly earnings ranged from $34.33 for skilled
males in the front shops of integrated plants to as low as $11.24 for
unskilled females in independent front shops.
Nearly four-fifths (78.1 percent) of the employees in the fur-felt
hat industry earned between $10 and $35 per week. About one-sixth
(17.1 percent) received $35 or more, but only 4.0 percent earned as
much as $45 or more. Only 4.8 percent of the workers received under
$10 a week.
T a b l e 8 . — A v era g e w eek ly earnings o f fu r -fe lt hat w ork ers , by typ e o f pla nt , sk illy
and sex , 1 9 3 9

All workers

Skilled workers

Semiskilled
workers

Unskilled workers

Type of plant
Total Male

Fe­
Fe­
Total Male
Total Male
male
male

Fe­
Total Male Fe­
male
male

A ll plants............................... $24.69 $26.57 $18.13 $30. 48 $30.86 $23.48 $20.45 $22.54 $17.92 $16.55 $17.01 $14.51
22. 57 22.79 0 )
16.95 17.31 13.98
Back shops___________ 26.92 27.27 14.10 31.33 31.33
Front sh o p s.................. 23.17 25.86 18.34 29. 52 30.25 23.48 19.98 22. 41 17.96 15.98 16.46 14.79
Integrated plants................. *26. 88 28. 51 19. 72 32. 50 32.83 25.06 23.15 25.28 19. 62 17.97 18.35 16.32
Back shops___________ 27.66 27.90 15. 37 32.02 32. 02
22. 34 22.34 0 )
17.96 18.30 15.02
Front shops__________ 26.17 29.32 19. 95 33. 30 34.33 25.06 23.42 27.20 19. 62 18.00 18.44 16.92
Independent back shops
Independent front shops..

23. 03 23. 77 0 )
15.68 16.05 12. 77
25.70 26.20 12.98 30.18 30.18
20. 54 22.63 17.08 26. 61 27.13 22.19 17. 04 17.44 16.76 12.63 13.19 11.24

1 Number of workers not sufficient to justify computation of an average.

» It should be remembered that all weekly earnings data presented in this report are based on regular
rates of pay, excluding extra earnings for overtime.

184737°—39------4




Manufacture o f W ool-Felt Hats
Analysis o f Sample
The 1937 Census of Manufactures reported 14 establishments, with
an average monthly employment of 4,038 wage earners during the
year, engaged in the manufacture of carded wool-felt hat bodies.
This includes only plants having an annual product valued at $5,000
or more.1
0
The Bureau’s survey in 1939 covered 15 wool-felt hat establish­
ments, employing 3,335 wage earners during the selected pay-roll
period.1 This total includes 5 large integrated plants; 5 independent
1
rough-body plants, or back shops; and 5 small independent establish­
ments engaged in finishing men’s wool-felt hats from purchased
bodies, or front shops. It should be pointed out, however, that 3 of
these 5 independent front shops are in reality departments in plants
primarily engaged in making other products, such as straw hats or
finished fur-felt hats.
The chief product of the wool-felt hat industry consists of rough
bodies for women’s hats. According to the census data for 1937, out
of a total production of 2,799,689 dozen wool-felt hat bodies and
hats, 2,152,256 dozen were sold in the rough to be made into women’s
or children’s hats. The production of finished hats in this branch,
as reported by the Census of Manufactures, amounted to only 372,019
dozen, of which 294,878 dozen were for men and boys and 77,141
dozen for women and children.
Of the plants covered, 5 with 370 wage earners were in New York;
4 with 1,627 workers were in Pennsylvania; and 6 with 1,338 wage
earners were in Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Missouri.
Trade-union organization in the wool-felt hat industry is confined
to the independent back and front shops.
Composition o f Labor Force
The separation of back- and front-shop operations in the wool-felt
hat industry is similar to that found in the fur-felt hat plants. Al­
though the wool-felt back-shop processes differ in many respects from
those used in making fur-felt hat bodies, the conditions of work are
such that, as in the fur-felt hat industry, the opportunities for employ­
ment of women are limited. Male employees constitute four-fifths
(79.6 percent) of the labor force in all wool-felt back shops (table 9).
In the front shops, on the other hand, less than three-fifths (56.9 per­
cent) of the workers are men. The proportion of female workers was
» None of the establishments reported 20 or less wage earners.
1 The Bureau was unable to obtain information covering 1 medium-sized plant.
1

18




19

MANUFACTURE OE WOOL-FELT HATS

considerably higher in the independent than in the integrated back
shops (32.5 percent as against 12.3 percent). The opposite is true
of the front shops, however, 43.5 percent of the workers in the inte­
grated, as against 41.6 percent in the independent plants, being females.
These variations may be due partly to differences in the degree of
finish applied to the bodies produced for sale, which in turn may be
related to the type or price range of the finished hat.
T able

9.—

D istrib u tio n o f w orkers covered i n su rvey o f w ool-felt hat in d u s try , by
typ e o f p la n t , sk ill, and sex, 1 9 8 9
Semiskilled workers

All workers
Type of plant

Skilled
males

Unskilled workers

Total

Male

Fe­
male

Total

628
440
188

2,408
1,848
560

1,580
1,346
234

828
502
326

299

259

222

212

10

77

47

30

483
184
299

409
241
168

1,571
1,117
454

1,121

450
180
270

210

937
184

66

177
140
37

33
4
29

328
57

199

731
106

409
50

322
56

78

72

11

10

6
1

9.0

7.8
8.4
5.7

.4
3.6

Fe­
male

Total

Male

A ll plants.....................................
Back shops............................
Front shops______________

3,335
2, 510
825

2,467
1,998
469

868
512
356

Integrated plants......................
Back shops_____ _________
Front shops______________

2,190
1,502

688

1,707
1,318
389

Independent back shops_____
Independent front shops.........

1,008
137

680
80

20

144

Male

Fe­
male
40

Percentage distribution
A ll plants......................................
Back shops........ ...................
Front shops...........................

100.0
100.0
100.0

74.0
79.6
56.9

26.0
20.4
43.1

18.8
17.6

Integrated plants______ ______
Back shops_______________
Front shops------- --------------

100.0
100.0
100.0

78.0
87.7
56.5

22.0
12.3
43.5

Independent back shops_____
Independent front shops.........

100.0
100.0

67.5
58.4

32.5
41.6

72.2
73.6
67.9

47.4
53.6
28.4

20.0

8.8

39.5

9.3

18.7
16.0
24.4

71.7
74.4

51.2
62.4
26.7

20.5
39.3

9.6
9.6
9.6

8.1

66.0

19.8
14.6

72.5
77.4

40.6
36.5

31.9
40.9

7.7

8.0

7.1
7.3

22.8

24.8

12.0

9.3
5.4

1.2

1.5
.3
4.2

.6
.7

The wool-felt hat industry offers a sharp contrast to the fur-felt
hat plants with respect to the distribution of employees by skill.
Whereas a high proportion of the workers in the latter industry,
particularly in the back shops, are highly skilled, such employees form
only 17.6 percent of the labor force in the wool-felt back shops and
22.8 percent in the wool-felt front shops. All of the skilled workers
were males. On the other hand, only 8.8 percent of the back-shop
and 9.3 percent of the front-shop workers were classed as unskilled
employees.

Average Hourly Earnings

Although straight piece rates are quite prevalent in the wool-felt
hat industry, employees affected by this method of wage payment
constituted only two-fifths (39.9 percent) of the total labor force.
Nearly two-thirds (63.8 percent) of the front-shop workers, as com­
pared with less than one-third (32.0 percent) of those in back shops,
were paid by straight piece rates. Some piece workers were found in




EARNINGS AND HOURS IN HAT INDUSTRIES

20

every establishment covered by the survey. Very few occupations
in the industry were paid piece rates exclusively, although this method
was employed for most of the workers in several of the leading direct
occupations, such as pouncers and slickers, hardeners, finishers,
trimmers, and blockers. Only 1.4 percent of the total workers were
paid under production bonus plans.
The distribution of individual hourly earnings, as presented in table
10, covered an effective range from 30 cents to $1, within which were
found 97.5 percent of all workers. A pronounced concentration (29.5
percent) occurred between 35 and 40 cents. Only 5.1 percent of the
hourly earnings were under 35 cents. The group 40 to 42.5 cents
contained 12.7 percent of the workers, while 12.5 percent averaged
from 42.5 to 47.5 cents, and the distribution tapers off gradually from
47.5 cents to $1. There were 9.9 percent of the workers averaging
77.5 cents and over.
T able

10.—

Percentage

d istribution o f wool-felt hat w orkers
ea rn in g s, sex, and skill, 1 9 3 9

by

All workers

average h ou rly

M ale workers

Average hourly earnings
Total

Under 25.0 cents___________________________
Exactly 25.0 cents____ ____________________
25 1 fir'd unriftr 27.5 rents
27.5 and under 30.0 cents----------------------------30.0 and under 32.5 cents___________________
82.6 and under 35.0 cents..................................
35.0 and under 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 ce n ts _________ ______
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 rents and over
_
.... _
T otal_________________________________

Male

Female 1

0.1
.7

.1
.2

.6

1.9

1.5
1.3
16.1
10.5

Semi­
skilled

0.2

.7

.2
.6

Skilled

0.1

1.6
15.8
13.7
12.7
12.5

6.8

5.4
5.5
4.7
4.6
3.3
3.7
2. 5

1.2
1.6

11.8
10.5
6.9
5.7

6.6
5.3
5.9
4.2
4.7
3. 2
1.5

.7
1.7
3.2
2.4
15.6
22.7
15.2
18.2
6.3
4.5
2.4
2.9

1.0
.7
.9
.3
.3

2.0
1.2

.2

.9

100.0

100.0

100.0

0.2
.8
1.0

4.9
1.9
3.0
4.9
5.4
7.2
8.9
11.3
12.3
7.5

12.6
7. 5
3.2
3.7
3.7

100.0

0.8
.1
.3
.9

1.1
20.1

13.2
13. 5
13.2

U n­
skilled

1.2
1.5
.4

6.9
3.1
18.1
15.4

22.1

5.4

7.3
15.8
3.9

6.6

1.5

3.7
4.3
3.5

.4
.4
.4
.4

6.1

2.2
2.1
.9

1.6

.8
.4

.4

100.0

100.0

i Includes 828 semiskilled and 40 unskilled females.

