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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
L . B . Schw ellenbach, Secretary
B U R E A U O F L A B O R ST A T IST IC S
Ew an Clague, Commissioner

+

Labor in the South

Bulletin 7v£o. 898

U N IT E D S T A T E S
G O V E R N M E N T P R IN T IN G OFFICE
W A SH IN G T O N : 1947

For sale b y the Superintendent o f D ocum ents, U . S. G overnm ent Printing Office
W ashington 25, D . C . - Price 35 cents







B ulletin T^o. 898 o f the
U n ited States B ureau o f Labor Statistics

[Reprinted from the

M onthly L abor R eview ,

October 1946, with additional data]

C ontents
Introduction___________________________________________________________
I.— The rise of industry in the South____________________________________
Industry and the rise of cotton culture_____________________________
The beginnings of modern industry_________________________________
Growth of leading industries before 1940:
Textile manufactures__________________________________________
Tobacco manufactures_________________________________________
The petroleum industry_______________________________________
Forest-products industries_____________________________________
The fertilizer industry_________________________________________
Cottonseed and its products___________________________________
Miscellaneous industrial developments_________________________
Industrial developments during World War I I ______________________
II. — Labor supply in the South_______________________________________
Migration_________________________________________________________
Population and labor-force characteristics___________________________
III. — Employment in southern manufactures_________________________
Position of the South in the Nation’s economy______________________
Major components of southern manufacturing______________________
Major industry groups— South compared with the Nation___________
Trend of employment in the South, by industry group______________
Postwar highlight in southern employment__________________________
Postwar highlights— South and United States, by industry group____
Employment in Southern States_______________________
IV. — Income in the South____________________________________________
Per capita income__________________________________________________
Income status of the southern worker______________________________
Income payments and their composition, 1929-45___________________
Aggregate income payments________________________________________
V.
— Regional wage differentials_________________
Characteristic regional wage positions______________________________
Variations in wages at various skill levels___________________________
Some conditions affecting southern wages___________________________
VI. — Wages in specific industries in the South------------------------------------Cotton textiles_____________________________________________________
Hosiery_______________________
Wood furniture___________________________
Tobacco products--------------------Pulp, paper, and paperboard industry------------------------------------------Ferrous and nonferrous foundries___________________________________
Southern electric light and power systems__________________________
Warehousing and storage___________________________________________
Retail stores_________________________ _____ - ----------------------------------Coalmining____________________________________
Railroad transportation ........



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IV

CONTENTS

Page
V II. — The Fair Labor Standards Act and the South_____________________
The provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act____________________
The importance of the wage and hour provisions to southern workers.
Economic effect of the wage provisions on southern industries_______
Effect of the hours provisions on southern industries_________________
V III. — Living costs in large cities in the South_______________________
City-to-city comparisons___________________________________________
IX .
— State labor legislation in the South____________________________
State labor departments___________________________________________
Hours of work_____________________________________________________
Minimum wage____________________________________________________
Industrial home work______________________________________________
Wage payment and wage collection laws____________________________
Industrial safety and health________________________________________
Workmen’s compensation__________________________________________
Industrial relations________________________________________________
Unemployment insurance__________________________________________
Child labor________________________________________________________
X.
— Social security in the South_____________________________________
Operation of the old-age and survivors’ insurance program__________
Adequacy of old-age and survivors’ insurance in the South__________
Operation of unemployment compensation laws_____________________
Adequacy of unemployment compensation in the S outh,___________
X I. — Development of trade-unionism in the South____________________
The Knights of Labor in the South_________________________________
Beginnings of permanent unionism under American Federation of
Labor________________________________
Quiescent years, 1902-14___________________________________________
War boom and postwar collapse, 1914-22___________________________
Upsurge in textiles, 1922-29________________________________________
The 1930 organizing campaign_____________________________________
Labor unrest in depression_________________________________________
The N R A period___________________________________________________
National Labor Relations Act, union rivalry, and war years 1935-45_
Organizing campaign of 1946_______________________________________
Some factors in southern unionism_________________________________
X II. — Cooperatives in the South_____________________________________
Development in individual States__________________________________




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L etter o f Transm ittal

U n it e d S t a t e s D e p a r t m e n t of L a b o r ,
B u r e a u of L a b o r S t a t is t ic s ,

W ashington , D. C., February 28, 1947.

The S e c r e t a r y of L a b o r :
I have the honor to transmit herewith a study of selected aspects of the status
of labor in the South. The study incorporates, with minor revisions, material
that first appeared in the October 1946 issue of the Monthly Labor Review and
contains, in addition, a substantial amount of new material. This is one of a
series of studies in regional labor conditions that the Bureau intends to undertake.
The present study was planned and directed by H. M. Douty, Chief of the
Bureau’s Labor Economics Staff. The work involved the cooperation of many
parts of the Bureau and of the Division of Labor Standards. Appropriate
acknowledgement for individual contributions will be found in the form of foot­
notes to each section of the report.
E w a n C l a g u e , Com missioner.

Hon. L.

B . SCHWELLENBACH,




Secretary o f Labor.




L abor in the South
Introduction
The subject matter o f this bulletin should contribute appreciably
to our knowledge of southern labor conditions.* It dpes not, however,
1
constitute an exhaustive analysis of the position o f labor in the region.
This is true even within the specific fields o f inquiry. For example,
it is quite impossible fully to explore trade-muon development or
wage differentials within the confines of single articles.
The definition o f “ South,” as employed in this bulletin, is not
entirely uniform. Except where a different coverage is specifically
indicated, however, the term relates to 13 States. Nine o f these
States— Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida,
Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi—are generally taken
to comprise the Southeast; the remaining four—Arkansas, Louisiana,
Oklahoma, and Texas— are in the Southwest. This tremendous
region contains 843,812 square miles o f territory; its population in
July 1945 was estimated at 37,624,000, excluding armed forces over­
seas but including armed forces distributed by State o f station.
Civilian population was estimated at 35,416,000.
The South as thus defined is not a homogeneous area. There is
great and rich diversity in the geography, economy, and culture of
the region. It is necessary to emphasize this point because the analysis
that follows deals largely, although by no means wholly, in aggregates
and averages. This type o f social arithmetic is an indispensable tool
for many analytical and policy-making purposes, but by its very
nature it conceals wide variations in social existence and experience.
I f there is diversity in the South, there is also a measure of unity.
This unity is partly historical and partly a reflection of the fact that
from the colonial period to the present the South has remained pre­
dominantly agrarian. T o agriculture must be added the economic
activities that depend directly upon the forest resources of the region
and upon the wealth, including petroleum, under the earth. The
South has been primarily an exporter of raw and semifinished products;
its industrial development began relatively late and under severe
initial handicaps. The ante bellum South, for various reasons, did
not encourage the growth o f industrial enterprise; and even as late as
1930 a group o f southern intellectuals could argue (in I ’ll Take M y
Stand) that the social cost of industrialism outweighed its benefits.

i This report is based on seven articles that appeared in the October 1946 issue of the Monthly Labor
Beview; a substantial amount of material has been added, most of which covers entirely new subjects.



