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Job P ro sp e cts
D uties

g ig

W orking Conditions


James P. Mitchell, Secretary

Ewan Clague, Commissioner






Bulletin No. 1151
James P. Mitchell, Secretary
Ewan Clague, Commissioner

In cooperation with


 For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office Washington 25, D. C. - Price 30 ceqls



United States Department of Labor,
Bureau of Labor Statistics,
Washington, D. C. , September 1, 1953.

The Secretary of Labor:
have the honor to transmit herewith a report on the employ­
ment outlook in the industrial chemical industry. This is one of a
series of Occupational Outlook studies for use in vocational counseling
of veterans, young people in schools, and others interested in choosing
a field of work.
The study was conducted in the Bureau’ s Division of Manpower
and Employment Statistics. The present report was prepared by
Sol Swerdloff and Evelyn R. Kay. It is a revision and enlargement of
a pamphlet prepared in the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but financed
and published in 1952 by the Veterans Administration for use in
vocational rehabilitation and educational activities. The original
Veterans Administration pamphlet was prepared by Raymond Larson
and William Shickler. The Bureau wishes to acknowledge the generous
assistance received in connection with this study from the Manufacturing
Chemists Association and from officials of labor unions, other govern­
ment agencies, and various chemical manufacturing firm s.

Ewan Clague, Commissioner.

Hon. James P. Mitchell,
Secretary of Labor*


p * ge
The industrial chemical industry..............................................
Location of industrial chemical p la n ts.......................................
Employment is concentrated in large p la n ts............................


Major products and their u s e s ...........................................................
Inorganic chemicals are used throughout industry.................
Organic chemicals are more commonly known to the
p u b lic......................


How industrial chemicals are m a d e ................................................


Jobs in the industry ................................................................................
Technical occupations.......................................................................
Administrative, clerical, and related occupations................
Plant occupations................................................................................
Jobs for w om en..........................................................................


Earnings and working conditions........................................................
Other employee ben efits..................................................................
Working conditions...............
Labor organizations..........................................................................


Employment trends and outlook........................................................
Industry developed rapidly since World War I ......................
Employment outlook favorable .....................................



Location of chemical jobs is rapidly changing....................



Distribution of employment in the industrial chemical
industry by size of establishment, 1947 .............................



Average straight-time hourly earnings in selected
occupations in the industrial chemical industry,
United States and selected regions, October - November
1 9 5 1 ....................................................................................................



P age



N e a r ly h a lf o f th e w o r k e r s

m a k in g in d u s tr ia l c h e m ic a ls

are employed in five States ........................... ..



Production of synthetic fib e r s ..................................................



Production of plastics materials. ...........................................



Production of synthetic rubber.............................



Production of industrial alcoh ol..............................................




Processing equipment workers make up largest occu­
p a tio n a l g ro u p





i n i n d u s t r i a l c h e m i c a l i n d u s t r y .........................

1 4

The industrial chemical industry has a good safety
re c o r d ...........................................................................................


Employment in the industrial chemical industry
1939-1953 .....................................


Industrial chemical output has risen more rapidly
th an a ll m a n u fa c tu r in g p r o d u c tio n

P h o to grap h s a re
S t.

Com pany,

T o le d o ,

L o u is,

M is s o u r i; th e L ib b e y ,

O w ens,

C h e m ic a l

and F o rd

O h io ; th e D a v is o n C h e m i c a l C o r p o r a t io n ,

O h io ; a n d th e M a n u fa c t u r in g

In c. , W a sh in g to n ,

3 0

th ro u g h th e c o u r t e s y o f th e M o n s a n to

Com pany,
C in c in n a ti,

. ......................




C h e m ists A s so c ia tio n ,

G la ss


During the last 25 years, the industrial chemical industry has
become one of the Nation’ s major industries. The public is generally
unaware of the millions of tons of industrial chemicals produced
yearly because most of these chemicals never reach the consumer in
the form in which they leave the factory. This industry, however, is
one of the Nation’ s largest material suppliers; its products are used
as raw materials or as processing agents by almost every manu­
facturing industry. It also has an important defense role since the
manufacture of armaments and munitions requires many types of in­
dustrial chemicals. The more than 1, 000 industrial chemical plants
are widely dispersed throughout the country. They make thousands
of chemicals ranging from sulfuric acid and chlorine to rayon and
synthetic rubber.
The long-range employment outlook for the industry is favorable,
the steady expansion of employment in the past quarter-century is
expected to continue. At the beginning of 1953, the industry employed
more than 350, 000 wage and salary workers. It provides many job
opportunities for men and women in a wide range of occupations.
Training requirements vary from college degrees for chemists and
engineers to a few days of on-the-job training for some of the le s s skilled plant workers. About 15 percent of the industry’ s work force
are women. Earnings compare favorably with other manufacturing
industries, and working conditions are relatively good.
This report outlines the trends of employment and production
in the industry and discusses the employment outlook. It presents
the duties and training requirements for some of the important
occupations and it provides information regarding earnings and
working conditions.
Industrial chemicals are produced primarily for use by
other industries in further manufacturing. ’Industrial chemicals
are distinguished from other chemical products, such as pharma­
ceuticals and fertilizers, which go directly to the consumer with­
out additional processing. The industrial chemical industry1 is
composed of plants primarily engaged in manufacturing basic in­
dustrial inorganic and organic chemicals. Industrial inorganic
1 The definition of the industry used in this report covers industrial
groups 281 (industrial Inorganic Chemicals) and 282 (industrial
Organic Chemicals) of the Standard Industrial Classification
Manual, Bureau of the Budget, November 1945.

(1 )

C hart 1. More Than Three-Fifths of the W orkers Making Industrial
Chemicals Are Employed in Eight S tates, 1953





chemicals are those produced from inorganic matter such as salt,
sulfur, mineral ores, limestone, air, and water. Basic chemicals
in this segment of the industry include acids, salts, and alkalies.
Industrial organic chemicals are derived from once-living matter,
such as agricultural and forest products, coal, and petroleum.
Included in this group are synthetic fibers, synthetic rubber,
plastics, dyes, explosives, and coal-tar products, such as cresols
and benzene.
Location of industrial chemical plants
There are more than 1, 000 industrial c h e m i c a l p l a n t s
scattered throughout the country with almost every State having
at least one plant. There are a number of factors affecting the
location of these plants. To minimize transportation costs,
establishments making inorganic chemicals are usually located
near the source of raw materials. For example, plants produc­
ing salts and alkalies are located near great underground deposits
of salts (such as are found in Louisiana) which are pumped to the
surface as brine and then converted. Other types of chemical
plants are located near the users of their products. Because of
the large amount of space required for plants and the problem
of disposal of waste products and gases, many plants are located
in rural areas or on the outskirts of industrial centers.
Nearly one-half of the work force in the industrial chemical
industry is concentrated in the Middle Atlantic and the South Atlantic
States (chart l). The other large concentration of employment is in
the East North Central and the East South Central States. Tennessee,
Virginia, New York, New Jersey, and West Virginia employ the
greatest numbers of industrial chemical workers. These States
account for almost half of the industry*s total employment. Other
States with a large number of industrial chemical workers are
Texas, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Delaware.
Although the number of industrial chemical workers has in­
creased in every region since 1939, there has been a gradual geo­
graphic shift in employment in the industry. The Middle Atlantic
and the South Atlantic States, the two regions employing the great­
est number of workers, had a smaller proportion of the industry*s
employment in 1953 than in 1939 (table l). The greatest proportion­
ate increase during this period occurred in the West South Central,
Mountain, and Pacific Coast regions.


Table 1.
Estimated Employment in Industrial Chemical Industry by Region,
1939 and February 1953
February 1953

Averagee 1939







100. 0


100. 0

New England_______
Middle Atlantic, __
East North Centrals
West North CentralSouth Atlantic_—
East South CentralWest South Central—

3, 500

2. 8
20. 9
17. 2
2. 9
13. 7
9. 6
1. 0
6. 5

M m m tq in

... .T _


Pacific Coast ______

44,300 '
5, 300

2. 8
35. 5
15. 8
1. 8
28. 0
10. 3
3 .4

Employment is concentrated in large plants
The industrial chemical industry consists of some 1, 000
plants ranging in size from those employing only a few workers
to those with more than 12, 000 employees. The majority of the
plants are small; but employment is concentrated in the larger
establishments, particularly in those plants producing organic
chemicals. The 1947 Census of Manufactures shows that about
46 percent of the workers in plants making organic chemicals
were employed in 23 establishments each having 2, 500 or more
workers* (table 2). In contrast, 351 of the 563 organic chemical plants in 1947 had less than 100 workers each and employed
only about 5 percent of the total number of workers. Employment
in the inorganic chemical segment of the industry is not concentra­
ted in large plaptS' to the same extent as in the organic segment.
The 15 largest inorganic chemical establishments, each having
1,000 or more workers, employed about 38 percent of all the
workers in that segment.
^By way of comparison, less than one—
fifth of all manufacturing em—
ployees in the United States worked in establishments with 2, 500 or
more employees.