V ariation s b y Sex and Skill

The average hourly earnings for all male employees was 52.2 cents,
as compared with 43.0 cents for the females (table 11). The skilled
workers, all of whom were males, averaged 66.3 cents. It is worthy of
note that the hourly earnings of the remaining sex and skill groups
varied within a spread of less than 10 cents, ranging from 48.6 cents
for the semiskilled males to 40.3 cents for the unskilled females.
Among the semiskilled workers, who made up nearly three-fourths of
the labor force, the average for the females was 5.4 cents lower than




MANUFACTURE OF WOOL-FELT HATS

21

that for the males. The average for unskilled females differed by
only 1.4 cents from that for unskilled males.
Few of the workers of either sex averaged under 35 cents an hour,
the proportions being 3.9 percent of the males and 8.8 percent of the
females. In terms of 5-cent intervals, the principal concentration of
both sexes was between 35 and 40 cents, 26.6 percent of the males and
38.3 percent of the females being included in that range. However,
the hourly earnings of the males were more widely dispersed than
were the hourly earnings of the females. Thus, nearly one-half
(48.9 percent) of the males, as compared with 71.7 percent of the
females, averaged between 35 and 47.5 cents. About one-sixth
(16.8 percent) of the males, as against 2.4 percent of the females,
earned 72.5 cents or more.
Only 8.8 percent of the skilled males averaged under 40 cents an
hour, while 30.7 percent were paid 77.5 cents or more. The respec­
tive percentages were 36.5 and 7.2 for the semiskilled males and 46.6
and 1.6 for the unskilled males.
T able

11.—

A verage hourly earnings o f w ool-felt hat w ork ers , by typ e o f plants skill ,

and sexy 1939
Semiskilled workers

A ll workers
Total
All

plants-..................—

Back shops.................... ..

Front shops.................... - -

Unskilled workers

Skilled
males

Type of plant

Total

Male Female

$0. 498 $0.522 $0,430
.482
.500
.407
.545
.608
.461

Male Female Total

Male Female

$0.663 $0.468 $0. 486 $0,432 $0.415 $0.417
.452
.402
.660
.467
.408
.405
.671
.464
.590
.451
.468.
.517

Integrated plants................- - Back shops......................—
Front shops........................

.496
.475
.540

.515
.485
.610

.432
.405
.448

.672
.676
.667

.463
.444
.508

.475
.451
.590

.433
.406
.450

.424
.409
.456

.426
.410
.480

Independent back shops____
Independent front shops ----

.493
.571

.530
.599

.408
.531

.642

.464
.560

.502
.591

.410
.533

.391

.396

0)

0)

0)

$0.403

0)

.424
.416

0)

.425

0)
0)

1Number of workers D o t sufficient to justify computation of an average.

Variations by Type o f Plant

In the wool-felt as in the fur-felt hat industry, hourly earnings
differ considerably among the various types of establishments. Wage
levels are generally higher in the wool-felt front shops than in the
back shops, which is in contrast with the situation found in the
fur-felt hat plants.
As was shown in table 11, the earnings of all workers in the woolfelt back shops averaged 48.2 cents an hour. In the front shops, the
average was 54.5 cents, a difference of 6.3 cents. As against an aver­
age of 47.5 cents for all employees of integrated back shops, the
workers in independent back shops averaged 49.3 cents an hour.
Likewise, in the front-shop operations, wage earners in the inde­
pendent establishments received higher pay than those employed by
integrated plants, the averages being 57.1 cents and 54.0 cents,




EARNINGS AND HOURS IN HAT INDUSTRIES

22

respectively. Hourly earnings in the front shops exceeded the
averages in the back shops for every sex and skill group for which a
comparison is possible, with the exception of the skilled males in
integrated plants, where the difference in favor of the back-shop
employees amounted to less than 1 cent.
Table 12 shows the distribution of individual earnings for all
workers by type of establishment.
T

a b l e

1 2 . — Percentage

distribution o f wool-felt hat w ork ers , by
earnings and typ e o f plant , 1 9 3 9

average

Integrated
plants

All plants

hourly

Independent
plants

Average hourly earnings
Total

Under 25.0 cents.............. - ........... - .........
Exactly 25.0 cents.....................................
25.1 and under 27.5 cents......................
27.5 and 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 cen ts.....................
87.5 and under 92.5 cents.......................
92.5 and under 100.0 c e n ts ___________
100.0 cents and over......... ............. .........
Total______________ ________ ____

0.1

Back
shops

Front
shops

0.1

0.2

.4

1.5
.7
.4
2.7
2.7
13.1

.7

.2
.6
1.9

(0

.7
1.7

1.6

1.2

15.8
13.7
12.7
12.5

16.8
16.0
13.9
13.1
6.3
4.7
5.2
4.4
4.4
3.2
3.5
2.4

6.8
5.4
5.5
4.7
4.6
3.3
3.7
2.5

1.2
1.6

.9

10
0 .0

.6

6.8
8.7
10.4
8.4
7.4
6.7
5.5
5.5
3.6
4.5
2.7

2.8

.8
.6

3.9

100.0

100.0

1.8

Total

0.2
.6
.3
.3

2.0
1.8
20.0
11.2
12.4

11.6
6.4
4.8
5.9
4.5
4.8
3.6
4.0

Back
shops

Front
shops

0.2
.6
.1

0.3

.3
1.7

1.6
22.4

12.8
14.1
11.9
5.9
4.0
5.5
3.8
4.2
3.6
3.9

.6
.7
.3
2.5
2.3
14.8
7.6
8.7

11.0
7.4
6.7

6.8
6.1
6.1

.8

.5
.5

3.5
4.2
2.3
2.5
4.1
1.5

100.0

100.0

100.0

2.2
1.0
1.6

2.1
.3

Back
shops

0.2
1.3
1.7
.7
8.4
20.4
13.7
14.9
6.7
5.8
4.7
5.4
4.7

Front
shops

5.8
.7
.7
3.6
4.4
5.1
2.9
8.9

8.0
13.2

11.0
5.8

2.2
2.2

2.6

.6

4.4
5.8
4.4
4.4
2.9
3.6

100.0

100.0

2.9
2.9

1.1
1.3

1 L e s s t h a n H o o f 1 p e rc e n t.

Earnings in R elation to Fair Labor Standards A c t

Very few employees in the wool-felt hat industry were earning under
25 cents an hour, the minimum rate now in effect under the provisions
of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The adjustment to the 30-cent
minimum, effective on October 24,1939, will require but slight changes
in the wage structure, as the number of workers now earning less than
that figure amounts to only 1.6 percent of the total labor force (1.1
percent of the males and 3.2 percent of the females).
Workers averaging under 40 cents an hour constituted 34.6 percent
of the total labor force. The proportions were 30.5 percent for males
and 47.1 percent for females. Among the skilled males, only 8.8
percent averaged under 40 cents. The percentages were 36.5 for semi­
skilled and 46.6 for unskilled males.




MANUFACTURE OF WOOL-FELT HATS

23

An examination of the plant averages shows that of the 15 establish­
ments covered by the survey 5 were under 45 cents an hour, 4 between
45 and 50 cents, 3 between 50 and 55 cents, and 3 over 55 cents.1
2
Because of the limited number of establishments in the wool-felt
hat industry, it is impossible to present distributions of individual
earnings for plant groups classified on the basis of plant averages. An
examination of the basic data indicates, however, that none of the
establishments surveyed, including those with the lowest averages,
had a substantial number of workers receiving under 35 cents an hour.
On the other hand, a considerable proportion of the employees in all
except the plants averaging 50 cents an hour or more were receiving
under 40 cents.
Occupational Differences

Occupational averages in the wool-felt hat industry, as shown in
table 13, ranged from 76.0 cents an hour for male pouncers and slickers,,
a skilled back-shop operation, to 36.8 cents for semiskilled male
coners.
The side hardeners, who make up the largest occupational group of
skilled males, averaged 65.3 cents. The lowest hourly earnings for
skilled males were received by the miscellaneous indirect employees,
who averaged 60.8 cents. This group includes the various building
maintenance workers, such as plumbers, carpenters, machinists, etc.
Among the semiskilled males, the front-shop blockers received
68.8 cents an hour, which was the highest average for this group. It
will be observed that the hourly earnings of this occupation exceeded
the averages for all of the skilled occupations with the exception of the
back-shop pouncers and slickers. Among the largest semiskilled male
occupations were the multiroller operators, who averaged 49.5 cents
and the back-shop blockers, whose average was 48.6 cents an hour.
The hourly earnings of the semiskilled females ranged from 55.3
cents for leather workers to 38.8 cents for back-shop inspectors. The
coners, who were most numerous among this group, averaged 39.8
cents. It will be observed that this exceeds the average for male
coners by exactly 3 cents.
There were too few employees to permit the computation of averages
for any unskilled occupations except the male dusters and washers,
who received 41.2 cents an hour. The male employees in miscellaneous
unskilled direct occupations averaged 41.8 cents, as against 42.2
cents for those in the indirect jobs. The unskilled females averaged
40.3 cents.
1 Examination of the original data reveals that on the whole average hourly earnings, for both back shops
2
and front shops, were higher among the plants located in New York and Massachusetts than in those sit­
uated in other States. It is impossible to present specific data on this point without revealing figures for
individual establishments.




24
T able

EARNINGS AND HOURS IN H AT INDUSTRIES

13. —

A verage h ou rly earningsy w eek ly hours , and w eek ly earnings o f w oolfelt hat w orkers , b y skill , sex , and occup ation ,

Number of
workers

Skill, sex, and occupation

Skilled workers
Males:
Foremen, working................... ..................................
Pouncers and finishers, front shop............................
Pouncers and slickers, back shop—...........................
Side hardeners.................... .......................................
Miscellaneous, indirect.......... ...................................

Average
hourly
earnings

Average
weekly
hours

Average
weekly
earnings

71
162
108
229
58

$0. 667
.648
.760
.653
.608

44.7
38.2
31.2
35.7
47.0

$29.79
24.76
23.70
23. 30
28. 54

201
68

.486

.688

40.2
38.7
41.4
43.2
38.8
35.0
36.6
41.9
43.7
40.9
41.9
39.8
38.6
37.6
43.0
43.4
44.7

19.54
26. 58
22.81
19. 50
17.91
12.90
14.75
22.18
18.36
20.28
18.13
19.97
17.70
21.67
19.29
22.82
23.00

Semiskilled workers
Males:
Blockers, back shop.—_________________________
Blockers, front shop______ ____________ _________
Brim and crown pressers________ _______________
Card strippers____________ ____________________
Catchers and folders_____ ____________ ____ _____
Conors........................................................................
Inspectors, back shop...............................................
Inspectors, front shop______ _____ ______________
Kettlemen____ _______ _________ ______ _________
Multiroller or mezzera operators_________________
Pushers and bumpers__________________________
Sizers...__________________ ___________________
Stiffeners.................................. ...................... ...........
Tip hardeners............................ ............ ...................
Wool mixers and feeders------------------------------------Miscellaneous, direct.................. ................... ...........
Miscellaneous, indirect___________ ______________
Females:
Conors........................................................................
Inspectors, back shop........................... —......... ........
Leather workers........... ................ ......... ..............—
Speckers and trimmers, hat bodies...................... .
Trimmers....................... ........................ ...... .............
Welters and binders............................................... .
Miscellaneous, direct.............................................. .