1

2

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

Industrialization, however, has increased significantly. In 1880,
less than 8 percent of the wage earners employed in manufacturing in
the United States were in the 13 Southern States. By 1939 this
percentage had risen to 17.2. Moreover, while the absolute level of
factory employment declined sharply in the country as a whole
between 1929 and 1939, there was a small increase in the level of manu­
facturing employment in the southern region. An average of 1,362,027 wage earners were employed in manufacturing in the South in 1939.
Manufacturing employment in the South increased sharply during the
war years.
The manufacturing base in the South has been comparatively
narrow, resting largely upon the textile industries (principally cotton
textiles and hosiery), lumber, furniture, and tobacco, with petroleum
refining in the Southwest. Other industries (iron and steel, machinery, apparel, and a host of others) have been rather thinly represented.
However, the war apparently has strengthened a tendency for the
industrial structure of the South to broaden, partly as a result of the rise
of essentially new industries and partly from decentralizing tendencies
elsewhere. Texas is a conspicuous example, and the Southeast is
vibrant with new industrial undertakings.
This bulletin deals with some of the basic factors affecting labor in
the South. The analysis of key population and labor force charac­
teristics is essential to any broad understanding of the position of
labor in the region. The sections on income trends and levels and
on wages and wage differentials provide, in conjunction with the
section on living costs, insight into the relative economic position of
the southern industrial worker and of other segments of the southern
population. They also provide a basic explanation for the great
migratory movements discussed in the section on labor supply.
Changes in manufacturing employment during the war and immediate
postwar periods are also analyzed.
Two sections relate to efforts by workers to improve their economic
well-being through organization. The first of these traces the develop­
ment of the trade-union movement in the South; the second deals
with the comparatively small consumers’ cooperative movement.
Finally, sections are devoted to legislation enacted by the Southern
States for the protection of labor or relating to labor organizations
and collective bargaining, to the impact of the Fair Labor Standards
A ct on the South, to old-age and survivors’ insurance and unemploy­
ment compensation, and to the rise of industry in the region.




I.— T h e R ise o f Indu stry in the South 1
Industrial enterprise has always been present in the South. During
the colonial period a variety of relatively simple processing operations
were performed on the products of southern fields and forests; various
household industries supplied basic consumer needs; and by the time
of the Revolution more complex forms of enterprise were beginning
to emerge.
The colonial South had its grist mills for grinding com and other
grains and larger merchant mills to prepare flour for export and for
sale in stores. Tobacco, the chief southern staple during the colonial
period, had to be dried, sorted, and packed, and rice had to be cleaned
and polished. A more complicated operation was the processing
of indigo into marketable cakes. Sawmills became common through­
out the South in the eighteenth century, and lumber, in addition
to its local use, became a leading export item. The cooperage industry
flourished. Potash and pearlash, obtained from the ashes of hard­
woods and used for bleaching and in making soap and glass, were in
great demand in both England and the Colonies. B y 1700, naval
stores— tar, pitch, rosin, and turpentine— had become the chief export
of the Carolinas.
The household manufacture of such articles as shoes, clothing,
kitchen utensils, farm tools, and furniture was widespread. Colonial
textile manufactures were based primarily upon wool and to a more
limited extent upon flax and hemp. Nearly every colonial home
had its spinning wheel and hand loom. Fulling— a process of shrinking
woolen fibers to produce a better fabric—gradually came to be done
in local shops, the home weavers taking their cloth to the fulling
mill just as they took their grain to the grist mill. Some planters
employed their poorer neighbors to spin and weave; on the larger
plantations slaves performed these tasks. In this way small surpluses
of homespun were sometimes produced for local markets.
Iron works had been established in every colony except Georgia
prior to the Revolution. Near the end of the colonial period, brick­
making made its appearance. The first settlers of Georgia made
some pottery, and other potteries were established in the Carolinas.
Clearly industry was not extensive in the South during the colonial
period, but its development probably coincided as well with the needs
of the southern economy as the exigencies of British colonial policy
would permit.1

1 Prepared by Edgar E. Poulton of the Bureau’s Labor Economics Staff.




3

4

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

In du stry and the R ise o f Cotton Culture

In 1810 manufactures in the South comprised over 20 percent o f the
value of all manufactures in the United States—a proportion since
unequaled. It has been pointed out that “ in 1810 the value of textiles
produced was greater in North Carolina than in Massachusetts, and
the census for that year records more homespun cotton manufactured
in Virginia, South Carolina, and Georgia than in the other 13 States
and Territories combined. Also more flax was spun in Virginia than in
any other State/* 2 As early as 1788 power spinning was carried
on in South Carolina. T o the considerable manufacture o f textiles
and iron in the South recorded in the census of 1810, such miscellaneous
products as saltpeter, leather, rope, gunpowder, hemp, salt, distilled
spirits, and maple sugar contributed a crude but important diversity
This early industrial development ran up against a combination of
factors in the southern economy that were to delay industrial growth
for at least half a century. The invention of the cotton gin; an almost
insatiable market for cotton fiber; the existence of vast areas of land
suitable for cotton; and the institution of slavery— all of these factors
conspired to foster cotton culture at the expense of other forms of
enterprise. In 1826 southern cotton production exceeded 1 million
bales; by 1850 production stood at over 2 million bales; and in 1860
about 5 million bales were raised.
Staple plantation agriculture tended to absorb the capital and
managerial skill of the region. Capital was scarce, and such surpluses
as arose went largely into the purchase of land or slaves; outside
capital was, in general, neither sought nor attracted. White im­
migrants, who made up an appreciable proportion of the N ation’s
supply of skilled labor, generally avoided districts heavily populated
by Negro slaves; in 1860 only 5 percent of the free population in the
South was foreign-born, while immigrants made up 18 percent of the
population of the rest of the country. Such factories as were estab­
lished in the South typically depended upon the initiative and
resources of one or a few individuals.
While cotton production was increasing fifteenfold between 1810
and 1860, southern industry failed to hold its own. However, there
was progress in technology; new kinds of products were turned out,
and household manufacture was steadily displaced by the growth of
mills. Transportation barriers were lessened by the appearance of
the river steamboat and by the introduction of railroads, in whose
development the South pioneered. The abundant water power of
the Piedmont was increasingly utilized, and coal production increased.
But the relative decline in southern manufacturing was striking.

2 Mary Anderson, Women’s Place in Industry in Ten Southern States, Washington, Government Print­
ing Office, 1931, (p. 2).'