- 5-

Table 2.

Organic chemicals
Manufac tur ing
with average
employment of:

Number of Percentage
of total

Inorganic chem icals
Number of

of total

A ll plants.............................





1 - 99 em ployees..............
100 - 249 employees. . . .
250 - 499 employees. . . .
500 - 999 em ployees. . . .
1000 - 2499 employees. .
2500 or over em ployees.



( 15

( 38


1947 Census of Manufactures

The industrial chemical industry p r o d u c e s thousands of
products. A few of these, such as synthetic fibers, synthetic rubber,
and plastic materials, have been extensively publicized. However, a
large number of every-day products are made from the many lesser
known industrial chemicals. These industrial chemical products do
not go to the public directly because they must be further processed
by other manufacturing industries. Industrial chemicals, either in
the form of raw materials or as processing agents, enter directly, or
indirectly into virtually every branch of industry. They are impor­
tant ingredients in the manufacture of steel, glass, paper, plastics,
textiles, and thousands of other products in every-day use. They are
also essential materials in the manufacture of armaments and muni­
Among the principal inorganic chemicals are sulfuric, nitric,
hydrochloric, and phosphoric acids; soda ash; caustic soda; chlorine;
and ammonia. Some of the organic compounds are also well known;
for example, synthetic fibers, such as rayon, nylon, orlon, and
dacron; synthetic rubber; and plastic materials. Less well known
are many other important organic chemicals, such as industrial ex­
plosives, the wide variety of dyes and color pigments, industrial
alcohol, formaldehyde, benzene, and glycerin. A s h o r t discussion


of the major chemicals and where they are used should provide a
better understanding of the importance of the industrial chemical
industry and the widespread use of its products.
Inorganic chemicals are used throughout industry
Sulfuric acid is by far the most widely used of all industrial
inorganic chemicals. The fertilizer industry, which uses sulfur­
ic acid in the manufacture of superphosphates, normally consumes
about 35 percent of the total production of this acid. The petroleum
refining industry uses about 10 percent of total output and about 20
percent of sulfuric acid production is consumed in the making of
other chemicals. Sulfuric acid is so widely used that it is some­
times regarded as a rough barometer of industrial activity.
Among the acids, nitric acid is second only to sulfuric acid
in value and diversity of uses. Formerly produced by the action
of sulfuric acid on Chilean nitrates, it is now made principally from
synthetic ammonia. Important uses are in the manufacture of m ili­
tary and industrial explosives, fertilizers, plastics, paints, and
Hydrochloric acid has numerous special uses, although its
production tonnage is only one-twentieth that of sulfuric acid. It
is used in pickling steel for tin plating; making chlorine compounds;
activating oil wells; and manufacturing dyes, plastics, and other
Phosphoric acid ranks second to sulfuric acid in volume produc­
tion. It is essential for rustproofing steel and in the manufacture of
high grade fertilizer phosphates, cleansing agents, phosphates for
the food industry, synthetic detergents, and ammoniated dentifrices.
Of the alkalies, soda ash is the most important in terms of
total volume of production. It is also the cheapest to manufacture.
It is used primarily in the manufacture of glass (40 percent), chemi­
cals and drugs (30 percent), and soap and cleanser products (10 per­
cent). The remaining 20 percent is used in the nonferrous metals
industries, paper and pulp manufacture, textile manufacture, and
in water softening and petroleum refining. In some common forms
sold on the retail market, soda ash is called sal soda or washing
Second alkali in terms of volume, caustic soda is stronger and
more expensive than soda ash. It is consumed chiefly in the manu­
facture of rayon (20 percent), chemicals (16 percent), soap (13 per­
cent), petroleum refining (12 percent), and in numerous other pro­
cess industries (39 percent).


Many other inorganic chemicals are utilized by manufacturing
industries. Sodium sulfate, for example, is used in the manufacture
of Kraft paper, window glass, and medicines, and in textile dyeing
and nickel smelting. Sodium silicate, made by fusing sand and soda
ash, is used for impregnating wood, fixing dyes, rendering cement
and brick non-porous, and as a detergent and adhesive. Calcium
carbide is important mainly because, when combined with water, it
forms acetylene, which in turn is used in manufacturing many organ­
ic chemicals.
The most important use of chlorine, another inorganic chemical,
is in the manufacture of such products as antifreeze solutions, carbon
tetrachloride, synthetic rubber, dry-cleaning fluids, and ethyl gaso­
line. The paper and pulp industry consumes about 11 percent of the
chlorine produced, and sewage and sanitation consumes 4 percent.
Chlorine is also used as a bleach in the textile industry and as a raw
material in the dye and explosives industries.
Organic chemicals are more commonly known to the public
Synthetic fibers is a major branch of the organic chemical in­
dustry. These fibers are used primarily in clothing, fabrics for
household use, and in tire cord (Chart 2). In terms of volume of
use, synthetic fibers exceeds wool and outranks all other textile
fibers except cotton. The rapid/growth in the use of rayon, nylon,
and other artificial fibers has been one of the most spectacular
examples of the ability of new products to compete successfully
in an established industrial field. Rayon, first marketed as a
substitute for silk, has long far outsold silk; it comprises about
a fifth of the total consumption of textile fibers. Rayon and nylon,
along with other new fibers constantly being developed, probably
will win an increasing share of the textile market.
Synthetic rubber is produced mainly in Government-owned,
privately operated plants which were built during World War II
because the import of natural rubber supplies was curtailed. The
most widely used synthetic rubber product is GR-S which accounts
for 85 percent of total synthetic rubber production. It is a generalpurpose synthetic made from butadiene and styrene and used prin­
cipally in the manufacture of automobile tires. GR-I is a specialpurpose synthetic rubber used for tire tubes. Neoprene, another
type of synthetic rubber, is used extensively for life-saving equip­
ment, solid airplane tires, and hose (Chart 3).
Plastics is another group of organic chemical products which
has rapidly developed in recent years. Leading plastic materials,
in order of volume produced, are vinyl resins, phenolics, alkyd
resins, and polystyrenes. Vinyl resins, of which lime and coal are





M illio n s o f P o u n d s

T h o u s a n d s of Long T o n s

Uses (1949)


Men's and boy's apparel
Women's and children's apparel




Uses (1951)


Heels and soles












C h a r t 5.



M illio n s of P o u n d s

M illio n s of W in e G a llo n s

2000 Uses (1950)

1250 Uses(1950)

Protective coating
Molding materials
Sheeting and film

Converted to other chemicals
Processing industrial foods
Toilet preparations
Cellulose and resin and
related products

25 JJL






















basic ingredients, are produced in films or sheets for such items
as draperies, shower curtains, automotive safety glass, upholstery,
wire coating, raincoats, phonograph records, and garden hose
(Chart 4). Phenolics plastics, which are made from carbolic acid
and formaldehyde, are molded into radio and TV cabinets, table
tops, cameras, and telephone parts. The alkyd resins are used in
making paints, varnishes, enamels, and especially the hard finishes
for automobile bodies and refrigerators. Production of polystyrene,
made from styrene, which is also one of the main ingredients of
synthetic rubber, has grown more rapidly than any other plastic
material in recent years. Its principal advantages are low cost and
ability to take colors well. It is used in the manufacture of molded
products such as dishware, toys, refrigerator dishes, and novelties.
Industrial alcohol has important and diversified uses (Chart 5).
In peacetime, it is used primarily as a solvent and as a raw material
in the production of other chemicals. In wartime, or in periods of
defense, it has additional important uses in the manufacture of such
products as military explosives.
Methods of manufacturing the thousands of industrial chemicals
are as varied as the products involved. The chemical manufacturer
makes new products that are distinctly different from the raw
materials that he starts with; and in the process, he may get one or
more by-products. For example, wood is made into methanol (wood
alcohol), a product that is different from the raw material; in the
process of making methanol, acetic acid is obtained as a by-product.
A description of the processes involved in manufacturing any one
chemical would not be representative of the industry as a whole since
different processes are used to make different chemicals. Certain
generalizations, however, can be made concerning basic processes
in the industrial chemical industry as a whole.
Among the principal raw materials used in making industrial
inorganic chemicals are salt, sulfur, mineral ores, limestone, and
water. Coal is the principal raw material used in manufacturing
organic-chemicals, but petroleum and natural gas are becoming in­
creasingly important. Wood and cotton are basic raw materials in
the manufacture of rayon and some kinds of plastics materials. In­
dustrial chemicals are made by changing these raw materials by
both chemical and physical processes. Through chemical changes,
new compounds are formed from these raw materials by combining
various chemicals, by breaking down chemical compounds, or by
building them up to more complex forms. The chemical processes
used to effect these changes include oxidation, electrolysis, neutral­
ization, cracking, polymerization, and fermentation. Some of the
physical processes are grinding, mixing, evaporation, drying,
filtration, crystallization, absorption, and distillation. Usually