118
133
42
42
224
45
169
103
70
34
130
29

.550
.451
.461
.368
.403
.529
.420
.495
.433
.502
.458
.577
.449
.526
.515

209
134
73
95
175
39
103

.398
.388
.553
.424
.429
.445
.468

35.1
36.9
38.5
38.5
40.6
42.2
38.5

13.96
14.31
21.30
16.33
17.42
18.79
18.00

Unskilled workers
Males:
Dusters and washers.............................. ...................
Miscellaneous, direct......................................... ........
Miscellaneous, indirect..............................................
Females: Miscellaneous........................................... ........

69
152
38
40

.412
.418
.422
.403

41.4
39.8
43.6

17.05
16.64
18.39
15.85

39
32

101

39.3

Effect o f Overtime on H ourly Earnings

Some extra compensation for overtime work was found in 10 of the
15 wool-felt hat plants covered by the survey. Although a number of
employees were affected, the amount of extra pay in each case was
quite small. A computation of the extra overtime earnings shows that
the actual increase in the average hourly earnings would amount to
only one-fifth of a cent. In other words, the total average would be
50.0 cents an hour, as against 49.8 cents covering the earnings at
regular rates only.

Weekly Hours

Full-Time Hours

Of the 15 wool-felt hat manufacturing establishments, 4 independent
front shops and 2 integrated plants had a normal workweek of 40
hours. The full-time workweek was 44 hours in 3 back shops, 1 front
shop, and 2 integrated plants. In 1 back shop and 1 integrated plant a




25

MANUFACTURE OF WOOL-FELT HATS

majority of the employees worked 44 hours, but some were on a 40hour basis. The remaining establishment, an independent back shop,
had a workweek of 37.5 hours for all employees.
More than one shift operation for some occupations was practiced in
three integrated plants, two independent back shops, and one inde­
pendent front shop. In only one plant, an independent back shop, were
all occupations on a double shift. None of the establishments reported
wage differentials between shifts.
Actual Weekly Hours

The actual hours worked in the wool-felt hat industry as a whole
averaged 39.0 per week. According to table 14 the averages for the
various types of plants did not differ materially, amounting to 38.0
hours in the independent back shops, as against 38.7 hours in the
independent front shops and 39.6 in the integrated establishments.
The averages by sex and skill show that the actual workweek was
longer for males than for females. Moreover, it increased in length
as the skill of the worker decreased.
T able

14.—

A v e r a g e a ctu a l w e e k l y h o u r s o f w o o l-f e l t hat w o r k e r s , b y t y p e o f p la n t
s k ill, a n d s e x 1 9 8 9

,

Semiskilled workers

All workers
Type of plant

,

Unskilled workers

Skill­
ed
males

Total

Male

Fe­
male

Total

Male

Fe­
male

Total

Male

Fe­
male

A ll plants_____ ______ ________
Back shops..........................
Front shops..........................

39.0
38.6
40.5

39.4
39.1
40.5

38.0
36.4
40.5

37.6
37.0
39.0

39.2
38.8
40.8

39.9
39.6
41.4

38.0
36.4
40.4

40.6
40.0
42.1

40.8
40.4
42.5

0)

Integrated plants.......................
Back shops...........................
Front sh o p s .......................

39.6
39.0
40.9

39.5
39.1
40.9

39.8
38.2
40.9

37.3
36.2
38.9

40.0
39.4
41.3

40.0
39.6
42.1

39.9
38.5
40.8

40.9
40.0
42.8

41.2
40.5
43. 7

0)

Independent back s h o p s ____
Independent front s h o p s ____

38.0
38.7

39.2
38.9

35.4
38.4

38.0
0)

37.7
38.5

39.7
38.6

35.3
38.5

40.1
0)

40.1
0)

0)
0)

39.3
41.5
39.2
41.7

1 Number of workers not sufficient to justify computation of an average.

In the scheduled pay period 74.2 percent of the employees worked
from 36 to 44 hours. One-third (33.5 percent) worked exactly 44
hours; 15.0 percent worked exactly 40 hours; and three-fifths (60.3
percent) worked from 40 to 44 hours.
One-fifth (20.6 percent) of the workers worked under 36 hours,
whereas only 5.2 percent worked over 44 hours. Among the male
employees, 20.2 percent worked under 36 hours, while 7.0 percent
worked over 44 hours. A substantial proportion of the females had
a relatively short workweek, 21.3 percent working under 36 hours.
Moreover, for all practical purposes none of the females worked in
excess of 44 hours.




EARNINGS AND HOURS IN H AT INDUSTRIES

26

W eekly Earnings 1
3

The weekly earnings of ail workers in the wool-felt hat industry
averaged $19.46 (table 15). The earnings of males averaged $20.55
per week, which may be compared with $16.37 for females. The
weekly earnings of males exceeded the average for females in every
skill-group and plant type. This, of course, is due to the fact that
the males not only received higher hourly earnings, but had a longer
actual workweek than the females in every case.
T able

15.—

A v e r a g e w e e k l y e a r n i n g s o f w o o l-f e l t hat w o r k e r s , b y t y p e o f p l a n t , s k ill,
and sex, 1 9 8 9

A ll workers
Type of plant
Total

M ale

Fe­
male

Semiskilled workers
Skilled
males

Total

M ale

Fe­
male

Unskilled workers

Total

Male

A ll plants...................................... $19.46 $20. 55 $16.37 $24.96 $18.35 $19.37 $16.40 $16.85 $17.01
14. 80 24.45
17.51
Back shops............................ 18. 61 19.58
18.50
14.88
16.11
16. 37
18.64 26.17 21.10 24.40
18.73
Front shops.......................... 22 . 06 24.66
18.98
19.87

Fe­
male
$15.85
0)
17.59

Integrated plants.......................
Back shops...........................
Front shops..........................

19. 63
18. 62
22.05

20. 32
18. 95
24.94

17.21 | 25.07
15. 45 ! 24.47
18.30 25.92

18. 52
17. 52
20.99

19. 02
17.88
24.84

17. 28
15.65
18.36

17.35
16.34
19.54

17.54
16.63
20.98

16.32
0)
17.70

Independent back shops_____
Independent front shops.........

18.73
22.09

20.80
23. 28

14.43
20.41

17. 51
21.58

19. 91
22.78

14.45
20. 52

15.69
0)

15.87
0)

0)
0)

24.42
0)

i Number of workers not sufficient to justify computation of an average.

Over four-fifths (81.8 percent) of the workers received between
$10 and $30 per week, and 7.1 percent received under $10. About
one-tenth (11.1 percent) averaged $30 or more, but only 3.7 per­
cent received $35 or more.
A significant proportion of both sexes received under $10 per week.
Very few of the females received as much as $30 or more, as compared
with 14.2 percent of the males. The analysis of weekly earnings of
males according to skill shows, however, that the earnings of $30
or more were confined largely to the most skilled group.
i* It should be remembered that all weekly earnings data presented in this report are based on regular
rates of pay, excluding extra earnings for overtime.




Manufacture o f Straw Hats
A nalysis o f Sample

The 1937 Census of Manufactures covering the men's straw-hat
industry includes 47 establishments having an annual product valued
at $5,000 or more. The monthly employment in these plants averaged
3,024 wage earners during the year. The industry's total output
in 1937, as reported by the census, included 2,130,100 dozen hats, of
which 919,599 dozen were for dress wear and 1,210,501 dozen harvest
hats. Of the dress straw hats, 555,747 dozen were made of sewed
braid and 363,852 dozen of woven-body construction. These totals
include a relatively insignificant amount of women's straw hats.
Most of the straw-hat production is carried on in establishments
devoted primarily to that purpose, the principal exceptions being
found in the few large integrated fur-felt hat companies that have
straw-hat departments. Only those establishments were covered
in the Bureau's survey which had more than 20 wage earners. These
included 14 plants, employing 1,264 wage earners, engaged solely
in making dress straw hats; 4 establishments, with 258 wage earners,
producing only harvest hats; and 3 plants, with 428 workers, making
both dress straw and harvest hats. The survey also included 3 plants,
with a total of 600 wage earners, producing dress straw hats but
having departments in which fur- or wool-felt hats are made. In
addition, the survey covered 422 workers employed in dress-straw-hat
departments of 6 establishments whose principal products were woolor fur-felt hats.1
4
Three of the establishments with 268 employees were located in
Connecticut, 3 with 450 wage earners in Missouri, and 12 with 549
workers in New York; the other 12 plants with 1,705 wage earners
were in the States of California, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Jer­
sey, Texas, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. Measured by
number of wage earners employed, New York, Missouri, and Maryland
are the leading States in straw-hat manufacture. Most of the dress
straw hats are produced in New York and Maryland, and most of
the harvest hats in Missouri and Illinois.
The greater number of the straw-hat establishments are in large
metropolitan areas, only 5 dress-straw-hat plants with 212 wage
earners and 3 harvest-hat establishments with 244 workers being
found in communities of under 500,000 population.
Trade-union organization is relatively extensive in the straw-hat
industry. The plants with trade-union agreements included 12
dress-straw-hat establishments but only 2 plants producing harvest
hats.
1 These 30 establishments employed 2,972 wage earners at the time of the survey.
4




27

EARNINGS AND HOURS IN HAT INDUSTRIES

28

Composition o f Labor Force
Most of the operations in straw-hat manufacture are semiskilled
in character. For the industry as a whole, about two-thirds (65.6
percent) of the workers were semiskilled, 26.6 percent skilled, and
7.8 percent unskilled (table 16). The proportions differed widely as
between dress straw and harvest hats. In the latter, 84.3 percent
of the workers were classed as semiskilled, while only 5.8 percent were
skilled. In the dress-straw-hat establishments, on the other hand,
30.7 percent of the workers were skilled and 62.0 percent semiskilled.
T able

16.—

D istr ib u tio n

o f w o r k e r s c o v er ed i n s u r v e y o f
p ro d u c t, sk ill, a n d sex , 1 9 3 9

All workers

Skilled workers

s tr a w -h a t i n d u s t r y ,

Semiskilled
workers

by

Unskilled workers

Product
Total Male

Fe­
male

1,431

Total Male

Fe­
male

Total M ale

Fe­
male

Total M ale

Fe­
male

All products............... ..........