RISE OF INDUSTRY

5

B y 1860 the proportion o f the value of the Nation's manufactures
produced in the South was only hah of its share in 1810, and no more
than 10 percent of the Nation's wage earners were located in the
region.
The manufactures started in the South during the 40 years before
the Civil War were, by and large, a product of temporary depression
in the cotton market. Even such depressions, however, did not
effect a substantial realignment of resources, for the plantation
system was insensitive to changes in economic demand, and small
farmers reacted to lower cotton prices—if at all—by trying to increase
production.
There was some development in textile manufacturing during the
ante bellum period. The largest cotton mill in the South prior to
the Civil War was established in 1847 by William Gregg at Graniteville, S. C. This mill contained 9,000 spindles and 300 looms, and
employed 300 workers. The 1860 U. S. Census of Manufactures
listed 603 textile mills o f all types in the South, with an average
employment of 25 workers. Of these establishments, 163 mills
employing 10,187 workers were designated as cotton mills.
Next to textiles, iron manufacture was the leading southern
industry during this period, differing from its colonial character in its
substitution of magnetite for bog ore, in its occasional use of coal for
smelting, and in the greater variety and refinement of its products.
Between 1810 and 1860 the number of sawmills in Virginia increased
from 112 to 779, and by 1855 Wilmington, N. C., and M obile, Ala.,
were each exporting annually about 18,000,000 feet of lumber. Tur­
pentine came to dominate naval stores production as distillation was
simplified by introduction of the copper still, and a derivative—
camphene— became popular as an illuminant. B y 1860 Virginia was
the leading flour manufacturing State in the South, possessing 1,383
flour mills and even an export market in Brazil. Tobacco manufac­
turing was stimulated about 1850 by discovery o f the yellow tobacco
leaf in North Carolina; its manufacture had started at Durham by
1858, but Louisville, K y., and the James River area in Virginia
remained the chief centers and pipe tobacco the chief product. Leather
factories devoted largely to the manufacture of boots and shoes were
common in the cattle-raising States; and in the grain areas there were
small distilleries.
The Beginnings o f M odern In du stry

The Civil War and its aftermath profoundly dislocated the economic
structure o f the South. B y 1880, however, a number o f factors
favorable to industrialization began to converge, and that year is
generally taken to mark the beginning of the South's modern industrial




LABOR IN TH E SOUTH

6

era. One factor of very great importance was the change in public
attitude toward industrial development. “ Bring the mills to the
cotton” became, in a sense, the slogan of a crusade. Falling cotton
prices between 1866 and 1880 lent impetus to the movement. Capital
for the early mills frequently was secured by community subscription
from many small investors, supplemented by subscriptions from
machinery manufacturers and advances from commission houses.
Technical change was of tremendous importance in cotton manu­
facture. The ring spindle and the automatic loom greatly reduced
the need for skilled labor, and the development of the humidifier and
temperature regulator aided efficient cotton processing.
Between 1880 and 1900 the number of wage earners and the value
of manufactures in the South increased about threefold (table 1).
This represented a greater rate of industrialization than occurred
throughout the country as a whole: the proportion of the Nation’s
wage earners in the South increased from 8 percent to 13 percent
over the period, while the region’s proportion of the value o f manu­
factures rose from 6 percent to 8 percent (table 2).
The manufacture of cotton goods led the industrial advance.
Significant support, however, came from the appearance or revitalizaT

able

1.— Trend o f Manufacturing in the South, Southeast, and Southwest, as M easured
by Employment and Value o f Product, by Decades, 1850-1939

[Source: U. S. Census of Manufactures]
Year

Wage earners
South

South­
east i

I860_________________ 109,866 101,741
I860—................................ 131,979 117,864
1870................................... 174,798 133,594
1880................................... 209,065 180,182
1890—............................... 436,296 348,753
1899................................... 594,973 481,585
1909................................... 928,548 724,028
1919................................... 1,168,787 883,543
1929................................... 1,338,131 1,040,388
1939................................... 1,362,027 1,099,447

Value of product
South­
west 2

South

8,125
14,115
41, 204
28,883
87,543
113,388
204,520
285, 244
297,743
262,580

$100,872,071
193,462,521
253,618,436
315,924,772
667,893,335
953,370,000
2,081,370,000
6,795,589,215
8,215,101,880
8,253,143,880

Southeast *

Southwest2

$92,386,208
$8,485,863
168,417,268
25,045,253
213,309,995
40,308,441
264,243,502
51,681,270
516,813,447
151,079,888
252,314,000
701,056,000
1,455,927,000
625,443,000
4,517,727,922 2,277,861,293
5,413,010,067 2,802,091,813
5,685,322,458 2,567,821,432

Percentage change, by decade
1850.________________
1860...................................
1870...................................
1880...................................
1890—...............................
1899—...............................
1909...................................
1919...................................
1929...................................
1939...................................

+20.1
+32.4
+19.6
+108.7
+36.4
+56.1
+25.9
+14.5
+1.8

+15.8
+13.3
+34.9
+93.6
+38.1
+50.3
+22.0
+17.7
+5.7

+73.7
+191.9
-29.9
+203.1
+29.5
+80.4
+39.5
+4.2
-11.8

+91.8
+31.1
+24.6
+111.4
+42.7
+118.3
+226.5
+20.9
+ .5

1-82.3
-26.7
(-23.9
-95.6
+35.6
+ 107.7
+ 210.3
+19.8
+5.0

+195.1
+60.9
+28.2
+192.3
+67.0
+147.9
+264.2
+23.0
-8 .4

1 Southeast includes Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky. Tennessee*
Alabama, and Mississippi.
* Southwest includes Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.




7

RISE OF INDUSTRY

T a b l e 2.— Proportion o f Total United States Wage Earners and Value o f Product in

M anufacturing in the South, Southeast, and Southwest. Decennial Years 1850-1939

[Source: U. S. Census of Manufactures]
Year
I860.............................................
1860.............................................
1870..............................................
1880.............................................
1890.............................................
1899.............................................
1909.............................................
1919..............................................
1929..............................................
1939..............................................

Percent of United States wage
earners in manufacturing
South
11.4
10.1
8.5
7.7
9.3
12.6
14.0
13.0
15.2
17.2