- 1 0 -

several possible types of equipment or methods are used to perform
each operation. For example, solids may be separated from liquids
by filtration, by centrifugal equipment, or by settling.
usually determine which method is to be used.
Most chemical plants, especially those making inorganic
chemicals such as acids or alkalies, have a vast network of pipes.
These pipes are necessary for intraplant transfer of chemicals
which are mainly in liquid form during processing. Generally, large
volume production methods are used, taking the form of continuous or
’’automatic process" production, rather than of the assembly line type
of operation characteristic of the automobile industry. In the con­
tinuous process operation, the raw materials are fed into the pipes
and the finished products are withdrawn continuously with minimum
handling of materials. This method has generally replaced the "batch
method" in which a given quantity of material is carried through an
operation and transferred to the next operation. For instance, a batch
of solutions may be heated and mixed in a kettle until the right shade
of color or size of particle is attained. The kettle is then emptied and
a new batch is started. This method is still used in making some dyes.
The manufacture of industrial chemicals may be further clarified by
describing briefly the processes used in producing some of the major
Mixing is on* of the basis processes in manufacturing industrial ehemloals*


Soda ash, one of the most important inorganic chemicals,
is produced mainly by the ammonia-soda process (sometimes
called the Solvay process in honor of the Belgian chemist who
invented the process). Raw materials for the manufacture of
soda ash are plentiful. They consist principally of salt, lim e­
stone or oyster shell, coal and other fuel, and a plentiful supply
of water.
Salt in the form of brine from salt wells is purified and
pumped into a vessel called nthe absorber” in which it is satu­
rated with ammonia gas. The solution, ammoniated brine, is
then pumped in a continuous stream to the top of carbonating
towers where it is reacted with a carbon dioxide gas, forming
sodium bicarbonate3 and ammonium chloride. The suspended
sodium bicarbonate is filtered and calcined (roasted in a furnace)
to light soda ash. Dense soda ash is produced by adding water
to the light ash and recalcining. Soda ash may be stored for
future use, usually in concrete silos, or it may be shipped
directly to consumers. It may also be converted into caustic
soda, refined bicarbonate grades, or other material.
Sulfuric acid is produced by two processes. The older
type of chamber acid plant is gradually being replaced by the
cheaper method of the contact plant. In the chamber process,
sulfur or sulfur compounds, called np yrites,n are burned to
sulfur dioxide, which is then combined with oxygen and water
to form sulfuric acid. This process is carried out in a series
of towers and large lead rooms called chambers. A vapor of
burning sulfur, acid, steam, and gaseous compounds of nitrogen
oxides introduced to speed the operation is drawn into the large
lead chambers of some 200, 000 cubic feet capacity. This results
in a rain of sulfuric acid of relatively moderate strength falling
to the floor. The contact process removes the need for the large
chambers by eliminating the need for steam. The reaction
between sulfur dioxide and water is hastened by the use of plati­
num as a catalytic agent to accelerate the chemical reaction.
Stronger acids can be made by the contact process.
Raw materials are changed into finished organic chemical
products for use in industry by a number of different and complicated

3 Some of the sodium bicarbonate is purified and sold to other
manufacturers to make baking powder, prepared flours, drugs,
sponge rubber, for use in treating wool and silk, in tanning, or
in gold plating. The ammonia in the ammonium chloride is re­
covered and reused.

- 1 2 -

manufacturing processes. Generally, the processes require four
major steps: (l) The extraction of tars from coal, oil-gas, or
water-gas. This usually takes place as a by-product process in
other industries. Coal tar, for instance, is produced chiefly as
a by-product of the coke used in the steel industry. Water-gas and
oil-gas tars are by-products of the petroleum and natural gas in­
dustries. (2) The production of U
crudesn from the tars. Benzene,
toluene, xylene, and naphthalene are the usual crudes produced
from tars and from petroleum and natural gas, small amounts of
which are sold as end-products. The greater proportion, however,
is used in the third step of the production of organic chemicals.
(3) The manufacture of "intermediatesn which are more complicated
compounds of the tars and crudes. They include alcohol, phenol,
nitrobenzene, aniline oil, refined naphthalene, chlorobenzene, and
styrene. Some of the intermediates are combined or converted in­
to such functional end-products as explosives, perfumes, dyes,
drugs, flavorings, and plastic materials; others m aybe sold as
finished products without further processing. For example, re­
fined naphthalene may be packaged and sold as a moth repellent or
as a deodorant. However, most of the intermediates go through
the fourth major step. (4) This involves the manufacture of
synthetics which transforms intermediates into more complex
organic chemicals by a variety of chemical processes. Some of
these chemicals which are shipped to other industries for their
use include dyes, which are soluble colors used mainly in textile
manufacturing; lakes and toners., which are color pigments in­
soluble in water or oil used in the manufacture of paints and inks;
plastics and resin materials in the form of sheets, rods, tubes,
and powder, which are used by plastics molders and fabricators;
and synthetic fibers used by textile and tire manufacturers.
In contrast to the processes involved in the manufacture
of organic chemicals as described above, rayon fiber is manu­
factured by a completely different method. Rayon fiber is made
from cellulose, the solid parts of cell walls of plants. Cellulose
usually comes from wood pulp or cotton "lin ters" which are
changed into a sirupy solution by steeping, crumbling, churning,
and mixing processes. After filtering and aging, the solution is
forced through tiny holes into solid filaments or threads. These
are twisted into yarn and wound on spools for use by textile manu­
facturers who weave the yarn into fabrics.
Persons interested in a career in the industrial chemical
industry with their many different interests and qualifications,
will want to know the types of job opportunities offered by the


industry. More than 350, 000 men and women who had jobs in
industrial chemical plants in early 1953 were employed in a wide
range of occupations. Training requirements for workers in
these occupations vary from college degrees for chemists and
engineers, to a few days of on-the-job training for some of the less
skilled plant workers. Women constitute about 15 percent of the
industry*s work force.
By far the largest proportion of employees in the industrial
chemical industry (about 70 percent) are in plant occupations.
Technical personnel represent about 17 percent of the industry's
labor force. The technical personnel include about 40, 000 chemists
and chemical engineers and about 15,000 technicians, such as labo­
ratory assistants and draftsmen. Many different types of adminis­
trative clerical and related personnel, including purchasing agents,
accountants, personnel officials, and salesmen, are also employed
in industrial chemical plants. There are also many clerks, stenog­
raphers, bookkeepers, typists, and other office workers. The
distribution of workers in the industry by major occupational group
is shown in chart 6. The duties and training requirements of some
of the important occupations are briefly described below. A more
complete discussion of many of these occupations may be found in
the Occupational Outlook Handbook4 .
Technical Occupations
Because of the highly technical nature of its operations, the
industrial chemical industry employs many persons with chemical,
engineering, or other scientific backgrounds. A large proportion
of these personnel are employed in the industryrs research activi­
ties to develop new chemical products and new methods of produc­
tion. In fact, nearly 9 percent of the Nation‘ s research engineers
and scientists are employed by industrial chemical firm s, according
to a recent estimate5. This is an impressive proportion since this
industry employs only about 2 percent of all manufacturing
4Occupational Outlook Handbook, U. S. Department of Labor,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bulletin 998, 1951 edition prepared
in cooperation with the Veterans Administration. For sale by
the Superintendent of Documents, U. S. Government Printing
Office, Washington 25, D. C. , price $3. The Handbook contains
information about other industries in which these workers are
employed, the job prospects in those industries, and the train­
ing and other qualifications required for workers in these occu­
5Scientific Research and Development in American Industry,
A Study of Manpower and Costs, U. S. Department of Labor,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bulletin 1148, October 1953.


workers. Each year the leading companies allocate large amounts
of money andman-hours to research and development work. Since
new products are constantly being developed, a company could easily
lose its leadership in a particular field if a competitor introduced a
superior product.
This industry is one of the principal employers of chemists
and chemical engineers. It is noteworthy that a large proportion of
the top executives in the chemical industry have a chemical or engi­
neering background. The duties of chemists and chemical engineers
in this industry often overlap. Chemists are engaged in a number of
different functions. Many work in research laboratories. A large
number are employed in the production departments in such work as
quality control, supervision of the testing of materials during
processing, and the development of laboratory processes. Others
work as technical salesmen or technical writers or in administra­
tive positions requiring technical knowledge.
Chemical engineers in these plants are employed in research,
design, and operation and perform many management functions.
They are concerned with the application of chemical and engineering
science to the design, construction, operation, control, and improve­
ment of equipment for the utilization of chemical processes on an
Chart 6. Processing Equipment Workers Make Up Largest
Occupational Group in the Industrial Chemical Industry
Thousands of Workers

Processing Equipment
Maintenance, Repair,
and Custodial Workers
Administrative, Executive,
and Clerical Workers
Chemists and Engineers
Processing Helpers
and Laborers
Draftsmen, Laboratory
Assistants, and Other
M aterial Handlers
All Other












Ifeny technical workers such as ehsmists and laboratory technicians are employed In the
laboratories maintained by industrial ohemioal companies.