2,972

1,541

792

683

109 1,949

593 1,356

231

155

73

Dress straw hats..................
Harvest hats..........................

2,489 1,145 1,344
483
286
197

764
28

655
28

109 1,542
407

367 1,175
226
1.81

183
48

123
32

60
Iff

Percentage distribution
All products...................... ..

100.0

48.1

51.9

26.6

22.9

3.7

65.6

20.0

45.6

7.8

5.2

2.6

Dress straw hats..................
Harvest hats.........................

10C.0
100.0

46.0
59.2

54.0
40.8

30.7
5.8

26.3
5.8

4.4

62.0
84.3

14.8
46.8

47.2
37.5

7.3
9.9

4.9

2.4
3.3

6.6

For the total industry, the labor force is composed of nearly equal
proportions of males and females (48.1 percent males as against 51.0
percent females). In the harvest-hat branch, however, the number
of males exceeds the number of females, the respective proportions
being 59.2 percent and 40.8 percent. For dress straw hats, the figures
were 46.0 percent for males and 54.0 percent for females. Moso of the
females in both branches were in semiskilled occupations.
Average H ourly Earnings
All of the straw-hat establishments, with the exception of one small
plant making harvest hats, paid a substantial proportion of their
employees on a straight piece-rate basis. Over seven-tenths (72.8
percent) of the wage earners in the industry as a whole were piece
workers, but the proportion of piece workers was considerably lower
in the harvest-hat than in the dress-straw-hat plants, the percentages
being 59.4 and 75.4, respectively. None of the establishments
covered had production-bonus systems.
Piece rates were in effect for a substantial proportion of the workers
in most of the principal direct occupations, such as sewing-machine




29

MANUFACTURE OF STRAW HATS

operators, trimmers, blockers, sprayers and painters, and leather
inserters. The chief occupations paid largely on a time-rate basis
include the working foremen, indirect workers, packers, and work
distributors.
According to the distribution in table 17, the individual earnings
were widely dispersed. A few workers averaged under 25 cents, and
the number receiving $1 and over amounted to 3.6 percent of the
total. An outstanding feature of the distribution is the pronounced
concentration of hourly earnings at exactly 25 cents, with over onetenth of the workers being paid exactly the minimum rate provided by
the Fair Labor Standards Act. Aside from the grouping at 25 cents,
the principal concentration is found between 30 and 35 cents, if an
interval of 5 cents is used, the earnings of one-eighth (12.4 percent)
of the workers falling within these limits. Nearly one-third (32.1
percent) of the wage earners averaged under 35 cents, and over onefifth (20.6 percent) received 67.5 cents or more.
Male employees averaged 57.3 cents an hour, as compared with
41.1 cents for females. It will be observed that a considerable num­
ber of both groups received exactly 25 cents an hour, the proportion
being 11.7 percent of the males and 10.1 percent of the females.
T able

17.—

P e r c e n t a g e d is t r ib u t io n o f s tr a w -h a t w o r k e r s , b y a vera g e h o u r ly e a r n i n g s ,
p r o d u c t, a n d s e x , 1 9 3 9

Dress straw hats

A ll products

Harvest hats

Average hourly earnings
All
Fe­
workers Males males
Under 25.0 cents....................................
Exactly 25.0 cents..................................
25.1 and under 27.5 cents....................
27.5 and 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 a n d u n d e r 72.5 c e n ts
____
_
72.5 and under 77.5 cents....................
77.5 and under 82.5 cents....................
82.5 a n d u n d e r 87.5 c e n ts
_____
87.5 and under 92.5 cents....................
92.5 and under 100.0 cents........ .........
100.0 and under 110.0 cents................
110.0 and under 120.0 c e n ts ..............
12 0.0 c e n ts a n d o v e r ___

_

.

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

0.3
10.9
4.5
4.0
7.1
5.3

0.3
11.7
3.7

6.1

3.2

4.8
5.6
8.7
6.7

6.0
5.1
4.3
4.8
3.0
3.4

2.1
1.9

1.8
1.8
.9
.9

100.0

2.2
5.0

2.6
2.2
4.6
5.5
5.5
4.9
5.6
5.8
7.4
5.4
5.8
3.6
3.7
3.6
3.8
1.9

0.3

10.1
5.3
5.7
9.0
7.8
8.7
7.1
6.5
11.7
7.9
6.9
4.6
3.0
2.3

.8
1.1
.7
.3

.1
.1

2.0
100.0

Total

0.1
10.1
4.3
4.4

6.8
5.5
6.4
4.9
5.1
8.4
6.5
5.9
4.9
4.3
5.0
2.9
3.7
2.3

2.2
2.1
2.1
1.0

Males

0.2
11.4
3.7
2.3
4.0
2.7
3.1
1.9
3.5
5.1
4.6

0.1
8.6
4 .8

6.3
9.2

8.0
9.2
7.4
6.5

11.0
8.0

5.2

7.1
4.7

6.0

2.8

7.8
5.2

2.7

6.6

1.3

4 .6

4.0
4.4
4.5
4.6
2 .2

1 .1

100.0

Fe­
males

100.0

.8
.3

Males

1.0

0.7
13.0
3.8
1.7
9.2

1.5
19.8

2.1

6.6

15.8
5.8
1.9
8.3
3.9
4.3
4.1
7.9

10.8
8.1
6.0
6.0
4.6
3.7
3.7
1.9

1.0
.6

3.5
3.5
9.2
7.0

8.8
5.9
7.3
4.9
6.3
6.3
3.1
1.7

8.6
2.0
7.1
5.6
5.1

6.1
16.2
7.1

6.1
4.1
4.1

1.0

.1
.1

.2
.4

.3
.7

100.0

100.0

2.4

100.0

1.0

Fe­
males

Total

100.0

100.0

Variations by Sex and Skill

On the basis of skill-sex groups, the average hourly earnings in the
industry as a whole ranged from 74.7 cents for skilled males to 30.5
cents for unskilled males (table 18). The average for skilled females




30

EARNINGS AND HOURS IN HAT INDUSTRIES

was 49.7 cents, or 25 cents less than the average hourly earnings of
skilled males. Among the semiskilled workers, the males averaged
45.5 cents, as against 40.9 cents for females. The unskilled males
averaged 30.5 cents, while the unskilled females averaged 31.4 cents.
T

a b l e

18.—

A v e r a g e h o u r ly e a r n in g s o f s tr a w -h a t w o r k e r s , h y p r o d u c t , s k i l l , a n d s e x ,
1989

A ll workers

Semiskilled
workers

Skilled workers

U n skilled workers

P roduct
T o ta l M a le

Fe­
m ale

T o ta l M a le

Fe­
m ale

T o ta l M a le

F e­
m ale

T o ta l M a le

Fe­
m ale

A ll products_____ __________ $0,491 $0,573 $0,411 $0.713 $0.747 $0.497 $0,424 $0,455 $0,409 $0,308 $0,305 $0,314
D ress straw hats___________
H arvest hats______ _________

.5 0 0
.441

.595
.4 8 2

.416
.337

.717
.615

.753
.497
.615 ............

.4 1 9
.441

.437
.485

.414
.3 8 0

.301
.3 3 6

.298
.333

.308
0)

1 N u m b e r of workers not sufficient to ju stify com putation of an average.

Variations by Product
An examination of the plant averages shows that, of the 26 dressstraw-hat plants covered by the survey, 8 had averages under 45
cents an hour, 4 between 45 and 55 cents, 6 between 55 and 60 cents,
5 between 60 and 75 cents, and 3 over 75 cents. Of the 7 plants pro­
ducing harvest hats, 3 averaged under 45 cents and 4 between 45 and
55 cents an hour.1
6
The average hourly earnings of all workers in dress-straw-hat estab­
lishments was exactly 50 cents. This may be compared with 44.1
cents for employees of harvest-hat plants. As the distributions given
in table 17 indicate, both branches of the industry employ substantial
numbers of workers averaging under 30 cents an hour (18.9 percent
in dress straw as against 24.5 percent in harvest hats). There were
10.8 percent of the dress-straw-hat workers, as compared with only
2.2 percent of the harvest-hat employees, who averaged 82.5 cents or
more.
Although average hourly earnings of all employees is higher in dressstraw-hat than in harvest-hat plants, for some skill-sex groups the
opposite is true. For example, the semiskilled males averaged 48.5
cents an hour in harvest-hat plants, as compared with 43.7 cents in
establishments making dress straw hats. Likewise, the unskilled
males employed in the harvest-hat branch averaged 33.3 cents, as
against 29.8 cents for the unskilled male employees of dress-straw-hat
plants. On the other hand, there was a very substantial difference in
favor of the skilled males in the dress-straw-hat branch, who averaged
75.3 cents as compared with 61.5 cents for the skilled males employed
in harvest-hat plants. Similarly, the semiskilled females averaged
T h e coverage in the straw -hat in du stry included 3 plants that m ad e b oth dress straw and harvest hats.
Separate averages h ave been com puted for th e 2 departm ents in each of these establishm ents.




31

MANUFACTURE OF STRAW HATS

41.4 cents in dress-straw-hat plants and 38.0 cents in harvest-hat
establishments.
Table 19 shows the distributions of individual average hourly earn­
ings for the various skill-sex groups in the dress-straw-hat branch.
T

a b l e

19. —

P e r c e n t a g e d i s t r ib u t io n o f s tr a w -h a t w o r k e r s , b y a v era g e h o u r ly e a r n i n g s
sk ill a n d s e x 1 9 3 9

,

,

A ll workers

Skilled workers

Sem iskilled
workers

,

U nskilled
w orkers1

A verage hourly earnings
T o ta l M a le

U n d er 25.0 cants
E x a c tly 25.0 cen ts................ ...............
25.1 and under 27.5 cen ts_________
27.5 and under 30.0 cen ts_________
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 c e n t s ..—. ____
52.5 and under 67.6 cents_________
67.5 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 and under 110.0 cen ts_______
110.0 and under 120.0 cents_______
120.0 cents and over

0 .1
10.1
4 .3
4 .4
6 .8
5 .5
6 .4
4 .9
5 .1

8.4
6 .5
5 .9
4 .9
4 .3
5 .0
2 .9
3 .7
2 .3
2 .2
2 .1
2 .1
1 .0
1 .1

T o ta l............................................... 100.0

0 .2
11.4
3 .7
2 .3
4 .0
2 .7
3 .1
1 .9
3 .5
5 .1
4 .6
4 .6
5 .2
6 .0
7 .8
5 .2
6 .6
4 .0