Percent of United States value
of manufactures

Southeast1 Southwest2 South
10.6
9.0
6.5
6.6
7.4
10.2
10.9
9.8
11.8
13.9

0.8
1.1
2.0
1.1
L9
2.4
3.1
3.2
3.4
3.3

9.9
10.2
6.0
5.9
7.1
8.3
10.0
11.0
11.7
14.5

Southeast1 Southwest2
9.1
8.9
5.0
4.9
5.5
6.1
7.0
7.3
7.7
10.0

0.8
1.3
1.0
1.0
1.6
2.2
3.0
3.7
4.0
4.5

1 Southeast includes Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee,
Alabama, and Mississippi.
2 Southwest includes Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.
tion of other industries founded upon new markets and technologies.
It was during this period that the tobacco industry gave promise o f
its fabulous future, under the influence of the cigarette machine and
North Carolina's popular yellow leaf. The important iron and steel
industry concentrated around Birmingham, Ala., had its beginning in
1876 as the development of the open-hearth process permitted the
utilization of local ore and coal. Lumbering took on added stature
as the decline of northern timber sources stimulated cutting of southern
yellow pine. In 1888 the manufacture of furniture began at High
Point, N. C., now the second largest furniture center of the country.
Local production of fertilizer, utilizing readily available raw materials,
became increasingly important in order to maintain the fertility of
soils steadily drained by the cultivation of cotton and tobacco. In
cottonseed oil and cake, the cotton plant was found to have valuable
subsidiary uses. And at the turn of the century discovery of the rich
Spindletop field in Texas first brought the Southwest's phenomenal
petroleum resources into view.
From the base established during the last two decades of the
nineteenth century, southern industry expanded steadily. Between
1899 and 1919 the number of wage earners in manufacturing almost
doubled, and the increase continued during the prosperous twenties
and even (in face of a national decline in industrial employment)
during the depressed thirties. By 1939 the value of southern manu­
factures exceeded $8,000,000,000 (table 1). Continued industrializa­
tion during World War II raised southern manufacturing output to
new heights.
This industrial advance has been based upon a number of factors.
The southern labor supply has been large relative to industrial em­
ployment opportunities. Because of the character o f the labor market,



8

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

industry in the South has been able, on the whole, to obtain labor at
wage rates lower than those paid for comparable work in other parts
of the country. A second factor has been the existence in the South
of raw materials of various types to the fabrication of which the
abundant labor supply has been adapted. Indeed, the industrializa­
tion of the South has involved chiefly the processing of southern raw
materials for sale primarily outside the region— cotton textiles, pulp
and paper products, tobacco, furniture, sugar, and petroleum products.
Future development may include a greater variety of industries
producing goods predominantly for local consumption and a larger
representation of industries engaged in complex fabrication or
assembly (e. g., machinery).
Industry itself is a great progenitor of industry. In the cotton
mills, tobacco factories, blast furnaces, sawmills, furniture establish­
ments, fertilizer plants, and oil refineries established in the South at
the turn of the century there existed the germs of the subsequent
rapid development. Tobacco profits were not only reinvested in the
industry, but also found their way into the textile expansion and
into the hydroelectric power development of the Piedmont. Rail­
roads steadily displaced river traffic, and coal mining grew apace
with the demand for steam power. In towns having both textile
mills and furniture factories, the employment of women in the former
and men in the latter boosted family income and at the same time
helped to stabilize the local economy. The chemical revolution
precipitated by W orld War I brought forth a myriad of new products
from the South’s store of cellulose (cotton and w ood), hydrocarbons
(petroleum, coal, and naval stores), and industrial elements (sulphur
and fertilizer ingredients, particularly). The interaction of these and
other developments produced markets, skills, profits, and attitudes
propitious for the greater industrialization that was to come with
W orld War II.
Growth o f Leading Industries B efore 1940

TEXTILE MANUFACTURES
Cotton-goods manufactures in the South doubled and redoubled in
importance in the early decades of this century. Between 1899 and
1939 the Southeast’s share of the spindles in the industry increased
from 22 percent to 73 percent of the Nation’s total (table 3). The
so-called migration of the industry to the South is shown by the
decline in spindles in New England from 68 percent to 22 percent of
the total during the same period. Over three-fifths of the spindles
in the South in 1939 were in the Carolinas, reflecting the tendency of
the mills to concentrate in the Piedmont while cotton cultivation
moved steadily south and west. The growth of cotton textile manu


9

RISE OF INDUSTRY

T a b l e 3,— Spindles 1 in the Cotton-Goods Industry, in the United States, New England9

and the Southeast, by States, fo r Decennial Years 1899-1939

[Source: U. S. Census of Manufactures]
Region

1899 2

1909

1919

United States........ .........................................
New England................................. -..............
Southeast........................................................
Alabama.................................. .................
Georgia----------------------------- ---------Kentucky_______ _________________
Mississippi--------- ------- -----------------North Carolina------------------- ---------South Carolina.-...................................Tennessee........................-........................
Virginia............................... ....................
Percentage of total United States in New
England___________________________
Percentage of total United States in the
Southeast____________ -................ ........

19,463,984
13,165,809
4,234,398
419,968
832,321
66,663
78,146
1,137,328
1,436,969
130,296
132,707

27,395,800
15,383,909
10,065,288
885,803
1,747,483
72,956
153,804
2,908,383
3,754,251
225,638
316,970

33,718,953
17,542,926
14,274,270
1,108,933
2,459,143
85,836
158,802
4,622,714
4,949,225
329,337
560,280

67.6
21.8

56.2
36.7

52.0
42.3

1929

1939 3

31,583, 588 4 25,396,695
12,174,353 5,562,796
17,843,852 18, 552,202
1,760,628 1,862,533
3,053,154 3,553,841
71,480
(4
)
123,000
157,576
6,020,134 6,475,426
5,580,589 .5,320,498
556,316
542,916
678,560
639,412
38.5
56.5

21.9
73.0

i Classified as “active-producing” spindles for the years 1899 to 1929.
* Includes 413,032 spindles in other than cotton mills.
* Includes ring spinning, mule spinning, and doubling and twisting spindles in the cotton-goods industry;
excludes those in other textile manufactures.
Total includes 1,281,697 spindles (including some in Kentucky) which were not distributed by State
or region.
*

factures in the South was characterized initially by production of
the coarse and cheaper goods. Gradually, however, the southern
industry turned more and more to the production of finer yarns and
fabrics, and extended its operations to include dyeing and finishing.
Other textile industries developed (see tables 4 and 5). B y 1939
one-half of all the wage earners in the country's hosiery industry were
in the South, one-fourth in North Carolina alone. The South was
quick to adapt its mills to the processing of synthetic fibers. Between
1929 and 1939 the number of workers engaged in the manufacture
of silk and rayon in the Southeast increased fivefold; and in the latter
year this region had one-fourth of the Nation's wage earners in
the industry. The production of woolen and worsted goods, while
still predominantly located in the North, exhibited a measure of
growth in the South. In 1939 these branches of textile manufactures
together accounted for 39 percent of the manufacturing wage earners
and 22 percent of the value of manufactures in the Southeast, indica­
tive of the preeminent position of the textile industry in this area.
Textile manufacturing is relatively unimportant in the Southwest.

TOBACCO MANUFACTURES
Although the tobacco plant was cultivated at Jamestown as early
as 1612, centuries passed before its local manufacture matched its role
as an agricultural staple. Kentucky and the James River area of
Virginia were early centers for the manufacture of pipe and chewing
tobacco, and in Florida there appeared about 1850 an important
cigar industry based on imports of Cuban leaf.



LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

10

T a b le 4. — Number o f Wage Earners and Value o f Manufactures in Selected Industries

in the South, Southeast, and Southwest, 1939

[Source: U. S. Census of Manufactures]
Industry

Wage earners
South

Southeast Southwest South

Cotton goods1..................................... 307,951 301,479
78,328
78,328
Hosiery2 ____________________
30,513
Silk and rayon manufacturing.......... 30,513
13,080
13,080
Dyeing and finishing of textiles8---40,122
Men’s clothing .................................. 48,224
33,939
Tobacco manufacturing...................... 35,149
Lumber and timber products8......... 175,084 119,121
40,067
45,939
Furniture6...........................................
15,992
Printing and publishing.................... 26,197
11,219
Fertilizers........................................... 12,054
14,354
7,717
Cottonseed products7........................
3,324
Naval stores8____________ ______
2,524
Petroleum and coal products—......... 29,297
12,603
Pulp and paper products •................. 18,194
30,516
Chemical products10.......................... 35,103
11,156
14,266
Stone products11.................................
9,027
9,027
Cast-iron pipe and fittings.................
65,605
Food products..................................... 115,264
Total of selected industries................ 1,011,348 823,008
Total manufacturing in South8........ 1,362,027 1,099,447
Percentage these selected industries
comprise of total manufacturing.
74.9
74.3
*

Value of manufactures
(in thousands)
Southeast Southwest

6.472 $842,865 $828,229
$14,636
187,724 187,724
117,943 117,943
52,613
52,613
8,102 137,952 114,280
23,672
1,210 919,236 916,020
3,216
55,963 395,041 271,092
123,949
5,872 158,467 129,275
29,192
10,205 185,492 109,779
75.713
835 110,692 102,737
7,955
6,637 156,807
75.714
81,093
31,476
26,773 977,840
43,945
933,895
5,591 158,791 110,245
48,546
4,587 315,923 245,513
70,410
3,110
68,806
46,956
21,850
33,986
33,986
49,659 1,269,029 663,752
605,277
185,016 6,120,683 4,055,182 2,034,025
262,580 8,253,143 5,685,322 2,567,821
70.5
74.2
71.3
79.2

i Includes cotton broad woven goods, cotton narrow fabrics, cotton yarn, and cotton thread.
s Includes both full-fashoined and seamless hosiery.
a Includes dyeing and finishing of cotton, rayon, silk, and linen; excludes such processing of woolen and
worsted goods.
* Includestailored clothing,shirts, trousers, work clothing (notelsewhere classified), underwear, neckwear
and hats and caps.
* Includes products of logging camps, sawmills, planing mills, and plywood mills.
6Includes upholstered furniture, other household furniture, office furniture, public building furniture,
laboratory furniture, partitions, and mattresses.
7 Excludes processing of cottonseed in making cooking oils.
8Although the data are not separately available by States, thus precluding a regional breakdown, all
establishments covered by the Census were located in the South. Consequently the total of selected indus­
tries in the South is greater than the sum of Southeast and Southwest.
* Includes products of pulp mills and paper and paperboard mills, and manufacture of paperboard con­
tainers and boxes, notelsewhere classified; excludes other converted paper products.
ic Includes all products so classified by the Census, except fertilizers, cottonseed products, and naval
stores, given separately above.
ii Includes cement, lime, cut-stone, and concrete products.
It was not, however, until the discovery of the flue-cured North
Carolina leaf and the introduction of cigarettes from Great Britain
in the early 1860’s that the foundation was laid for the industry’s
phenomenal expansion. The rapid growth of the industry culminated
in 1904 in a trust which, after an adverse Supreme Court decision in
1911, was dissolved into the important companies which continue to
dominate the industry.
The development of tobacco manufactures was highlighted by the
steadily growing market for cigarettes. In 1939 nearly four-fifths of
the value of tobacco manufactures in the United States, but fewer
than one-third of the industry’s wage earners, were associated with
the cigarette branch of the industry. A t the same time, 40 percent
of the industry— in terms of value— was located in North Carolina,
principally in large, highly mechanized cigarette-making factories



RISE OF INDUSTRY

11

around Durham and Winston-Salem, while Richmond, Ya., and
Louisville, K y., were secondary centers.

THE PETROLEUM INDUSTRY
In the first decade of the twentieth century, the Nation’s oil center
moved from the pioneering Pennsylvania fields , to Oklahoma and
Texas, thence to California in the early twenties, and back to Texas
in the early thirties with the discovery of the rich East Texas field.
Since then Texas has steadily extended its lead as the m ajor oilproducing State, alone producing since 1930 about 40 percent of the
Nation’s crude petroleum. In recent years, Louisiana has overtaken
Oklahoma’s early lead; these two States, with Texas and California,
comprise the four leading producers in the industry. Since 1883
Kentucky has maintained small but steady production from its
extension of the Pennsylvania field. In 1920 Arkansas entered into
production, to be joined by Mississippi in the late thirties, while
wild-catting continued in other southern States. The approximately
85,000 wage earners in the industry in the South in 1939 represented
about haIf the workers in the industry.
This “ black gold” is the hub of the Southwest’s industrial life,
providing income and employment for thousands not directly asso­
ciated with the industry. Petroleum and its products not only
supply about a third of the Nation’s energy requirements; it is also
a storehouse of organic compounds basic to a wide variety of chemical
T a b le 5.— Proportion o f Total United States Wage Earners and Value of Product in

Manufacturing in Selected Industries Located in the South, 1939

[Source: U. S. Census of Manufactures]
Wage earners
Industry

Cotton goods1.........................................
Hosiery2............................................. .
Silk and rayon manufacturing______
Dyeing and finishing of textiles3.........
Men's clothing * ....................................
Tobacco manufacturing.........................
Lumber and timber products5........
Furniture®..............................................
Printing and publishing.......................
Fertilizers ................................................
Cottonseed products7............................
Naval stores8.........................................
Petroleum and coal products................
Pulp and paper products2....................
Chemical products10..............................
Stone products11.....................................
Cast-iron pipe and fittings. -................
Food products........................................
For footnotes see table 4, p. 10.
738211°— 47------2



United
States

South

409,317 307,951
159,052 78,328
119,821 30,513
60,237 13,080
318,214 48,224
87,525 35,149
360,613 175,084
177,535 45,939
237,484 26,197
18,744 12,054
15,191 14,354
3,324
3,324
105,428 29,297
199,975 18,194
249,877 35,103
69,138 14,266
16,488
9,027
823,693 115,264

Percent­
age of
total
United
States in
South
75.2
49.2
25.5
21.7
15.2
40.2
48.6
25.9
11.0
64.3
94.5
100.0
27.8
9.1
14.0
20.6
54.7
14.0

Value of manufactures
(in thousands)
Percent­
age of
United
total
South United
States
States in
South
$1,168,171 $842,865
187,724
415,836
441,900
117,943
271,167
52,613
137,952
1,150,898
1,322,189
919,236
1,122,058
395,041
737, 270
158,467
2,131,224 .185,492
185,684
110,692
171,476
156,807
31,476
31,476
2,953,973
977,840
1,542,578
158,791
3,345,022
315,923
435,787
68,806
65,079
33,986
10,618,026 1,269,029

72.2
45.1
26.7
19.4
12.0
69.5
35.2
21.5
8.7
59.6
91.4
100.0
33.1
10.3
9.4
15.8
52.2
12.0

12

LABOR IN TH E SOUTH

manufactures. The character of the industry’s development—its
rapidity, its wealth, and advanced technology— injected-a powerful
dynamic into the southern economy.