in d u stria l s c a le . They co n v ert la b o r a to ry p r o c e s s e s into l a r g e -s c a l e
production m ethods using the m o s t e co n o m ica l m anufacturing tech ­
n iques.
S e v e ra l other types of en gin eers a re a lso em p loyed in
in d u stria l c h e m ic a l f ir m s . M ech an ical en gin eers d e sig n and la y
out plant equipm ent, and plan and op erate the c en tra l d istribu tin g
s y s te m fo r heat, g a s , w a te r , or ste a m . E le c tr ic a l en g in eers a re
con cern ed with in stru m en tation and c o n tro l, and pow er gen eration
and d istrib u tio n . They a ls o d esign and develop a ll typ es of e le c t r i­
c a l and e le c tro n ic m a c h in ery and equipm ent and op erate and m a in ­
tain th ese it e m s .
P e r s o n s contem plating entering the c h e m ic a l or engineering
fie ld should rate w e ll above the av era g e in m a th e m a tic s and sc ie n c e
c o u r s e s in high sch o o l. A b a ch elo r of sc ie n c e or a b a c h e lo r of en­
g in eerin g d e g r e e fr o m a reco g n ized c o lle g e is u su a lly the m in im u m
educational re q u irem en t for th ese fie ld s . A n additional c o n s id e r a ­
tion is the in c re a sin g p rop ortion of tech n ical p erso n n el with gradu­
ate c o lle g e train in g. P r o sp e c tiv e students should a ls o attend a
p ro p e r ly a c cre d ite d sch ool since p e r so n s trained at such sch o o ls
g e n e r a lly have the b e s t em p loym en t op p ortu n ities.

- 1 6 -

Many industrial chemical companies recruit chemists,
chemical engineers, and other technically trained personnel by
sending representatives to colleges and universities each year
to interview graduating students. Some companies have formal
training programs for young college graduates in which they are
rotated through the various plant-ope rating divisions to provide a
broad picture of chemical manufacturing operations before assign­
ing them to a particular department. Other firms immediately
assign a newly hired junior chemist or engineer to a specific research,
operating, or maintenance unit.
In addition to the large number of professional technical person­
nel, the industry employs more than 15,000 technical assistants such
as draftsmen, laboratory assistants, engineering aides, chemical
analysts, and production supervisors. Laboratory technicians assist
chemists and engineers in research and development and in produc­
tion control. They may perform simple routine tests or do highly
technical, analytical work, depending on their training and experience.
Much of the work of the laboratory technicians consists of conducting
routine tests and recording the results--often in the form of simple
reports, charts, or graphs for interpretation by the chemists.
Laboratory assistants may begin their work in routine jobs and ad­
vance to positions of greater responsibility after they have acquired
additional experience and demonstrated their ability to work without
close supervision.
Draftsmen prepare exact, detailed drawings from sketches
or specifications furnished by the various types of engineers.
T h e re is a wide range of skill in this occupation. Some draftsmen
do rough copying or routine tracing work; others, at higher levels
of skill, are often required to make calculations concerning the
strength, quality, and cost of materials, and to use engineering
handbooks and tables for computations necessary to complete their
drawings. Inexperienced draftsmen usually begin their job careers
as copyists or tracers. At this level, their work is routine and
requires 1 i t tl e-knowledge or skill. With additional experience
and training, workers may advance up the job ladder to more skilled
and responsible drafting positions.
Not all persons who work as technicians are s p e c i f i c“a 11 y
trained for their occupations. A person may become a technician
by studying at a technical or vocational school--usually a 2-year
course. Engineering or chemistry drop-outs; graduates and drop­
outs of liberal arts colleges, especially those with c h e m i s t r y ,
mathematics, or other scientific training; and other persons who
have received post-high school education often become technicians.
Workers may also qualify as technicians through experience only.
Some industrial chemical firms have programs to train draftsmen
and laboratory technicians.

- 1 7 -

Administrative, clerical, and related occupations
The industrial chemical industry employs a wide variety of
administrative, clerical, and other "white collar" personnel,
numbering about 60, 000 at the beginning of 1953. The role of these
workers is important, for they perform the many functions involved
in the difficult task of running a business. The administrative field
offers opportunities for men and women in many interesting and
important jobs. Although the qualifications for and the duties of
these positions are similar to those in other industries, a knowledge
of chemistry is required sometimes.
Many of the higher level administrative and management
positions are filled by technically trained m en--many of them
chemists or chemical engineers. At the top of the administrative
group are the executives who make policy decisions concerning
matters of finance, types of products to manufacture, and location
of plants. To make such decisions, the executives require the
help of a large body of specialized personnel.
The accounting department, which is usually headed by the
comptroller, performs important and administrative functions.
Here the essential and complicated record-keeping systems are
set up and maintained. The services of many accountants, book­
keepers, and clerks are required* Accountants establish and direct
the accounting procedures and record-keeping systems. They audit
the records kept by bookkeepers and clerks, analyze costs, and pre­
pare tax reports. Bookkeepers keep complete and systematic sets
of records of business transactions. They do much of their work on
bookkeeping machines, calculators, and adding machines. Clerks
keep cost and other daily records, make out payrolls, attend to the
mail, and make relatively simple calculations on business machines.
Purchasing agents maintain sources from which raw mater­
ials, supplies, equipment, and utility services can be regularly ob­
tained. Specialists in the purchasing department buy different
kinds of materials and keep up to date on market conditions and the
best sources of supply. They must gage the ability of suppliers to
meet their firm*s requirements and be good judges of value and
quality in order to protect the quality of the finished product.
Chemical companies employ a substantial number of sales
personnel. Because of the technical nature of the chemical in­
dustry, many of them are persons with chemistry or engineering
backgrounds. Such training is necessary in order to give
customers technical assistance.

- 1 8 -

A legal staff advises management on protecting legal rights
and on performing obligations under existing laws. Lawyers repre­
sent their companies in court or before quasi-judicial governmental
agencies. Much of their work involves patent or licensing arrange­
ments. A few doctors and nurses are also employed to care for the
health of the industry's workers while on the job.
Many industrial chemical companies, especially the larger
ones, have industrial relations staffs to formulate, analyze, and
recommend labor policies to top management. Trained personnel
workers are needed to plan and to assist in the recruiting, train­
ing , and rating of employees. They maintain personnel records,
classify jobs, engage in employee counseling, and participate in
the operation of established health, safety, and retirement systems.
These companies employ other administrative workers in such
activities as public relations, advertising, and market research.
Thousands of other "white collar" workers are needed to
help the specialized workers described above. Included among
these are secretaries ,i stenographers , clerks and typists, and
business-machine operators.
Plant occupations
The majority of the employees are in plant occupations; they
constitute about 70 percent of the industry's work force. The dis­
tribution of these jobs depends on the particular chemical product
produced, the process used, and the size and organization of th e
plant. Chemical plant workers as a whole can generally be divided
among three major occupational groups: the process workers who
operate the chemical-processing equipment; the maintenance workers
who maintain and repair the machinery, pipes, and equipment; and
other plant workers, such as stock clerks, material handlers, truck
drivers,and others not included in the first two groups.
Process equipment operators and their helpers are the largest
occupational group in the industrial chemical industry. Many of the
operators are skilled. Chemical operators operate one type of equip­
ment or direct a chemical process utilizing several types of chemi­
cal equipment to produce final or intermediate chemical products in
accordance with specifications prepared by a chemist. Their duties,
however, are relatively similar regardless of the type of equipment.
In general, the chemical operator determines the proper proportion
of materials according to formulas or specifications. He sets and
regulates the controls for temperature, pressure, or flow of materials
In order to check the. quality of the operation, the operator uses measur
ing and testing instruments and keeps records and reports of the
operation. He is responsible for the quality and quantity of the
product. Usually, he has other chemical operators of lower skill to

- 1 9 -

Stillmen are among the moat skilled factory workers in the industrial ohemical industry.