4.4
4 .5

F e­
m ale

0 .1
8 .6
4 .8
6 .3
9 .2
8 .0
9 .2
7 .4
6 .5
11.0
8 .0
7 .1
4 .7
2 .8
2 .7
1 .0
1 .3
.8
.3
.1

4.6
2 .2
2 .4

.1

100.0

100.0

T o ta l M a le

2 .0
.7
.5
1 .8
1 .8
2 .4
.8
2 .7
4 .2
4 .2
6 .8
6 .4
7 .5
10.4
6 .0
10.1
6 .3
6 .2
6 .2
6 .3
3 .3
3 .4

1 .2
.6
2 .1
.6
2 .1
3 .5
3 .2
5 .6
6 .7
7 .9
11.5
6 .7
10.7
6 .6
7 .2
7 .2
7 .3
8 .7
4 .0

100.0

100.0

1 .4
.2

F e­
m ale

5 .5
3 .7
3 .7
5 .5
9 .2
8 .7
1 .8
6 .4
8 .3
10.1
13.7
4 .6
4 .6
4 .6
1 .8
7 .3
4 .6

.9

100.0

T o ta l M a le

0 .1
9 .7
5 .3
6 .0
9 .2
7 .5
8 .5
7 .1
6 .5
10.7
7 .9
6 .2
4 .7
3 .2
2 .9
1 .7
.8
.6
.5
.4
.3
.1
.1
100.0

Fe­
m ale

0 .3

ai

2a 4

6 .3
5 .0
6 .6
10.1
8 .0
9 .9
8 .0
6 .6
11.7
8 .0
6 .8
4 .9
2 .8
2 .6
.9
.7
.5
.3
.2

6 .0
4 .1
6 .5
6 .0
4 .1
4 .4
6 .0
7 .6
7 .6
4 .1
4 .1

4.6
3 .8
4 .1
1 .4
.8
.8
1.1

T o ta l M a le

0 .5
45.9
11.5
7 .1
7 .7
4 .4
6 .5
3 .3
3 .8
5 .5
3 .8
.5

0 .8
3 9 .0
15.4
8 .9
11.4
4 .1
5 .7
1 .6
3 .3
5 .7
3 .3
.8

.5

_____ _____

L4
.3
.5
100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

* N u m b e r of female workers not sufficient to ju stify com putation of a distribution.

Earnings in Relation to Fair Labor Standards Act
The pronounced concentration of earnings in the straw-hat in­
dustry at exactly 25 cents an hour is evidence that the application
of the 25-cent minimum resulted in a certain amount of readjustment
in the wage structure of the industry.
About one-fifth (19.7 percent) of the employees covered by the
survey were averaging under 30 cents, which group will be affected
by the new minimum taking effect on October 24, 1939. The pro­
portions amounted to 18.9 percent in the dress-straw-hat plants and
24.5 percent in the harvest-hat establishments.
If 40 cents is taken as the limit, the number earning below that
figure amounted to over two-fifths (43.0 percent) of the total workers.
It will be observed that about the same proportion of employees in
each branch received earnings under the 40-cent level, the percent­
ages being 42.5 for dress straw and 45.1 for harvest hats. A sub­
stantial number of the workers of both sexes in each branch were
included in this group, the proportions ranging from 29.3 percent of
the males in dress-straw-hat plants to 56.3 percent of the females in
the harvest-hat establishments.




32

EARNINGS AND HOURS IN HAT INDUSTRIES

Occupational Differences
Occupational averages for both the dress-straw and harvest-hat
branches are shown in table 20.
In the dress-straw branch, average hourly earnings ranged from
86.0 cents for skilled male hand hangers to 29.0 cents for the male
miscellaneous direct unskilled workers. The hydraulic blockers, who
were most numerous among the skilled males, averaged 71.9 cents.
The forewomen and leather inserters were the only female occupa­
tions classed as skilled. They averaged 55.0 and 48.2 cents an
hour, respectively.
T

able

2 0 .— A v e r a g e h o u r ly e a r n in g s, w e e k ly h o u r s, a n d w e e k ly e a r n in g s o f str a w hat w o rk ersf b y p ro d u ct

,

sk ill, s e x , a n d o c c u p a tio n

Skill, sex, and occupation

N um ber
of
workers

1939

A verage
w eekly
hours

Average
w eek ly
earnings

D ress straw hats

Skilled workers
M a le s:
Blockers, h a n d ................................................................................
Blockers, hydrau lic................. ....................................................
Flangers, h a n d ......................................... ....................................
Forem en, w orkin g..................... ........................................... ..
M iscellaneous, direct..................................................................
M iscellaneou s, indirect..............................................................
Fem ales:
Forew om en, w ork in g. — - ......................................................
L eather inserters............................................................................

A verage
hourly
earnings

,

197
220
38
40
137
23

$0,820
.719
.860
.827
.665
.751

38.3
41.5
42.2
44.8
40.7
43.4

$31.43
29.83
33.30
37.02
27.04
32.63

23
86

.550
.482

43.7
40.0

24.01
19.29

26
83
53
186
19

.481
.354
.604
.421
.436

44.6
44.9
43.0
44.0
42.9

21.48
15.91
25.98
18.52
18.72

127
450
382
216

.424
.439
.399
.382

38.9
40.1
40.6
41.8

16.50
17.64
16.19
15.94

105
18
60

.290
.342
.308

44.8
47.5
41.9

13.00
16.25
12.90

Semiskilled workers
M a le s:
C lerks, factory .................................. .............................................
Packers.................................. ............................................................
Sprayers and painters_______ ______________ . . . ...............
M iscellaneous, direct..................................................................
M iscellaneous, indirect..............................................................
Fem ales:
Leather fitters ................ ................... .........................................
Operators.............. .......................... ........................................... —
T r im m ers........................................ ..................................................
M iscellaneous, direct..................................................................

Unskilled workers
M ales:
M iscellaneous, direct..................................................................
M iscellaneous, indirect............- ................................................
F em ales: M iscellaneous, direct.....................................................

H arvest hats

Skilled workers
M a le s: M iscellaneous..........................................................................

28

$0.615

43.7

$26.84

55
48
44
79

.548
.372
.597
.452

42.5
41.1
39.1
42.9

23.32
15.27
23.37
19.38

45
35
35
66

.416
.439
.354
.341

38.7
35.9
39.8
38.2

16.09
15.74
14.09
13.03

32
16

.333
.342

41.9
35.9

13.96
12.30

Semiskilled workers
M a le s:
Blockers and pressers....... ..........................................................
Packers...............................................................................................
Sprayers and painters.......... ......................................................
M iscellaneou s..................................................................................
Fem ales:
B an d sewers.......... ................. ........................................................
B in der operators............................................................................
Insp ectors..........................................................................................
M iscellaneous....................... ...........................................................

Unskilled workers
M a le s: M iscellan eou s..........................................................................
Fem ales: M iscellaneou s.....................................................................




MANUFACTURE OF STRAW HATS

33

Among the semiskilled workers in the dress-straw branch, the male
sprayers and painters had the highest average, 60.4 cents an hour.
On the other hand, the male packers averaged only 35.4 cents, which
was the lowest for the semiskilled occupations. The female sewingmachine operators make up the largest occupational group in the
straw-hat industry. Their earnings averaged 43.9 cents an hour,
which was the highest average for the semiskilled females.
There were too few unskilled employees in any separate occupation
to permit the computation of an average.
Relatively few of the occupational groups in the harvest-hat
branch contained enough workers to justify the presentation of aver­
ages. All of the occupations for which averages may be shown were
classed as semiskilled. It will be observed that the male sprayers
and painters had the highest earnings, 59.7 cents an hour. This was
24.3 cents more than the average for female inspectors, who were
the lowest-paid occupational group for which an average was com­
puted.
It is interesting to compare the few occupations which are fairly
comparable as between the dress-straw and the harvest branches.
Thus, the sprayers and painters averaged 60.4 cents in the dressstraw-hat plants, as against 59.7 cents in harvest-hat establishments.
On the other hand, the packers in harvest-hat plants earned 1.8
cents per hour more than the packers in dress-straw-hat establishments.

Effect of Overtime on Hourly Earnings
Of the 26 dress-straw-hat plants included in the survey, 13 paid
extra rates for overtime work during the selected pay-roll period.
The extra payments amounted in all to an average of 0.4 cent an
hour. W ith the inclusion of the extra payments, average hourly
earnings for the dress-straw-hat industry becomes 50.4 cents, as com­
pared with 50.0 cents with the extra overtime pay deducted. In
view of the fact that the extra payments were widely distributed,
it is doubtful if the average for any occupational group would be
increased by as much as 1 cent by the addition of extra overtime
earnings to the wages based on regular rates of pay.
Extra overtime earnings in the harvest-hat branch totaled 0.3
cent an hour. In other words, the average for the entire branch
with extra overtime pay included would have been 44.4 cents, instead
of the 44.1 cents average for earnings at regular rates of pay.
W eekly H ours

Full"Time Hours
O f the 30 establishments in which dress straw or harvest hats were
made, 15 had a normal workweek of 40 hours, 12 plants were on a
44-hour basis, and in 3 establishments part of the employees had a




34

EARNINGS AND HOURS IN HAT INDUSTRIES

40-hour week while some were on a 44-hour basis. The plants hav­
ing a 40-hour week for all workers included 11 dress-straw-hat estab­
lishments, 3 plants in which only harvest hats were made, and 1 pro­
ducing both dress straw and harvest hats. Among the plants on a
44-hour basis, there were 9 dress-straw-hat establishments, 1 plant
making only harvest hats, and 2 plants in which both dress straw
and harvest hats were produced. The 3 plants operating on a com­
bined 40- and 44-hour basis were making only dress-straw hats.
None of the establishments covered in this section of the survey
had multiple-shift operations.

Actual Weekly Hours
The actual time worked for all employees covered in the survey
of the straw-hat industry averaged 41.2 hours per week. The aver­
age for the dress-straw-hat branch was 41.3 hours, as against 40.3
hours in the harvest-hat establishments (table 21). The averages
ranged from 45.2 hours for the small number of unskilled males in
dress-straw-hat plants to 38.2 hours for semiskilled females in the har­
vest-hat branch.
T

a b l e

2 1 . — A v e r a g e w e e k l y h o u r s a n d w e e k l y e a r n i n g s o f s t r a w -h a t w o r k e r s , b y
p r o d u c t y skilly a n d s e x t 1 9 S 9

A ll workers

Skilled workers

Sem iskilled w ork­
ers

U n sk illed workers

P roduct
T o ta l M a le

F e­
m ale

T o ta l M a le

F e­
m ale

T o ta l M a le

F e­
m ale

T o ta l M a le

Fe­
m ale

A verage w eek ly hours

A ll p ro d u c ts______ _________

4 1 .2

4 2 .2

4 0 .2

4 0 .8

4 0 .8

4 0 .8

41.1

43.1

4 0 .2

4 3 .3

4 4 .6

4 0.6

D ress straw h a ts.....................
H arvest hats.............................