FOREST-PRODtCTS INDUSTRIES
In the last half century the South has been, except for the Pacific
Northwest, the major source of timber and wood products in this
country. A t the turn of the century the lumber and timber industry
was the largest industry in the South. The industry reached its peak
in terms of the regional economy about 1909, when it engaged one out
of every three wage earners in the South and produced half of the
country’s lumber. In terms of the industry as a whole, the South
increased its proportion of the country’s wage earners in the industry
from 35 percent in 1899 to 48 percent in 1939. Some assurance of
the industry’s future is implicit in the fact that in 1938 the South had
about one-fifth of the Nation’s timber stand and, of greater signifi­
cance, about three-fifths of its relatively scarce hardwoods.
The South also plays an important role in three m ajor branches of
the forest-products industry— the production of naval stores, the
manufacture of furniture, and the production of paper and pulp.
Since colonial times the South has kept a near-monopoly of the naval
stores industry. Destruction of the long-leaf pine of the Carolinas
had placed Georgia and Florida in the forefront of the industry by
the turn of the century, to be succeeded by Mississippi, Louisiana,
and Texas as the industry moved south and west along the coast.
Although the industry has declined precipitously since World War I,
the late adoption of conservation measures and planting of the
prolific slash pine assures continued supplies at the same time that
chemistry has progressively exploited the versatile pitch.
Until about 1900 the furniture industry was located largely near
high-grade woods obtainable in the Northeast and from the virgin
forests of the Middle West. As these supplies dwindled, the hard­
woods of the southern Appalachians provided the basis for a furniture
industry which has grown steadily in both size and quality of product.
In 1939 the South possessed a fourth of the wage earners in the
industry.
The realization that greater advantage could be secured by proc­
essing inferior woods into pulp and paper than by converting them
into shoddy lumber gave rise, along with other factors, to the growth
of a new industry. Although still in its initial phases in 1939, the
pulp and paper mills of the South employed a fourth of the wage
earners in the industry.

THE FERTILIZER INDUSTRY
For several decades the South has produced and consumed well over
half of the Nation’s fertilizer. Various factors account for the



RISE OF INDUSTRY

13

regional concentration of this industry. The high cost of transporting
the bulky, heavy product makes it advisable to locate near consuming
areas; the light, sandy soil and heavy rainfall of much of the South,
and cultivation of the same crop year after year, require heavy
doses of chemical plant food; the necessary raw materials, particularly
phosphates and sulphates, are readily available; and relatively small
capital and simple skills are required to establish and operate a
fertilizer plant.

COTTONSEED AND ITS PRODUCTS

The early disposal of cottonseed is epitomized in the words of one
contemporary who remarked that cottonseed was garbage in 1860,
fertilizer in 1870, cattle feed in 1880, and “ table food and many things
else in 1890.” Subsequent development has further multiplied its
uses to include products varying from margarine and smokeless powder
to varnish and insulation board. The importance of such develop­
ment is evident when it is realized that the cotton plant produces
about 2 pounds of seed for each pound of lint. Since 1910 cottonseed
has accounted for approximately a sixth of the farm value of the cotton
plant, and is a strategic and often lone source of cash as a result of
the practice of exempting cottonseed as security for crop loans. The
industry has in general followed the westward course of cotton cultiva­
tion; in 1939 the Southeast had 51 percent and the Southwest 44
percent of the wage earners in the industry.

MISCELLANEOUS INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENTS
The preponderence in the South of the industries just described is
witness to a want of variety in the region’s manufactures. The
existence of certain other industries making for diversification should,
therefore, be noted.
Flour and grain mills are widely scattered throughout the Border
States. Various food industries have developed to take care of the
increasingly diversified agricultural products. Canning, baking, and
beverages particularly deserve mention. Sugar refining is found in
Louisiana; and in 1939 Kentucky’s distilleries employed 40 percent
of the wage earners in that industry.
At the turn of the century the South had about a fifth of the Nation’s
workers employed in blast furnaces, most of them in Alabama.
Although the relative importance of the industry declined in the South
with the increasing utilization of Lake ores, Birmingham became the
center of a growing and progressive iron and steel industry. The iron
furnaces not only supply modern steel works and rolling mills in the
area, but also provide the basis for a substantial iron-fabrication
industry; in 1939 Alabama produced about half of the Nation’s
cast-iron pipe. During World War II the expansion of Alabama’s
facilities to make iron and steel totaled about 68 million dollars.



14

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

The South’s production of brick and tile has for several decades
been roughly commensurate with its share of the Nation’s total manu­
factures. For many years the quarries of Georgia and Tennessee
have provided the basis for an important cut-stone industry. In
this industry and in the production of lime and of cement and con­
crete products, the South had a fifth of the country’s wage earners
in 1939. The related manufacturer of pottery and glass products
has not, however, made much headway.
The growth of the textile, petroleum, fertilizer, and other industries
described above reflect in different ways and degrees the pervasive
influence of chemical processes in the rapid development of southern
industry. In the industries classified as “ chemical” by the Census,
the South had 22 percent of the wage earners in 1939. About a
third of these were engaged in the manufacture of rayon and allied
products, heavily concentrated in Tennessee and Virginia. The
manufacture of paints, dyes, soaps, plastics, and industrial chemicals,
established at various places, promoted the growth of those industries
which best typify the advances being made by southern industry.
Industrial Developments D uring W orld W ar I I

About a fifth of the Nation’s 20 billion dollar wartime expansion
of manufacturing facilities was undertaken in the South. The
specialized character of this expansion is indicated by the fact that
47 percent of the wartime investment was for the production of
aircraft, ships, ordnance, and explosives. Whether such industrial
expansion can or will be available for peacetime production is one of
the most challenging postwar questions facing the South.
During the war various southern areas became scenes of feverish
industrial activity. Plants for making explosives sprang up all over
the region, often in rural areas, with notable concentrations at
Choteau, Okla.; Minden, L a.; Milan and Kingsport, Tenn.; Louis­
ville and Paducah, K y.; Aberdeen and Flora, M iss.; Pine Bluff, Ark.;
Wilson Dam, Ala.; Texarkana and W aco-McGregor, T ex.; and in
the Roanoke-Radford area of Virginia. One of the plants of the
atom ic bomb project was placed at Oak Ridge, Tenn.
An avalanche of ships came down the ways at Wilmington, N. C .;
Hampton Roads, V a.; Charleston, S. C .; Tampa and Panama City,
F la.; Brunswick, Ga., and from the primary Gulf Coast areas around
M obile and Galveston Bays. Large aircraft factories appeared in
the Dallas-Fort W orth area; at Marietta, Ga.; Louisville, K y.;
Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Okla.; and Memphis, Tenn. Synthetic
rubber plants located near Texas oil at the Houston-Galveston and
Amarillo-Borger areas, with secondary production at Louisville, K y.,
and Eldorado, Ark. Southern facilities for producing aviation gasoline,