a s s i s t h im in a d d it io n to v a r i o u s h e l p e r s . S in ce d i f f e r e n t p r o c e s s e s
a r e u s e d to m a k e the m a n y ty p e s o f c h e m i c a l s , the k in d s o f c h e m i c a l
o p e r a t o r s v a r y f r o m plant to plant. F o r in s t a n c e , the e l e c t r i c - c e l l
m a n , an im p o r t a n t c h e m i c a l o p e r a t o r in p lan ts m a k in g a l k a l i e s and
c h l o r i n e s , m a y not b e found at a ll in a p lan t m a k in g p l a s t i c m a t e r i a l s .
S o m e o f the c h e m i c a l o p e r a t o r s a r e d e s ig n a t e d a c c o r d i n g to the
type o f e q u ip m e n t o p e r a t e d . F o r e x a m p l e , s t i l l m e n o p e r a t e the
d i s t i l l a t i o n e q u ip m e n t that s e p a r a t e s v o l a t i l e m i x t u r e s into c o m p o n e n t
p a rts. A u tocla v e o p e ra to rs op era te h ig h -p r e s s u r e v e s s e l s , ca lle d
a u t o c l a v e s , in w h ic h the r e a c t i o n i n v o l v e s c h e m i c a l c h a n g e s w ith in
h ig h ly c r i t i c a l p r e s s u r e and t e m p e r a t u r e l i m i t s . E v a p o r a t o r m e n
o p e r a t e e q u ip m e n t that c o n c e n t r a t e s c h e m i c a l s o lu t io n s b y r e m o v i n g
p a r t o f the w a t e r con ten t.
In a d d itio n to the c h e m i c a l e q u ip m e n t o p e r a t o r s , t h e r e a r e
o t h e r p r o c e s s w o r k e r s w h o o p e r a t e the p h y s i c a l p r o c e s s e q u ip m e n t
that p r e p a r e s the r a w m a t e r i a l f o r fu r t h e r p r o c e s s i n g . T h e y tend
the v a r i o u s m a c h i n e s w h ic h p r o d u c e p h y s i c a l c h a n g e s su c h as the
b r e a k in g d ow n and r e fin in g o f c h e m i c a l s . F o r e x a m p l e , g r i n d e r s
o p e r a t e m a c h i n e s w h ic h r e d u c e the s i z e o f s o lid p a r t i c l e s and s c r e e n
the r e s u lt a n t p o w d e r to m e e t l a b o r a t o r y s p e c i f i c a t i o n s . F i l t c r e r s
o p e r a t e one o r m o r e units o f f i l t e r i n g e q u ip m e n t u s e d in s e p a r a tin g

- 2 0 -

Autoclave operator* tend high pressure vessels in which the reactions involve
chemical changes within highly critical pressure and temperature limits.

s u s p e n d e d s o lid s f r o m liq u id s . D r i e r s o p e r a t e one o r m o r e units
o f e q u ip m e n t u s e d in s e p a r a tin g w a t e r o r o t h e r u n d e s i r a b l e v o la t ile
liq u id c o m p o n e n t s f r o m s o l i d s . V o l a t i l e c o m p o n e n t s a r e r e m o v e d
b y heating the s o lid s w ith c ir c u la t in g hot a c id o r s t e a m and b y
m a in ta in in g a v a c u u m o v e r the s o l i d s . M i l l e r s tend one o r m o r e
units o f e q u ip m en t u s e d to c r u s h , g r in d , o r p u l v e r i z e m a t e r i a l s to
s p e c i f ic a t i o n s . M i x e r s o p e r a t e one o r m o r e m a c h i n e s in w h ic h
c o m p o n e n t p a r t s (liq u id s o r s o l i d s ) a r e b le n d e d o r m i x e d in c o n ­
t r o l l e d a m o u n ts .
M o s t o f the s k ille d c h e m i c a l o p e r a t o r j o b s a r e f i l l e d b y p r o ­
m o t i o n f r o m w ithin the plant. New w o r k e r s a r e h ir e d a s l a b o r e r s
o r f o r s o m e o f the o t h e r l e s s - s k i l l e d plant o c c u p a t i o n s , su c h as
c y l i n d e r f i l l e r o r d r u m f i l l e r w ho f i l l o r e m p t y c o n t a i n e r s f o r the
m o r e s k ille d w o r k e r s . The n o r m a l p r o g r e s s i o n to j o b s o f g r e a t e r
s k ill is f i r s t to b e c o m e a c h e m i c a l o p e r a t o r ’ s h e l p e r . H e l p e r s ,
a f t e r gaining e x p e r i e n c e , have an o p p o r t u n ity to b e c o m e h ig h ly s k ille d c h e m i c a l o p e r a t o r s . S k ille d p r o c e s s w o r k e r s a r e s e l d o m
r e c r u i t e d f r o m o th e r p la n ts . P la n t e x p a n s io n , t u r n o v e r , and r e ­
t i r e m e n t r a t e s a r e the p r i n c i p a l f a c t o r s d e t e r m in in g e m p l o y m e n t

- 2 1 -

opportunities for the skilled jobs.
Because industrial chemical manufacturing requires a large
amount of complicated equipment relative to workers and because
high temperatures and pressures greatly increase the wear on this
equipment, the industry employs a high proportion of maintenance
workers. In early 1953, they accounted for more than a quarter of
all the plant workers. In general, this work is similar to that of
maintenance employees in other industries.
Important maintenance occupations in the chemical industry
include pipefitters who layout, install, and repair pipes and pipefittings. Carpenters construct and maintain the woodwork and
equipment such as doors, partitions, and floors. Maintenance
machinists produce replacement parts and new parts for the
mechanical equipment in an establishment. Electricians maintain
the wiring, motors, switches, and other electrical equipment in
good operating condition, and make repairs when equipment breaks
down. Lead burners install and repair linings of tanks, lead pipes,
and lead fixtures and equipment. Other maintenance workers
employed in chemical plants are millwrights and general utility
maintenance ;men.
Although openings in maintenance jobs are sometimes filled
by hiring experienced men, they are, generally, filled by men
trained in the plant. Most chemical plants conduct apprenticeship
programs to meet the needs of their maintenance shops. The
apprenticeships usually cover 3 or 4 years and include shop
training in the particular job# Usually, classroom instruction in
related technical subjects is given either in the plant or in local
vocational schools.
The other plant workers, not engaged in operating or main­
taining equipment, perform a variety of tasks in industrial chemical
plants. In early 1953, about 14, 500 workers were employed as
material handlers. Some workers drive trucks to make deliveries
to various parts of the plant; some load materials on to trucks or
in and out of containers; and others check stock. The industry also
employs guards, janitors, watchmen, and other custodial workers
whose jobs are similar to those in other industries.
Jobs for women
At the beginning of 1953, about 50, 000 women held jobs in
industrial chemical plants. They were employed mainly in office
jobs, such as bookkeepers, clerks, stenographers, and office
machine operators. In the plants, they usually worked as labora­
tory assistants, packers, or in custodial jobs. Women comprised
less than 10 percent of all employees engaged in producing inorganic

- 2 2 -

In 1953 , about 1^,500 workers wore employed In various material handling
Jobs in industrial chemical plants.

c h e m ic a ls . They w e re re la tiv e ly m o r e n u m erou s,
s e g m e n t s o f the o r g a n ic c h e m i c a l in d u s t r y . In the
s y n th e tic f i b e r s , m o r e than 25 p e r c e n t o f the p lan t
w o m e n ; in in d u s t r ia l e x p l o s i v e s p la n t s , m o r e than
w om en.

h o w e v e r , in s o m e
m a n u fa c t u r in g o f
w ork ers w ere
15 p e r c e n t w e r e

E a r n in g s
In g e n e r a l , e a r n in g s o f p r o d u c t i o n w o r k e r s in the in d u s t r ia l
c h e m i c a l in d u s t r y a r e a m o n g the h ig h e s t in the m a n u fa c t u r in g i n d u s ­
t r i e s . In M a r c h 1953, data f r o m p la n ts c o o p e r a t i n g w ith the B u r e a u
o f L a b o r S t a t is t ic s s h ow ed that the a v e r a g e h o u r ly e a r n in g s f o r p r o ­
d u c t io n w o r k e r s in the in o r g a n ic c h e m i c a l in d u s t r y w a s $1. 97 and
in the o r g a n i c c h e m i c a l in d u s t r y $1. 94, e x c e e d i n g b y 22 c e n t s and
19 c e n t s , r e s p e c t i v e l y , the a v e r a g e o f $ 1 .7 5 f o r a ll m a n u fa c t u r in g
i n d u s t r i e s . In that m o n th p r o d u c t io n w o r k e r s in i n o r g a n ic c h e m i c a l s
e a r n e d $ 8 0 . 97 f o r an a v e r a g e w o r k w e e k o f 41. 1 h o u r s , and th o s e in
o r g a n i c c h e m i c a l s a v e r a g e s $ 7 9 .1 5 f o r 4 0 . 8 h o u r s . T h is c o m p a r e d
w ith a v e r a g e e a r n in g s o f $71. 93 f o r an a v e r a g e w o r k w e e k o f 41. 1
h o u r s f o r p r o d u c t i o n w o r k e r s in a ll m a n u fa c t u r in g i n d u s t r ie s .