4 1.3
4 0 .3

4 2 .2
4 1 .9

4 0 .5
3 8 .0

4 0 .7
43.7

4 0 .7
4 3.7

4 0 .8

4 1.3
40.1

4 4 .0
41.7

4 0 .5
3 8 .2

44.1
3 9 .9

4 5 .2
4 1 .9

4 1.9
0)

A verage w eek ly earnings

A ll products......................... — $20.20 $24.16 $16.53 $29.08 $30.49 $20.29 $17.40 $19.61 $16.44 $13.31 $13.58 $12.77
D ress straw h a ts___________
H arvest h a ts ............................

20.66
17.80

25.14
20.19

16.85
14.34

29.16
26.84

30.64
26.84

20.29

17. 32
17.70

19.22
20.24

16.73
14.52

13.29
13.41

13.47
13.96

12.90
0)

1 N u m b e r of workers not sufficient to Justify com p utation of an average.

The distribution of wage earners according to weekly hours worked
shows that the bulk of them (75.6 percent) averaged between
32 and 44 hours, inclusive. Particularly noticeable is the heavy
concentration (34.7 percent) of workers averaging exactly 44
hours. This, of course, results from the desire of the employer to
operate the maximum number of hours without paying extra over­
time rates, as required by the Fair Labor Standards A ct. Neverthe­
less, about one-seventh (15.2 percent) of the workers averaged over




MANUFACTURE OF STRAW HATS

35

44 hours, and presumably they were paid time and a half for the
hours worked beyond the normal allowed under the act. About
one-sixth (16.2 percent) of the workers in the industry as a whole
were employed exactly 40 hours.

Weekly Earnings 16
As shown in table 21, the weekly earnings of all employees in the
straw-hat industry averaged $20.20 during the selected pay-roll period.
The level of earnings was somewhat higher in the dress-straw than in
the harvest-hat establishments, the respective weekly averages being
$20.66 and $17.80. Comparison of the averages by skill and sex
show that this difference was due primarily to the higher earnings of
skilled workers in dress-straw-hat plants. Moreover, it will be ob­
served, the average for these employees was lower in the harvest-hat
plants despite the fact that their actual workweek was 3 hours longer
than that of the skilled workers in the dress straw-hat plants. The
differences as between dress-straw and harvest hats were relatively
minor for the other sex and skill groups.
The distribution for all employees in the industry shows that
four-fifths (79.7 percent) averaged between $10 and $30 a week.
There were 14.9 percent paid $30 or more, and 5.4 percent received
under $10.
i® I t should be rem em bered that all w eek ly earnings data presented in this report are based on regular
rates of pa y, excluding extra earnings for overtim e.




Manufacture of Hat Materials

Analysis of Sample
The hat-materials industry includes establishments producing
hatters’ fur, hat linings, sweat bands, and ribbons for hats. The most
important of these products is hatters’ fur, which is the basic raw
material used in the manufacture of fur-felt hats. According to the
Census of Manufactures, the value of hatters’ fur produced in 1937
amounted to $9,681,184, which was over 60 percent of the combined
value of all hat and cap materials.

On the basis of number of employees, as shown in this survey, it is
estimated that about 75 percent of the fur cutting for the hat industry
is done in independent establishments. Most of this output is pro­
duced for sale, but there is also a small amount of fur cutting on a
contract basis. The remaining 25 percent is made up of the fur cut
by a few large hat plants for their own use.
Aside from hatters’ fur, the principal products included under the
designation of hat materials are leathers or sweat bands, linings, and
bands. These are usually made in small independent plants that
specialize in such products. One of the large integrated hat companies
makes all types of trimmings for its own use, while several plants make
their own linings. In addition, the industry contains a number of
small contract shops that do leather reeding, tip (lining) printing, or
leather stamping on a commission basis.
The Bureau’s survey of the hat-materials industry covered 3,126
wage earners, employed in 52 establishments.1 This includes 21
7
independent fur-cutting plants, 4 fur-cutting departments operated
in hat factories, 10 establishments making sweat bands, 6 plants pro­
ducing hat linings, and 11 establishments which made ribbons for hat
bands. In addition, one large company is represented by both a fur­
cutting and a trimmings department. The number of wage earners
covered total 1,785 in hatters’ fur and 1,341 in trimmings plants. As
hat-trimmings plants are small, the coverage in this branch was
extended to include plants having 5 or more wage earners.

All of the establishments covered in this part of the survey were in
or near the principal hat centers, such as Philadelphia, New York
City, northern New Jersey, and the Danbury, Conn., area. Connecti­
cut was the leading State in fur-cutting, with 15 plants employing 965
wage earners. About one-third of these workers were employed in the
fur-cutting departments of establishments producing hat bodies.
it

A s noted before, the report of the C ensus of M anu factures covering this indu stry includes both hat and

cap m aterials, no break-dow n separating the tw o kind s of products.

H ence, no com parison can be m ade

betw een the coverage of the su rvey and the data show n b y the census.

36




MANUFACTURE OF HAT MATERIALS

37

New Jersey ranked second in importance with 6 plants (all independent
establishments), employing 471 wage earners. The remaining hatters’
fur plants covered by the survey included 2 in New York, 1 in M assa­
chusetts, and 1 in Pennsylvania.
Of the 28 trimmings plants, 11, with 452 workers, were in New
Y ork; 5, with 429 wage earners, in Pennsylvania; 9, employing 344
workers, in New Jersey; and 3, with 116 workers, in Connecticut. A
majority of the hat-band producers were in Paterson, N . J., which is
the center of the silk industry.
Trade-union organization is not common in the hatters’ fur branch
of the industry. Collective agreements were found in only four estab­
lishments. In each instance, the employees were represented by the
United Hatters, Cap, and Millinery Workers’ Union.
On the other hand, a large majority of the trimmings plants had
agreements with labor organizations. Several international unions
were represented, including not only the United Hatters, Cap, and
Millinery Workers, but the United Textile Workers and the United
Leather Workers. Members of the latter organizations were found,
respectively, in the silk hat-band plants and in the leather establish­
ments.

Composition of Labor Force

Because of the miscellaneous nature of the products included under
the general designation of hat materials, a description of the labor force
in the industry as a whole conveys an inadequate picture of the
situation in any single plant. In fact, only the hatters’ fur branch is
sufficiently homogeneous in this respect to justify such an analysis.
In the hatters’ fur branch, over three-fifths (61.8 percent) of the
workers were males (table 22). The majority of the occupations were
classed as semiskilled, 70.0 percent of the workers being in this cate­
gory. The proportions of semiskilled employees differed considerably
between the 2 sexes, however. Of the 1,104 males, 60.5 percent were
semiskilled, 30.4 percent unskilled, and only 9.1 percent were in
skilled jobs. Among the females, on the other hand, none were classed
as skilled, while 85.5 percent were semiskilled, and 14.5 percent un­
skilled.
The greatest variation among plants with respect to composition of
the labor force is found in the trimmings branch. This is not sur­
prising, in view of the fact that these establishments include some that
are engaged exclusively in tanning and dyeing leathers, others that
specialize in printing and gold stamping, and still others that weave or
braid silk for hat bands.




38
T able

.

22 —

EARNINGS AND HOURS IN HAT INDUSTRIES
D i s t r i b u t i o n o f w o r k e r s c o v er ed i n s u r v e y o f h a t -m a t e r i a ls i n d u s t r y , b y
p ro d u c t, sk illt a n d se x , 1 9 3 9

A ll workers

Skilled workers

Semiskilled w ork­
ers

U n skilled workers

P roduct
T o ta l

M a le

Fe­
T o ta l M a le
m ale

Fe­
T o ta l M a le
m ale

Fe­
T o ta l M a le
m ale

Fe­
m ale

A ll products.......... ...................

3,126 1,792 1,334

605

535

70 1,861

832 1,029

660

425

235

Hatters* fnr_ _
T r im m i n g s ^ ____________

1,785 1,104
1,341
688

100
505

100
435

1,250
611
70

668
164

435
225

336
89

99
136

681
653

582
447

Percentage distribution

100.0

57.3

42.7

19.4

17.1

100.0
T r im m in g s .............................. .. 100.0

61.8
51.3

38.2
48.7

5.6
37.7

5.6
32.5

A ll produ cts.............................

Hatters’ fnr

2.3

59.5

26.6

32.9

21.1

13.6

7.5

5.2

70.0
45.5

37.4
12.2

32.6
33.3

24.4
16.8

18.8
6.6

5.6
10.2

In the trimmings branch, the labor force consists of about equal
numbers of the two sexes, the proportions being 51.3 percent males and
48.7 percent females. A majority of the males were skilled, whereas
most of the females were in semiskilled and unskilled occupations.

Average Hourly Earnings
Although piece-rate systems of wage payment were in effect in all
but four of the hat-materials plants, the number of employees on
piece work amounted to only 32.7 percent of the total labor force in
the hatters’ fur and 39.2 percent in the trimmings plants. Among the
occupations in fur-cutting establishments in which substantial num­
bers of piece workers were found were carroters, clippers, and openers.
In the trimmings plants, a majority of the piece workers were found
among the cutters, lining makers, warpers, and weavers.
The number of employees working under production-bonus systems
amounted to less than 1 percent of the total labor force in the hatmaterials industry as a whole.
The distribution of individual earnings, as shown in table 23, cov­
ered an effective range from 25 cents to about $1.20 an hour, within
which were found all but 1.2 percent of the total workers. In terms
of a uniform 5-cent class interval, the principal concentration (22.5
percent) was between 37.5 and 42.5 cents. The majority of the hourly
earnings (55.1 percent) fell within the range from 35 to 57.5 cents.
However, as many as one-third (34.9 percent) of the workers averaged
57.5 cents and over. On the other hand, exactly one-tenth received
under 35 cents, while the number averaging under 25 cents was negli­
gible.