RISE OF INDUSTRY

15

amounting to half the Nation’s wartime expansion of such facilities,
located at Houston-Galveston, Amarillo-Borger, and BeaumontPort Arthur, Tex.; Ponca City and Beckett, Okla.; Baton Rouge,
La., and other petroleum centers. Native bauxite ore fed the alu­
minum plant at Pine Bluff, Ark., and others in the heart of the TVA
power region, while still other aluminum plants were built at Austin
and Houston, Tex. The manufacture of various chemicals proceeded
apace at scattered locations, and the region’s production of textiles
and tobacco products rose to new heights.
Despite remarkable achievements in war production, it is doubtful
whether southern industry has advanced its prewar position in the
national economy, when, with 28 percent of both the N ation’s popula­
tion aad land area, it possessed 17 percent of the country’s wage
earners and accounted for 14 percent of the value of its manufactures.
Over the past half century, however, the industrial growth of the region
has been notable, and there is great promise for the future inherent in
its ample power reserves, its forests and its variety of mineral re­
sources, its kind climate and topography, and the aspirations and
native ability of its people.




II.— Labor Supply in the South 1
The economic and social well-being of the South depends both upon
its human resources and upon the quantity and quality of its physical
resources. An examination of migration, population, and labor-force
characteristics, which the war has affected but not fundamentally
altered, is basic to any analysis of the economic position of labor in
the South and of the outlook for economic development in the region.
M igration

Perhaps the most striking aspect of the labor-supply situation in
the South is that the region not only provides labor for its own fac­
tories and farms, but it also contributes substantially to the labor
supply of other regions of the Nation. The natural rate of popula­
tion increase is considerably greater in the South than in the remainder
of the country, owing to the higher fertility in the predominantly
rural South than in the North and West. The pressure of population
on economic opportunities in the South has been such, however, that
large outward migration has taken place. During the 1920-30
decade, the number of migrants leaving the South exceeded the
number entering by an average of 130,000 a year.2 During the
depression of the 1930's, when job opportunities in northern and
western cities were at low levels, the net out-migration continued
but reached only 100,000 a year. W ith the growth of the defense
program, and then of the war production program, the annual rate
stepped up to the unprecedented figure of 300,000.
Perhaps the most important single factor in increasing the rate of
out-migration was the growth of job opportunities in the North and
West: in the 1940-43 period more than 80 percent of the contracts
for war products were let in these regions, in the cities where industry
has long been concentrated. The thousands of jobs which these
contracts opened up had to be filled in part by drawing workers from
the Southern States. Outward migration from the. South continued,
in spite of the letting of contracts and the building up of war facilities
within the region.
Except for the fact that movements were accelerated and were over
longer distances, wartime migration followed the same general pattern*

* Prepared by Sophia O. Mendelsohn and Lester M. Pearbnan of the Bureau’s Occupational Outlook
Division.
*Except where noted, the term “South” as used in this section refers to the 13 States of Alabama, Arkansas,
Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Ten­
nessee, Texas, and Virginia.
16



17

LABOR SUPPLY

that prevailed in peacetime years (table 6). If the 48 States and the
District of Columbia are ranked according to percentage of net
migration in 1935-40 and 1940-45, the 13 Southern States are found
at approximately the same position for the later period as for the
earlier. Thus, if we call the State with the greatest net in-migration
number 1 and the State with the greatest net out-migration number
49, Arkansas is 44th on the list in 1935-40 and 45th in 1940-45.
M ost of the 13 States either maintained the same place on the list or
dropped somewhat lower on the list because of net out-migration.
Only 3 of the Southern States—Alabama, Tennessee, and Texas—
moved up on the list in the direction of relatively less out-migration.
The 13-State area— and every State in it, except only Florida and
Virginia—continued to lose population to other areas.
T

able

6 .— N et

Interstate M igration in the United States, 1935-40 and 1940-45 , by
Region and State 1

Net migration (in thousands)
Region and State

1940-45 2

1935-40

Total
North....................................
West.......................................
South.....................................
Virginia_____________
North Carolina.............
South Carolina.......
Georgia_____________
Florida-------------------Kentucky........ .............
Tennessee.............. ........
Alabama.......................
Mississippi....................
Arkansas.......................
Louisiana___________
Oklahoma.......................
Texas______________

Total

Male

Female

-641
1,915
-1,626
181
-307
-162
-149
219
-308
-79
-134
-230
-265
-19
-356
-17

-615
887
-338
44
-15
-16
-33
147
-55
-39
-73
-28
-75
9
-184
-20

-338
460
-157
31
-6
-5
-12
73
-26
-22
-37
-13
-36
5
-97
-12

-277
427
-181
13
-9
-11
-21
74
-29
-17
-36
-15
-39
4
-87
-8

*Source: U. S. Bureau of the Census.
* Civilian migration only.
As before the war, the South had a net loss in its wartime population
exchanges with other regions (table 6 and chart 1). Of the 1,600,000
migrants who left the South between Pearl Harbor and March 1945,
about 1,000,000 went to the North and 600,000 to the West.8 In
return, however, the South received only 600,000 persons from the
North and 100,000 from the West— a net loss of 400,000 to the North
and 500,000 to the West.
Internal migration in the South during the war also reached record
magnitudes. Gross intrastate migration * in the region amounted to
3,200,000 between December 1941 and March 1945, while movements*
3

3 Data for the South include West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. See
Census release P-5, No. 5.
3Intrastate migration includes migrants whose place of residence was in a diffierent county but in the
same State as the place of residence in December 1941.