- 2 3 -

That rates of pay vary considerably among the various occu­
pational groups in the industrial chemical industry was demon­
strated in a comprehensive survey of wages for various plant
occupations in the industrial chemical industry undertaken by the
Bureau of Labor Statistics in late 1951. 8 The average straighttime hourly earnings for selected occupations in various sections
of the country are shown in table 3. In examining the earnings of
the individual occupations, account should be taken of the fact
that average straight-time hourly earnings of production workers
in industrial chemical plants increased by about 17 cents between
November 1951, when the survey was taken and March 1953. In
general, it was found that the highest earnings prevailed in the
Southwest and the lowest in New England. In the two major regions,
the Middle Atlantic and the Great Lakes regions, job averages were
approximately the same as the national levels. The survey also
showed that occupational wage averages were higher in the larger
industrial chemical establishments.
Very little information is available on the earnings for most
technical and administrative occupations in this industry. Some
data on the income of chemists and chemical engineers are avail­
able from a survey conducted in 1951 by the National Scientific
Register with the cooperation of the American Chemical Society. 7
This survey showed that the annual income of chemists varied by
levels of education. The median annual income for chemists with
bachelor degrees was about $5 ,200 ; for those with masterls de­
grees, $6 ,000 ; and for those with PhDT $7 ,900 . The median
annual income for chemical engineers with bachelor degrees was
$5, 600. Those with masterfs degrees and PhD degrees generally
had higher earnings. 8 There has been some increase in earnings
of chemists and chemical engineers since 1951.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics wage survey of November 1951
and industry sources provide some data regarding the hours of work
arrangements in industrial chemical plants. Because of the need for
continuous operations, the workweek in the industrial chemical industry,
unlike that in many other industries, corresponds to a calendar week of
7 consecutive days, starting on Monday and ending on the following Monday.
6Wage Structure; Industrial Chemicals, October - November 1951,
U. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Series 2,
No. 87.
7Manpower Resources in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering,
U. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Bulletin
No. 1132, February 1, 1953.
8Income data are for chemists and chemical engineers employed in
the broad chemical and allied products industry which includes the
industrial chemical industry.


T a b le 3 .
A v erag e S t r a ig h t - T i m e H ou rly E a r n in g s i/ in S e l e c t e d O c cu p a tio n s i n t h e I n d u s t r i a l C h em ical I n d u s t r y ,
U n ite d S t a t e s and S e l e c t e d R e g io n s , O c to b e r - November 1 9 5 1

A v erag e H ou rly E a r n in g s i/ in —
O c c u p a tio n , g r a d e , and s e x
U n ite d ?/
f S ta te s
P r o c e s s in g O c cu p a tio n s (k e n )

En gland

M id d le 1 B o r d e r f G re a t
A t l a n t i c 1 S t a t e s ( L a k es


A b sorb erm en ...................................................
A u to c la v e o p e r a t o r s .................. ..
C h em ical o p e r a t o r s , c l a s s A...........
C h em ical o p e r a t o r s , c l a s s B o ........... .
C h em ical o p e r a t o r s ' h e l p e r s . . . . .
C o m p re ss o rs * .................................................
D r i e r s , c l a s s A * .................................
D r i e r s , c l a s s B ........... ................... ..
E l e c t r i c - c e l l r a e n . . i ................................
E v a p o ra to r m en, c l a s s A.................... . ,
E v a p o ra to r m en, c l a s s B .......................
F i l t e r e r s , c l a s s A ..................................
F i l t e r e r s , c l a s s B ............................. ..
K e ttle m e n , c l a s s A.....................................
K e ttle m e n , c l a s s B ......................................
M i l l e r s , c l a s s A * ........................................
M i l l e r s , c l a s s B . ....................................
M ix e r s , c l a s s A.........................................
M ix e r s , c l a s s B ..............................................
S t i l l m e n , c l a s s A . .....................................
S t i l l m e n , c l a s s B * ............ ......................... . ,


1 .9 8

1 .6 3

1 .8 5

* 1 .6 2
1 .5 9
1 .6 0

1 .5 9
1 .6 4

1 .7 0
1 .6 1


1 .6 4

1*3 0

1 .6 4

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

M a in te n a n ce O c cu p a tio n s
C a r p e n te r s , m a in te n a n c e * ....................
E l e c t r i c i a n s , m a in t e n a n c e . ............... .
Lead b u r n e r s . ..............................................
M a c h i n i s t s , m a in te n a n c e .....................
P i p e f i t t e r s , m a in te n a n c e ................ .. . '
M a t e r ia l H an d lin g O c cu p a tio n s

1 .9 9
2 .0 2
2 .2 2

1 .7 9
1 .8 1

2 .0 1

1 .S 4
1 .8 0

C arboy f i l l e r s ............................................ . '
C y lin d e r f i l l e r s ..................... ................. . '
Drum f i l l e r s * ..............................................
S to c k c l e r k s . ......................................... .. . '
S to c k h a n d le r s a n d t r u c k e r s , han d,*
T ru ck d r i v e r s .................................
T r u c k e r s , p o w er..................

1 .6 0
1 .5 5

C u s to d ia l O c cu p a tio n s

1 .5 5


1 .7 0
1 .6 7

1 .5 6
1 .6 0

1 .5 5
1 *36
1 .1 0

1 .6 3
1 .4 9
1 .3 9

B o o k k e e p e r s , h and........................ ..
B o o k k ee p in g -m a ch in e o p e r a t o r s ,
c la s s A
B o o k k ee p in g -m a ch in e o p e r a t o r s ,
c la s s B
C l e r k s , p a y r o l l ..............................................
S te n o g r a p h e r s , g e n e r a l .......................... . '
T y p i s t s c l a s s A * . . . , . . ..........................
T y p i s t s c l a s s B .............................••••••



$ 1 .6 9
2.1 0
1. 7 1
1 .6 9
1 .8 0
1 .5 0

1 .7 7

1 .6 7

1 .7 0
1 .6 3








1 .7 7
1 .5 8

1 .5 5
1 .5 0

1 .4 8
1 .4 8

1 .5 3

1 .2 8
1 .3 9
1 .3 3
1 .3 2
1 .1 8

1 .8 3
1 .6 2

1 .2 7

1 .1 6



1 .8 7



! $ 1 .9 5
1 .7 9
1 .8 2
1 .7 1
1 .6 2
1 .7 6
1 .8 5
1 .7 8
1 .8 3
1 .7 9
1 .6 6
1 .3 3
1 .6 9
1 .8 4
1 .6 8
1 1 .8 3
1 .6 1
1 .8 3
1 .7 1
1 .7 7
1 .8 9
1 .6 6




$ 2 .2 0
2 .1 2
1 .7 5
1 .9 2












1 .9 1
2 .0 0
1 .7 4
1 .7 7









1 .6 2 '




1 .2 2 *

1 .6 6
1 .5 1
1 .6 9
1 .6 6
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S o u th ­

P a c ific
C o a st



1 .5 1
1 .4 8

1 .3 5
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1 .4 2
1 .4 4
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1 .3 7


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E x c lu d e s premium pay f o r o v e rtim e and n ig h t w o rk ,


1 .5 1
1 .4 1
1 .4 1
1 .2 3


S o u th - J
w e st t


1 .V 7

L a b o r a to r y a s s i s t a n t s - m e n . . . . . . '
L a b o r a to r y a s s i s t a n t s - w o m en ... . '
O f f i c e O c cu p a tio n s (Women)

1 .6 8

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


G u ard s................................................................
J a n i t o r s * ..................................................
Watchmen* ••••....................... ......................
L a b o r a to r y A s s i s t a n t s

1 .6 8

1 .3 5

2 .0 3
2 .0 0
2 .3 4
2 .0 2
2 .0 2



I n c lu d e s d a ta f o r r e g io n s n o t shown s e p a r a t e l y *

S o u rce:

Wage S t r u c t u r e ; I n d u s t r i a l C h e m ic a ls . O c to b e r - November 1 9 5 1 , U* S * D epartm en t o f L a b o r , B u re a u o f L a b o r
S t a t i s t i c s , S e r i e s 2 , No. 8 7 , T a b le 4 .


However, the employees work a scheduled 5-day, 40-hour work­
week with their 2 days off falling on various days in the week in­
stead of regularly on Saturday and Sunday. Frequently, time and
a half is provided for on the sixth day and for Saturday as such;
double time is provided for on the seventh day and for Sunday as
such. The working day, as well as the workweek in this industry,
is continuous, so that relatively large proportions of workers are
employed on the late shifts. About 16 percent were on the second
shift and 14 percent on the third. Night shift workers receive ex­
tra or "premium1 pay. The typical differentials at the beginning
of 1953 were 6 cents an hour for the second shift and 12 cents for.
the third. Most plants regularly shift workers among the 3 shifts
so that the disadvantages of working on the second or third shift
can be spread more equitably. Some workers, however, p r e f e r
night work regularly in order to have a definite and steady work
Other employee benefits
Most labor-management contracts in the industry provide
other employee benefits. A majority of the workers in the industry
are covered by group insurance plans which usually include health
insurance, hospitalization, and life insurance. State workmen^
compensation laws also provide benefits in case of injury on the
job. In addition to Federal social security benefits, about 75 per­
cent of the workers in the industrial chemical industry are covered
by pension programs paid for either partially or totally by the
chemical companies. Some contracts provide for paid sick leave*,
According to the 1951 Bureau of Labor Statistics survey,
more than 80 percent of the production workers in the major in­
dustrial chemical plants received 6 paid holidays a year; about
15 percent received 7 paid holidays. Paid vacation plans are
almost universal in the industry. Periods of vacation vary according
to the length of service. The usual plan provides 1-week1s vacation
after the first year of service, 2-weeks1 vacation after 2 years of
service, and 3-weeks* vacation after 15 years of service. The usual
vacation benefits for office workers are 2 weeks after 1 yearfs
service and at least 3 weeks after 15 years.
Working conditions
The working environment for the industrial chemical worker
cannot be described in terms of a typical workplace because of the
many types of products and chemical processes used. Working
conditions vary with the type of equipment and the size, condition,
and age of the plant. In the early stages of the industryls develop­
ment, working conditions in the chemical plants were unplea s an t
and hazardous. Disagreeable odors, dust, extremes in temperature,