39

MANUFACTURE OF H AT MATERIALS

T able 2 3 . —

P er cen ta g e

d i s t r ib u t io n o f h a t -m a t e r ia ls w o r k e r s ,
e a r n i n g s , skilly a n d s e x f 1 9 3 9

a v era g e

Sem iskilled
workers

SkiDed
w o rk e rs1

AD workers

by

h o u r ly

U nskilled
workers

A verage ho u rly earnings
T o ta l M a le

U n d e r 25.0 cents
_
_ _
E x a c tly 25.0 c e n ts, _ _
25.1 and under 27.5 cents..................
27.5 and under 30.0 cents..................
30.0 and under 32.5 cents..................
32.5 an d under 35.0 c e n t s ................
35.0 and under 37.5 c e n ts.................
37.5 and under 40.0 cents............... ..
40.0 and under 42.5 cents.................
42.5 an d 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 c e n ts.................
72.5 and under 77.5 cents.................
77.5 and under 82.5 cents
82.5 and under 87.6 cents..................
87.5 and under 02.6 cents
02.5 and un der 100.0 cents
100.0 and under 110.0 cents __
110.0 and under 120.0 cents
120.0 cents and over

0 .1
1 .2
1 .2
1 .8
3 .7
2 .0
6 .3
12.5

10.0
8 .4
8 .9
9 .0
4 .9
4 .1
4 .1
4 .4
3 .0
3 .2
3 .4

2.8
2 .7
1 .2
1 .1

T o ta l............................................... 100.0

0 .1
.7
.7
.9
2 .2
1 .0
2 .0
2 .8
4 .1
7 .3
10.3
12.5
6 .0
6 .5
6 .3
6 .9
5 .0
5 .5
5 .7
4 .9
4 .6

2.1

F e­
T o ta l M a le T o ta l
m ale

0 .2
2 .0
1 .9
2 .8
5 .8
3 .3
1 2.0
2 5.8
18.2
10.0
7 .0
4 .3
3 .4
.7
1.1
.9

.2

.1
.2
.1

1 .9
100.0

100.0

0 .2
.3
.2
.7
1 .2
.3
.5
1 .3
3 .6
6 .0
7 .3
6 .1
6 .0
7 .9
9 .3
6 .9
7 .9
7 .9
9 .9
8 .1
4 .3
5 .1
100.0

0 .2

0 .2

"*".Y

1 .2
1 .2
3 .3
2 .0
7 .0
16.2
11.5
8 .0
9 .2
10.9
5 .4
3 .1
3 .8
3 .9
2 .4
2 .7
3 .1
1 .5
1 .8

M a le

.2
.4
.4
2 .2
2 .8
5 .8
6 .0
6 .5
8 .6
9 .8
7 .7
8 .8

8.8
11.1
9 .2
4 .9
5 .8

100.0

.8

0 .4

"” .T
1 .2
.5
1 .2
1 .2
3 .8
5 .6
12.0
19.1
7 .3

6.0

Fe­
T o ta l M a le
m ale

0 .3
1.1
2 .2
2 .0
5 .1
3 .2
11.7
2 8.4
17.8
9 .8
6 .9
4 .3
3 .9

.8

7 .1
7 .7
5 .2

1 .1
.9

.2

6.0
6.6

.6
.2

3 .2
4 .0
1 .3
.4

100.0

100.0

.1

100.0

3 .8
2 .0
4 .7
7 .7
2 .7
9 .7
13.3
13.9
14.2
11.5
5 .5

2 .1
2 .8
3 .3
6 .8
2 .6
5 .9
9 .2
9 .4
17.0
16.3
8 .5
3 .3
7 .5
1 .9

2.1
5 .0
1 .5
1 .1
.9
.2

F e­
m ale

6 .8
.4
7 .2
9 .4
3 .0
16.6
20.9

22.0
9 .4

3 .0
_____
__
.4
.9

1.6 _____
1 .4
.2

.2

.2

100.0 100.0

100.0

i N u m b e r of fem ale w orkers not sufficient to ju stify com p utation of a d istribution.

M ale wage earners averaged 65.1 cents an hour as against 40.6
cents for females, a difference of 24.5 cents. This difference declined
with skill, amounting to 30.7 cents for the skilled, 24.2 cents for semi­
skilled, and only 8.7 cents for the unskilled employees.
T

a b l e

2 4 . — A v e r a g e h o u r l y e a r n i n g s o f h a t-m a te r ia ls w o r k e r s , b y p r o d u c t, s k i l l , a n d
sex, 1 9 3 9

AD workers

Semiskilled
workers

SkiDed workers

UnskiDed
workers

Product
T o ta l

M a le

Fe­
T o ta l M a le
m ale

F e­
T o ta l M a le
m ale

F e­
T o ta l
m ale

M a le

F e­
m ale

AJ1 p roducts............................. $0,552 $0,651 $0.406 $0,790 $0,821 $0.514 $0,520 $0.649 $0,407 $0,427 $0,455 $0.368
H atters’ fu r—...........................
T r im m in g s ................................

.527
.588

.612
.715

.377
.437

.739
.802

.739
.842

"5 1 4

.539
.480

.671
.558

.380
.446

.446
.385

.468
.402

.361
.373

Variations by Product
Examination of the plant averages shows that, of the 25 hatters'
fur establishments, 5 averaged under 42.5 cents an hour, 6 between
45 and 50, 8 between 50 and 55, 3 between 55 and 60, and 3 over 60
cents. Of the 28 plants producing hat trimmings, on the other hand,
5 had averages between 42.5 and 50 cents, 9 between 50 and 55, 2
between 55 and 60, 6 between 60 and 65, and 6 over 65 cents.




40

E A R N IN G S

AND

HOURS

IN

HAT

IN D U S T R IE S

The hourly earnings of all workers in the hat-trimmings branch
averaged 58.8 cents, or 6.1 cents higher than the average shown for
employees in the hatters’ fur establishments. This was not true,
however, of all skill-sex groups. The average hourly earnings of
semiskilled and unskilled males were higher in the hatters’ fur than
in the hat-trimmings branch, respectively, by 11.3 cents and 6.6
cents. On the other hand, the hourly earnings of skilled males in
hat-trimmings establishments exceeded the average for skilled males
in hatters’ fur plants by 10.3 cents. Likewise, semiskilled females
averaged 6.6 cents more in the hat-trimmings than in the hatters’ fur
branch, while unskilled females averaged 1.2 cents more in the former
than in the latter.
Table 25 shows the frequency distributions of individual earnings in
the two branches of the industry.
T

a b l e

2 5 .— P er c e n ta g e d istrib u tio n o f ha t-m a teria ls w orkers , b y average h ou rly
ea r n in g s , p ro d u ct , a n d s ex , 1 9 3 9
A ll products

H atters’ fur

T r im m in g s

A verage hourly earnings
F e­
m ale

T o ta l

TTnder 25.0 cents
_
_ . ,T
E x actly 25.0 cents..........................................
25.1 and under 27.5 cen ts_______ _______
27.5 and un der 30.0 cents_______________
30.0 and under 32.5 cen ts. .........................
32.5 and under 35.0 cents............ ...............
35.0 and under 37.5 cen ts...........................
37.5 and under 40.0 cents...........................
40.0 and under 42.5 cen ts______ ________
42.5 and under 47.5 cen ts............ ...............
47.5 and under 52.5 cen ts.......... .................
52.5 and under 57.5 cents............................
57.5 and un der 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 c e n t s ...................... .
82.5 and under 87.5 cents
_ .
87.5 and un der 92.5 c e n t s ______
92.5 and under 100.0 cen ts_____________
100.0 and under 110.0 cents
110.0 and under 120.0 cents
_
120.0 cents and o v e r ____
T o ta l_______________________ ______

M a le

0 .1
1 .2
1 .2
1 .8
3 .7
2 .0
6 .3
12.5
10.0
8 .4
8 .9
9 .0
4 .9
4 .1
4 .1
4 .4
3 .0
3 .2
3 .4
2 .8
2 .7
1 .2
1 .1

0 .1
.7
.7
.9
2 .2
1 .0
2 .0
2 .8
4 .1
7 .3
10.3
12.5
6 .0
6 .5
6 .3
6 .9
5 .0
5 .5
5 .7
4 .9
4 .6
2 .1
1 .9

0 .2
2 .0
1 .9
2 .8
5 .8
3 .3
12 .0
2 5 .8
1 8 .2
1 0.0
7 .0
4 .3
3 .4
.7
1 .1
.9
.2
.1
.2

100.0

100.0

100.0

.1

T o ta l

M a le

0 .1
1 .5
1 .8
2 .1
3 .9
2 .2
5 .9
16.4
8 .6
8 .4
9 .7
8 .2
3 .2
4 .7
4 .1
4 .6
3 .1
3 .2
3 .3
1 .9
2 .1
.8
.2

0 .5
L0
.6
2 .0
1 .2
2 .4
3 .5
5 .5
8 .7
1 2 .2
12 .0
5 .2
7 .6
6 .5
7 .3
5 .1
5 .2
5 .3
3 .1
3 .4
1 .3
.4

100.0

100.0

F e­
m ale

0 .3
2 .9
3 .2
4 .4
6 .9
3 .8
11 .7
37.1
1 3.6
7 .9
5 .4
2 .1
.1
.3
.3

100.0

F e­
m ale

T o ta l

M a le

0 .1
1 .0
.4
1 .3
3 6
1 .7
6 .7
7 .7
1 2 .2
8 .5
7 .8
10.1
7 .0
3 .2
4 .0
4 .0
2 .8
3 .1
3 .4
4 .0
3 .5
1 .7
2 .2

0 .1
.9
.1
1 .5
2 .5
.7
1 .5
1 .7
1 .9
5 .1
7 .1
1 3.4
7 .3
4 .8
6 .0
6 .2
4 .9
6 .0
6 .2
7 .7
6 .7
3 .3
4 .4

0 .2
1 .1
.6
1 .2
4 .7
2 .8
12.3
1 3.8
2 2 .9
12.1
8 .6
6 .6
6 .7
1 .5
2 .0
1 .5
.5
.2
.5

100.0

100.0

100.0

.2

Earnings in Relation to Fair Labor Standards Act

Not only was the number of employees in the hat-materials in­
dustry averaging under 25 cents an hour negligible at the time of the
survey, but there were also relatively few (1.2 percent) paid exactly
25 cents. Although the proportion receiving exactly 25 cents
amounted to as much as 6.8 percent in the case of unskilled females,
the actual number of workers involved in this group is insignificant.
The number of workers averaging under 30 cents an hour, which
becomes the minimum rate after October 24, 1939, amounted to 4.3




M ANUFACTURE

OF

HAT

M A T E R IA L S

41

percent of the total labor force. Among the skill-sex groups, the
only ones that will be affected materially are the semiskilled females
and the unskilled males and females, the respective percentages in
each group earning under 30 cents being 5.6, 8.2, and 14.4.
The number of workers averaging under 40 cents an hour amounted
to over one-fourth, 28.8 percent, of the total labor force. Very few
skilled males received less than this figure, the proportion being 1.6
percent. Among the semiskilled workers only 4.7 percent of the
males, as against 54.0 percent of the females, averaged under 40 cents.
The proportion of workers averaging under 40 cents amounted to 32.7
percent of the unskilled males and 64.3 percent of the unskilled
females.
Occupational Differences