- 2 6 -

explosions, poisoning from fumes, and chemical burns were com­
Chemical companies made intensive efforts to reduce th e
hazards arising from these conditions by adopting a great m a n y
safety measures.
For example, ventilating systems m in im ize
odors from fumes and dust from grinding operations. F irst-a id
stations, placard warnings, showers, and eye baths are placed
near dangerous work stations; protective clothing, and respirators,
also are provided.
As a result of these measures, the industrial injury frequen­
cy rate for the industrial chemical industry is about half as high as
the average rate for all manufacturing industries. Chart 7 c o m ­
pares the rates for various segments of the industrial chemical in­
dustry with the rate for all manufacturing industries combined. In
1952, the average number of disabling injuries was 7 .7 for each
million man-hours worked in the industrial chemical industry and
ranged from 1.4 to 6. 3 in industrial organic chemical establish­
ments. This compared with an average of 13. 5 for all manufactur­
ing industries.
Labor organizations
Most of the production workers in the industrial chemical in­
dustry belong to labor unions. Wage rates, hours of work, vaca­
tions, and other matters affecting these employees are, for the most
Chart 7. Injury-Frequency Rate' in the Industrial Chemicals Industries
Compared to the Average for Manufacturing Industries, 1952


Synthetic Rubber
Synthetic Fibers
Other Organic


D is a b lin g In ju r ie s Per M illio n M an -H o u rs

- 2 7 -

part, established by contracts reached through collective bargaining
between the unions and the chemical companies. These contracts
also contain other provisions, such as those establishing seniority
rules and grievance procedures.
The bulk of the workers belong to 1 of the 3 dominant unions in
the industry: the International Chemical Workers' Union (AFL); the
United Gas, Coke, and Chemical Workers of America (CIO); or
District 50, United Mine Workers of America (ind.). Other unions
which organize workers in the industry include the International
Association of Machinists (AFL), International Brotherhood of Elec­
trical Workers (AFL), International Brotherhood of Paper Makers
of America (AFL), International Union of Operating Engineers (AFL),
International Union, United Automobile, Aircraft, and Agricultural
Implement Workers of America (CIO), Oil Workers International
Union (CIO), Textile Workers Union of America (CIO), United
Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and
Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada (AFL), United
Packinghouse Workers of America (CIO), and United Rubber, Cork,
Linoleum, and Plastic Workers of America (CIO), and United Textile
Workers of America (AFL). In addition, there are many independent
(unaffiliated) unions whose collective bargaining activities are usually
confined to one establishment.
What is the employment outlook in the industry? This is perhaps
the most important question in the minds of young people interested in
a career in the industrial chemical industry, for it not only affects
their chances for obtaining a job in the industry and holding it over a
long period, but also because it influences greatly their promotional
opportunities. The employment outlook in the industrial chemical
industry is generally favorable. The industry is one of the most rapidly
expanding major industries in the United States. The number of workers
in the industry has increased from less than 50, 000 in 1914 to about
350, 000 at the beginning of 1953. The industry developed thousands of
new chemical products during this period and improved techniques for
producing the older basic chemicals. In the years ahead this pattern
of expansion should continue. Technological advances in the manu­
facture of chemical products now on the market and the development
of many new chemical compounds should result in continued growth in
employment in the industry.
Industry developed rapidly since World War I
The American chemical industry began over 300 years ago
with an alum and saltpeter plant in New England in 1635. During
the Revoluntionary War, a number of chemical plants provided the
Continental Army with munitions, crude chemicals, and medicines.

- 2 8 -

A milestone in the industry^ development occurred in 1792 when
the first sulfuric acid plant in the country was established in
Philadelphia. As the Nation expanded and new industries began,
the commercial chemical industry grew slowly and steadily. The
Civil War stimulated a great expansion of chemical facilities. To­
ward the end of the 19th century, continuous processing was intro­
duced to replace the old, small-quantity, batch method. Technical
"know-how" helped to produce more uniform products, and largescale production began.
Until the beginning of the first World War, the industrial
chemicals industry in the United States was devoted primarily to
the production of inorganic or "heavy" chemicals. The organic
chemicals segment o f the industry was largely limited to dye
manufacturers and producers of explosives. The dye plants, how­
ever, made less than 10 percent of the dyes and intermediate chemi­
cals needed for American industry. Germany supplied most of the
remainder. When these imports ceased at the outbreak of World
War I, intensive efforts were made to build an organic chemical in­
dustry from the meager facilities available. Employment in indus­
trial chemical plants, more than doubled between 1914 and 1919.
By the end of the war, over 90 percent of domestic requirements
were being produced in this country. In the interest of national de­
fense, Congress erected tariff barriers after the war to protect
the industry from foreign competition. With this protection and
the growing demand for chemical products, the industry grew steadily.
Between World Wars I and II great progress was made in
developing new products and in improving manufacturing processes.
One of the most noteworthy achievements was the development of a
method for extracting nitrogen from the air. Particularly large
gains were made in synthetic fiber production. The output of rayon
increased greatly. In the late 30l s nylon was introduced and found
a wide market. Plastics made serious inroads into fields previous­
ly considered to be exclusively reserved for such materials as wood
and metal. Production of many other organic chemicals rose several­
fold, and numerous new products were developed.
During World War II the industrial chemical industry expanded
rapidly to meet direct military requirements and growing industrial
needs. More than 100, 000 additional workers were employed during
the war in the organic chemical industry to work in the greatly ex­
panded explosives production facilities (Chart 8). Also needed in
vast amounts were other industrial chemical products such as
synthetic rubber, plastic materials, chlorine, ammonia, and alcohol.
Most of the increase in employment in the industrial chemical indus­
try occurred in the early war years. Employment more than doubled
between 1940 and 1943 when the number of wage and salary workers

- 2 9 -

grew to more than 365, 000.
level until the war ended.

Employment fluctuated around this

Employment in the industry dropped sharply at the end of
World War II. The number of workers decreased from about
400, 000 in June 1945 to about 287, 000 in June 1946. Most of the
decreases occurred in explosives plants where employment de­
clined by more than 100, 000 workers in this 12-month period.
By mid-1946, the Nation*s manufacturing industries had converted
their facilities to the production of peacetime goods and were
again using large quantities of chemicals. Employment began to
rise in 1947 and continued generally upward for the next few years..
The outbreak of hostilities in Korea again stimulated industry
expansion. Employment increased from 300, 000 in June 1950 to
about 362,400 in June 1953.
In mid-1953 employment was still below the peak reached
during World War II. However, the industry*s output was estimated
to be about 50 percent above 1944, the peak wartime year in terms
of production of industrial chem icals.9 (Chart 9).

Department of Commerce, "Markets After the Defense Expansion,1
1952, adapted from data of the Stanford Research Institute*


This large increase in total output was a result of two factors:
(l) a shift from production of military items such as explosives,
which require more workers per ton of output, to production of
civilian items which are produced in great volume and require fewer
workers per ton, and (2) improvements in labor productivity made
possible by construction of new plants and installation of more
efficient equipment.
Employment outlook favorable
The employment outlook in the industrial chemical industry is
favorable for the next few years and over the long run. The industry
is presently expanding its capacity. Much of the expansion in
facilities has been assisted by the Government’ s program of rapid
tax amortization. At the beginning of 1953, the director of the
chemical division of the National Production Authority announced
expansion goals for 57 chemicals. Eleven of the goals call for a
1955 production capacity more than double that available in 1951.
Defense needs have thus been added to the growing civilian demand
for the industry’ s products. The military preparedness program
has increased demand for chemical products such as explosives,
industrial alcohol, plastic materials, and synthetic fibers.

- 3 1 -

The long-range outlook is for continued expansion of the
industry. Although it has made amazing progress in the past,
the industry has vast potential for further development through
the application of laboratory chemistry to industrial production.
An official of one of the large chemical companies recently pre­
dicted that the industrial chemical industry would increase pro­
duction five-fold between 1950 and 1975. This dynamic industry
has far outstripped most other major industrial groups in rate
of growth and in the development of new products. Some of these
products have created completely new markets. Others, like
plastics and synthetic fibers, have competed successfully in mar­
kets previously dominated by wood, natural textile fibers, and
metals and are expected to continue to make inroads in these mar­
kets. Favorable, also, is the plentiful supply of the raw materials
used in chemicals manufacturing.
Employment, however, is not likely to increase in the same
proportion as production. The industry is noted for its ability to
greatly increase its output with a less than proportionate rise in
the number of its employees. For example, production of rayon
and other synthetic fibers in 1950 was 3-1/2 times the 1939 output,
whereas employment in 1950 was only about 20 percent above the
1939 level. Despite the expected technological progress, the ex­
pansion of industry output will be sufficiently great to create a
significant increase in the industry*s employment requirements.
Employment opportunities will also result from the need to
fill vacancies created by death, retirement, or transfer of workers
to jobs in other fields. Even without further expansion in the in­
dustry, deaths or retirements alone would provide between 5 and
8 thousand openings for new workers each year.
The expected expansion of the industrial chemical industry
will bring a rise in employment in all the important occupational
groups in the industry. However, the number of workers in some
occupations will grow more rapidly than in others. For example,
employment opportunities within some of the individual plant occupa­
tions will be affected by differences in the rate of expansion in the
various branches of the industry. In general, the organic chemical
plants are likely to expand more than the inorganic chemical plants.
During defense mobilization periods, the greatest proportionate in­
creases occur in plants making explosives, plastic materials, in­
industrial alcohol, synthetic fibers, and synthetic rubber. Tech­
nological changes may also affect the employment opportunities
in particular occupations. For instance, shifting from the older
chamber process to the contact method in manufacturing sulfuric
acid decreases the need for lead burners.

- 3 2 -

Skilled ohemical operators set and regulate the oontrols for
temperature, pressure, and flow of materials*

The processing equipment operators will continue to be the
largest occupational group in the industry although the employment
in this group may not gain as much as employment of maintenance
and repair workers. There has been a continuing development
of greater mechanization in chemical plants and, as the trend toward
greater automaticity of operation continues, the plants s h o u l d be
able to produce increasing amounts of chemical p r o d u c t s with a
much less than proportionate increase in the needs for the operators
of the various types of processing equipment. At the same time,
this increased dependence on mechanical and processing equipment
will boost the industry^ requirements for workers in maintenance
and repair occupations, such as pipe fitters, electricians, and main­
tenance mechanics. The overall group of plant occupations, which
includes the processing and maintenance workers as well as helpers,
laborers, and material handlers, will provide the largest number of
job openings because the total number of replacement openings will
be greater in this field. These replacement needs as well as the ex­
pected expanded employment will create many job opportunities for
inexperienced persons in the processing occupations. These new
workers will be hired in beginning jobs, such as laborers and help­
ers, with the opportunity to advance to semi-skilled and skilled
positions as processing operators. Learning through experience on
the job enables the worker to qualify for higher-rated jobs. There
will be opportunities for new workers who enter the industry to be­
come skilled maintenance workers by undergoing a formal

-3 3 -

apprenticeship program in chemical plants. In addition, some of
the skilled maintenance jobs will go to experienced workers from
outside the industry.
Because a large proportion of the technical personnel in this
industry are employed in the research and development activities,
the employment opportunities for professional and technical work­
ers depend to a considerable extent upon the future levels of activi­
ties in these fields. The broad group of chemical and allied indus­
tries which includes industrial chemicals, has one of the most ex­
tensive programs of industrial research in the Nation, ranking
third among all industries in the number of research engineers
and scientists employed.
Because of the vital role of research
activities in developing and expanding markets for industrial chemi­
cals, the industry is likely to continue to provide a large number of
employment opportunities for chemists, chemical engineers, labora­
tory technicians, and related staff.
Ifeny skilled maintenance workers are needed In industrial chemical plants because of the
large and growing amounts of chemical equipment needed and because high temperatures and
pressures greatly increase the wear on this equipment.

10 See footnote 5, page 13.


Studies of employment trends and opportunities in the various
occupations and professions are made available by the Occupational
Outlook Service of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
These reports are for use in the vocational guidance of veter­
ans, in assisting defense planners, in counseling young people in
schools, and in guiding others considering the choice of an occupa­
tion. Schools concerned with vocational training and employers and
trade-unions interested in on-the-job training have also found the
reports helpful in planning programs in line with prospective employ­
ment opportunities.
Two types of reports are issued, in addition to the Occupational
Outlook Handbook: Occupational outlook bulletins describing the
long-run outlook for employment in each occupation and giving in­
formation on earnings, working conditions, and the training required;
and Special reports issued from time to time on such subjects as
the general employment outlook, trends in the various States, and
occupational mobility.
These reports are issued as bulletins of the Bureau of Labor
Statistics. Most of them may be purchased from the Superintendent
of Documents, Washington 25, D. C. , at the prices listed with a
25-percent discount on 100 copies or more. Those‘reports which
are listed as free may be obtained directly from the United States
Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington 25,
D. C. , as long as the supply lasts.
Employment Information on Major Occupations for Use
in Guidance. Bulletin 998 (1951 Revised Edition). $3.
Includes brief reports on more than 400 occupations of interest
in vocational guidance including professions; skilled trades; clerical,
sales, and service occupations; and the major types of farming. Each
report describes the employment trends and outlook, the training
qualifications required, earnings, and working conditions. Intro­
ductory sections summarize the major trends in population and em­
ployment and in the broad industrial and occupational groups, as
background for an understanding of the individual occupations.


The Handbook is designed for use in counseling, in class­
es or units on occupations, in the training of counselors, and as a
general reference. Its 600 pages are illustrated with 103 photo­
graphs and 85 charts.
Electric Light and Power Occupations, Employment
Outlook in
Bulletin 944 (1948). Illus................................................................ 30 cents
Railroad Occupations, Employment Outlook in
Bulletin 961 (1949). Illus................................................................ 30 cents
Engineers, Employment Outlook for
Bulletin 968 (1949). Illus................................... ............................ 55 cents
Elementary and Secondary School Teachers,
Employment Outlook for
Bulletin 972 (1949). Illus................. ..............................................40 cents
Petroleum Production and Refining, Employment Outlook in
Bulletin 994 (1950). Illus................................................................ 30 cents
M en's Tailored Clothing Industry, Employment Outlook in
Bulletin 1010 (1951). Illus............................................................. 25 cents
Department Stores, Employment Outlook in
Bulletin 1020 (1951). Illus............................................................. 20 cents
Accounting, Employment Outlook in
Bulletin 1048 (1952). Illus............................................................. 20 cents
Earth Scientists, Employment Outlook for
Bulletin 1050 (1952). Illus.............................................................

30 cents

Merchant Marine, Employment Outlook in the
Bulletin 1054 (1952). Illus.............................................................

30 cents

Electronics Manufacturing, Employment Outlook in the
Bulletin 1072 (1952). Illus..............................................................25 cents
Printing Occupations, Employment Outlook in
Bulletin 1126 (1953). Illus. Reprinted from the 1951
Occupational Outlook Handbook................................. ................... 25 cents
Air Transportation, Employment Outlook in
Bulletin 1128 (1953). Illus. Reprinted from the 1951
Occupational Outlook Handbook..................................................... 20 cents

- 3 6 -

Mechanics and Repairmen, Employment Outlook for
Bulletin 1129 (1953). Illus. Reprinted from the 1951
Occupational Outlook Handbook........................................................20 cents
Metalworking Occupations, Employment Outlook in
Bulletin 1130 (1953). Illus. Reprinted from the 1951
Occupational Outlook Handbook........... ...........................................

30 cents

Technicians, Employment Outlook in
Bulletin 1131 (1953). Illus.................................................................. 25 cents
Automobile Industry, Employment Outlook in the
Bulletin 1138 (1953). Illus.................................................................. 25 cents
Physicists, Employment Outlook for
Bulletin 1144 (1953). Illus.................................................................. 25 cents
Banking Occupations, Employment Outlook in
Bulletin 1156 (1954). Illus................................................................

30 cents

Effect of Defense Program on Employment Outlook in
Engineering. (Supplement to Bulletin 968, Employment
Outlook for Engineers) (1 9 5 1 )............................................................ 15 cents
Effect of Defense Program on Employment Situation in
Elementary and Secondary School Teaching. (Supplement
to Bulletin 972, Employment Outlook for Elementary and
Secondary School Teachers) (1 9 5 1 )................................................. 15 cents
Employment, Education, and Earnings of American Men of
Science. Bulletin 1027 (1 9 5 1 ).......................................................... 45 cents
Employment and Economic Status of Older Men and Women.
Bulletin 1092 (May 1 9 52)..................................................................... 30 cents
Federal White-Collar Workers - Their Occupations and
Salaries, June 1951. Bulletin 1117 (1 9 5 2 ).................................. 15 cents
Negroes in the United States: Their Employment and
Economic Status. Bulletin 1119 (December 1952) ................

30 cents

Mobility of Tool and Die Makers, 1940-1951.
Bulletin 1120 (1 9 5 2 )................................................................................ 35 cents

- 3 7 -

Occupational Mobility of Scientists, A Study of Chemists,
Biologists, and Physicists with PhD Degrees.
Bulletin 1121 (1953)................................................................................. 35 cents
Manpower Resources in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering,
1951. Bulletin 1132 (1953).................................................................... 50 cents
Scientific Research and Development in American Industry,
A Study of Manpower and Costs.
Bulletin 1148 (1 9 5 3 )................................................................................ 50 cents
Occupational Planning and College. A leaflet addressed to
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Employment Opportunities for Student Personnel Workers in
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Employment, Education, and Income of Engineers, 1949-1950:
A Survey of Engineering Society Members of Full Profession­
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