Occupational averages for both branches of the hat-materials
industry are shown in table 26, but there were too few employees
in any single skilled occupation in the hatters’ fur branch to permit
the computation of separate averages for them.
The carroters, who constituted the principal male occupational
class of the hatters’ fur branch, averaged 75.7 cents an hour. This
was 3.7 cents lower than the figure for clippers, who averaged 79.4
cents, but substantially higher than the hourly earnings of the remain­
ing semiskilled males. The female fur sorters, who are classed as
semiskilled, composed the largest occupational group in the hatmaterials industry. They were also the lowest-paid occupation
for which separate data may be presented, averaging only 36.6 cents.
Among the unskilled workers, the male drummers had the highest
average, namely, 50.2 cents an hour. The lowest hourly earnings
for the males were received by the brushers, who averaged 42.5 cents.
It will be observed that for brushers and dryers and spreaders, in
which both sexes were employed, the males earned more than the
females, the difference being 3.7 cents for brushers and 7.7 cents for
dryers and spreaders.
In the hat-trimmings branch of the industry, the average hourly
earnings of skilled males ranged from 95.5 cents for cutters to 82.8
cents for weavers, if the miscellaneous class is excluded. It will be
observed that male weavers averaged considerably more than fe­
males, whose hourly earnings amounted to only 49.6 cents. Among
semiskilled females, the highest average hourly earnings, namely,
53.0 cents, were reported for warpers. This figure was even higher
than the average of the female weavers, who are classed as skilled
employees. The semiskilled female lining makers averaged 49.6
cents. The lowest average for semiskilled females was 39.5 cents for
pickers. Occupational averages could not be shown for the semi­
skilled males and both male and female unskilled workers.




4 2

E A R N IN G S

AND

H OU RS IN

HAT

IN D U S T R IE S

T able 26 .— A v era g e h o u rly ea r n in g s , w eek ly h o u rs, a n d w eek ly ea r n in g s , o f hatm aterials w orkers, b y p ro d u ct, skiU , sex, a n d occu p a tion , 19 89
c='

■---- ........................— l .._,
:-

— z ..=
N um ber
of
workers

Skill, sex, and occupation

A verage
hourly
earnings

Average
w eek ly
hours

Average
w eek ly
earnings

H atters’ fur

Skilled workers
M a le s :
M iscellan eou s, direct
M iscella n eou s,in d ire ct

50
50

.

$0,784
.6 9 6

4 2 .3
44.1

$33.14
30.69

184
163
125
124
45
27

.7 5 7
.7 9 4
.5 7 9
.5 6 5
.5)81
.562

3 5.7
36.7
3 9 .2
4 2 .2
4 0 .4
4 2 .4

27.02
29.14
22.67
23.83
23.49
23.85

883
135
64

.3 6 6
.403
.411

3 6 .1
3 5 .6
3 9 .8

13.21
14.37
16.36

61
35
78
26
136

.425
.5 0 2
.444
.441
.498

3 9.3
4 5 .6
4 4 .2
4 9 .0
4 1 .0

16.74
22.89
19.61
21.59
20.43

30
28
41

.3 8 8
.3 6 7
.3 3 9

37.1
40.1
37 .4

14.37
14.70
12.68

Semiskilled workers
M a le s :
Harroters .....
C lippers ................
F u r c u tte r s. ____________________________________________
B low ers an d m ixers_____________________________________
M iscellan eou s, direct___________________________________
M iscellaneous! indirect. ...
Fem ales:
F u r sorters
. . .
Openers
M iscellaneous

Unskilled workers
M a le s:
■finishers
. . . . . . _____ . . .
____
D ru m m ers________________________________________________
D ryers and spreaders___________________________________
W atch m e n
........
M iscellaneous, d irect..
_
____
Fem ales:
B rushers__________________________________________________
D ryers ftnd spreaders
M iscellaneou s, direct

H a t trim m in gs

Skilled workers
M a le s :
G u tters___________________________________________________
Forem en, w orking
.........
Printers
.
. . _
W e a v e rs__________________________________________________
M iscellaneou s____________________________________________
F em ales:
W e a v e rs__________________________________________________
M iscellaneous
.......................................
. . . ...

41
37
98
168
91

$0.955
.8 9 7
.857
.828
.774

3 9 .0
4 0 .5
4 1 .9
3 5.4
3 7.3

$37.20
86.33
85.93
29.28
28.86

45
25

.4 9 6
.541

31.1
3 8.2

15.42
20.69

Semiskilled workers
M a le s: M iscellaneous _ _ .................. .
Fem ales:
P ickers____________________________________________________
L in in g m akers___________________________________________
W a rp e rs____ __ ___________________________________________
W in d e rs and reelers
_
M iscellaneous
_____ .. . _

164

.558

3 9.4

22.02

49
149
46
79
124

.3 9 5
.496
.5 3 0
.411
.4 0 0

3 0.3
35.3
3 0.5
3 2 .0
37.1

11.97
17.48
16.19
13.14
14.85

89
136

.4 0 2
.3 7 3

39.1
3 6 .0

15.72
13.40

Unskilled workers
M alegt M iscellaneous
F em ales: M iscellaneous

. ..

.

. .
_ . .

Effect of Overtime on Hourly Earnings

Of the 25 hatters’ fur plants, 13 paid extra rates for overtime worked
during the selected pay-roll period. In most cases, the overtime was
paid at the rate of time and a half after 44 hours per week, in accord­
ance with the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. A few
establishments allowed time and a half after 8 hours in any day or
after 40 hours per week. For the branch as a whole, the addition of
all extra overtime pay would increase the average by only 0.4 cent.




M ANUFACTURE

OF H A T

M A T E R IA L S

43

Extra overtime payments were also made by a number of establish­
ments in the trimmings branch of the industry. Several plants paid
time and a third after 40 hours and time and a half after 44 hours per
week. In this, as in the hatters’ fur branch, the total amount of
extra overtime payments increased the industry average by 0.4 cent.
W eekly Hours
Full-Time Hours

The majority of plants making hat materials were operating on a
40-hour basis during the pay-roll period covered by the survey. The
total in this group included 17 fur-cutting establishments, 24 plants
making hat trimmings, and 1 large integrated plant that produces
both hatters’ fur and hat trimmings. The normal workweek con­
sisted of 44 hours in 6 establishments, including 4 engaged in process­
ing hatters’ fur and 2 in making hat trimmings. In 3 fur-cutting
plants, some of the workers had a 40-hour week and others were on a
44-hour basis. One hat-trimmings establishment had a normal
workweek of 42 %hours.
Only two hatters’ fur plants and one hat-trimmings establishment
employed workers on extra shifts. In all cases, however, the multipleshift operation was confined to only a few operators. No wage
differentials between shifts were reported.
Actual Weekly Hours

The actual weekly hours of all employees in the hat-materials in­
dustry averaged 37.8 (table 27). The workers in hatters’ fur estab­
lishments averaged 38.8 hours, which may be compared with 36.5
hours for those in hat-trimmings plants. The averages for the various
sex and skill groups ranged from 43.2 hours for skilled males in the
hatters’ fur branch to 33.6 hours for skilled females in hat-trimmings
establishments. The actual average weekly hours were shorter in
the hat-trimmings than in the hatters’ fur branch for every skill-sex
group except the semiskilled males, who averaged 1 hour more in the
former than in the latter.
Over three-fourths (77.6 percent) of the workers averaged between
32 and 44 hours, inclusive, per week. The wide prevalence of the
40-hour week is demonstrated by the fact that over one-third (36.4
percent) of the hatters’ fur workers and one-half (50.7 percent) of the
hat-trimmings plant employees worked exactly 40 hours. On the
other hand, 18.4 percent in the fur-cutting establishments, as against
6.0 percent in the trimmings branch, worked exactly 44 hours. The
proportion of employees working under 32 hours amounted to 14.7
percent in hatters’ fur, as compared with 16.7 percent in hat trimmings.
The number of workers employed over 44 hours amounted to 8.0




44

E A R N IN G S

AND

HOURS IN

HAT

IN D U S T R IE S

percent of the labor force in the h a tted fur branch and 5.3 percent
in the hat-trimmings plants. Virtually all of these employees in
both branches were males.
W eekly Earnings1
8

The weekly earnings of all employees scheduled in the survey of
the hat-materials industry averaged $20.89 (table 27). The averages
for the two branches were quite similar, amounting to $20.45 in
hatters’ fur and $21.47 in hat trimmings. Although the actual
workweek in fur plants exceeded that in hat-trimmings establishments
by 2.3 hours, the average weekly earnings in the latter were slightly
higher than in the former, due to the higher level of hourly earnings.
An outstanding feature in both branches is the marked difference
between the average weekly earnings of males and females. Thus,
in the hatters’ fur branch males averaged $24.54, as against $13.82
for females, a difference of $10.72. In the hat-trimmings plants, the
weekly earnings of males averaged $27.54 or $12.46 more than the
average for females.
In the industry as a whole 72.9 percent of the workers received
between $10 and $30 per week. About one-tenth (9.6 percent)
received under $10, while 17.5 percent were paid $30 or more.

T a b l e 2 7 . — A v era g e

w e e k ly h ou rs an d w eek ly e a rn in g s o f h a t-m aterials w o rk ers, by
p ro d u ct , skilly a n d s ex , 1 9 8 9

All workers
Product

Skilled workers

Semiskilled
workers

Unskilled
workers

Fe­
Fe­
Fe­
Fe­
Total Male male Total Male male Total Male male Total Male male
Average weekly hours

All products............. .......... 37.8 39.5 35.6 38.4 39.0 33.6 36.8 38.6 35.4 40.0 41.8 36.8
37.5 38.4 36.4 41.5 42.5 38.1
Hatters' fur........................ 38.8 40.1 36.6 43.2 43.2
Trimmings......................... 36.5 38.5 34.5 37.4 38.0 *33.6 35.6 39.4 34.2 37.2 39.1 36.0
Average weekly earnings
All products........................ $20.89 $25.69 $14.44 $30.31 $32.02 $17.31 $19.17 $25.03 $14.44 $17.08 $19.04 $13.56
Hatters’ fur.......................... 20.45 24.54 13.82 31.92 31.92
20.21 25.77 13.82 18.51 19.91 13.76
Trimmings................... ....... 21.47 27.54 15.08 30.00 32.04 “17731 17.07 22.02 15.25 14.32 15.72 13.40
i8 It should be remembered that all weekly earnings data presented in this report are based on regular
rates of pay, excluding extra rates paid for overtime.




O