LABOR IN T H E SOUTH




19

LABOR SUPPLY
T

able

7.— Civilian M igration in the United States, December 1941 to March 1945

by Region 1

Civilian migration (in thousands)

item

Total

Migration between regions:
From North________ ____________ ___________
From South________________________________
From West__________________________________
Interstate migration in a region------------------- ------intrastate migration in a region____________________

North

1,560
1,630
400
4,090
7,540

South

980
260
1,710
3,370

West

640
140
1,610
3,220

910
650
770
950

* Source: U. S. Bureau of the Census.
between States within the region during this period totaled 1,600,000
(table 7). This reflects a movement from farms to cities during the
war which is as striking as that from the South to other regions of the
country. In fact, migration from the South was in large part a re­
flection of the shifts from rural to urban areas. For the United States
as a whole, the net loss to the farm population through movement of
civilians from farms averaged 900,000 per year in the period 1941 to
1945, compared with only 375,000 during the depression decade of the
thirties and 630,000 in the twenties.6 Evidence of the fact that mi­
grants from the rural South not only went to cities in the North and
West but also to southern cities is found in the large population gains
registered in industrial areas such as M obile and Houston.6
There is one particular implication in interregional migration to
which attention should be called. The outward migration has pro­
vided other areas with workers who have been carried through the
years of childhood, have been educated, and have in many cases re­
ceived some work experience in the South (table 8 and chart 2.) After
passing their early years in the South— unproductive ones in terms of
their immediate contribution to the output of the region— they then
move to other areas which can reap the fruit of this nurture and train­
ing. Data for the 1935-40 period indicate that of those who left the*
•
T

able

8.— A ge Distribution o f Out-Migrants from the South, 1935-40 , by Sex 1

Age group
Total, 5 years of age and over..
5-13 years of age.........................
14-24 years of age.......................
25-34 years of age.......................
35-44 years of age........................
45-54 years of age........................
55 years of age and over______

Percentage distribution
Total

Male

Female

100.0
16.8
27.7
26.8
14.4
7.9
6.4

100.0
16.4
26.3
26.9
15.4
8.6
6.4

100.0
17.2
29.2
26.6
13.4
7.1
6.5

i Source: Based on the Sixteenth Census of Population, 1940, Internal Migration, Age of Migrants.
# See Census release P-S, No. 6.
• See Census release P-44, No. 3.



LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

20
CHART 2

AGE OF OUT-MIGRANTS
MOST PEOPLE WHO LEAVE THE SOUTH ARE IN THE
YOUNG, PRODUCTIVE AGE GROUPS
PERCENT OF TOTAL OUT-MIGRANTS FROM SOUTH, 1935-40
30%f
30%

U N ITE O S TA T E S DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTIC S

SO U R C E : BUREAU OF CENSUS

South in that period, about three-eighths in the 25-34 age group had
a high-school education or better, and six-sevenths had an eighth-grade
education or better. As has been indicated, this give and take be­
tween areas works both ways, with migrants and capital from other
areas entering the Sputh, but, on balance, the South has been making
a contribution to the other richer parts of the country.
A smaller percentage of Negroes left the South for other regions
than was the case among whites, but there were so few colored persons
entering the South from other regions that the South lost propor­
tionately more Negroes than whites in the give and take of population
between 1935 and 1940. Thus, Negroes accounted for one-third of
the net out-migration from the South even though they made up onefourth of the total southern population. Information on the extent of



labor

Su p p l y

21

migration of nonwhites during the war is limited. Some evidence of
migration of Negroes to the West, however, is found in the fact that
the Negro population in five congested production areas on the West
Coast more than doubled between 1940 and 1944.7

POSTWAR PROSPECTS FOR MIGRATION
What are the likely postwar trends with respect to migration of the
South’s population and labor supply? The answer to this question
must necessarily be a conditional one. Migration will be heavily
cut down if any large-scale industrialization program, drawing on the
new war-built plants and on the skills of the wartime force of semi­
skilled and skilled factory workers, should develop vigorously in the
South. But even under this assumption it is likely that migration
from the South will be larger than migration to the South. There
has been a long-term stability in the geographic distribution of em­
ployment opportunities which even the war did not fundamentally
alter. The fast-growing population in the South, confronted with
relatively low job opportunities and security, will continue to provide
workers not only for its own industries but for those in other areas.
Under conditions of fairly high employment, for example, job op­
portunities in New England, in the East North Central areas, and in
the Pacific region are likely to be more favorable than in the South,
so that migration from the South to these areas is bound to occur.
Under conditions of full employment, migration is likely to be even
more pronounced, for migration is a necessary step to full employment,
given the differences in birth rates and industrialization which now
exist and will probably continue to exist between different regions in
our country. Only if severe depression were to set in would there be
much likelihood of a reversal in the pattern of prewar and wartime
migration.8
It is not likely that this generalization will be contradicted by the
movement of returning servicemen. Surveys made by the War
Department in 1944 9 indicate that on the basis of their plans at that
time, 15 in 100 of the soldiers who came from the South are likely to
seek employment in the North or West after the war. This means
that these States will be losing the potential services of many ablebodied and trained workers who could contribute effectively to the
well-being of the Nation by developing the resources of the South.
This trend forcibly suggests how essential is the study of the many
plans and factors which relate to the greater industrialization of the
South.

7 U. S. Bureau of the Census, Population, Series CA-3, Nos. 2,3,5,6, and 8.
8 Detailed analysis of changes in the labor force and postwar prospects for each of the Southern States
appears in the article State and Regional Variations in Prospective Labor Supply, in Monthly Labor
Review, December 1946.
9 See Postwar Migration Plans of Army Enlisted Men, in The Annals of the American Academy of
Political and Social Science, May 1945.



LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

22

Trained and able-bodied labor is just as much a productive asset
as a mine, a stand of timber, or 40 acres of fertile farm land. One of
the South’s major problems is how best to utilize this immensely
valuable productive asset.
Population and Labor-Force Characteristics

In 1940, 37 million of the Nation’s 132 million people lived in
the 13 Southern States. Except for Texas, which accounted for over
6 million persons, and North Carolina, with 3K million, each of the
other 11 States had populations which ranged roughly between 2 and
3 million persons (table 9). The labor force or working population
numbered some 14 million and, being drawn from the population 14
years of age and over, was distributed among the States in much the
same fashion as the total population (table 10).1
T a b l e 9.— Geographical Distribution o f the South’s Population , 1940, by Color and State1

Population, 1940 (in thousands)

State

Total

South.....................................................
Virginia..............................................
North Carolina.-................................
South Carolina..................................
Georgia.............................................
Florida...............................................
Kentucky........................................... .
Tennessee. ..........................................
Alabama— ..........................................
Mississippi- _________________
Arkansas—...........................................
Louisiana..............................................
Oklahoma.............................................
Texas.....................................................

White

37,013
2,678
3,672
1,900
3,124
1,897
2,845
2,916
2,833
2,184
1,949
2,364
2,336
6,415

27,651
2,016
2,568
1,084
2,038
1,382
2,631
2,407
1,849
1,106
1,466
1,512
2,104
5,488

Non white

Percentage distribution
Total

9,362
662
1,004
816
1,086
515
214
509
984
1,078
483
852
232
927

100.0
7.2
9.7
5.1
8.4
5.1
7.7
7.9
7.7
5.9
5.3
6.4
6.3
17.3

White Nonwhite
100.0
7.3
9.3
3.9
7.4
5.0
9.5
8.7
6.7
4.0
5.3
5.5
7.6
19.8

100.0
7.1
10.7
8.7
11.6
5.5
2.3
5.4
10.5
11.5
5.2
9.1
2.5
9.9

i Source: Sixteenth Census of Population, 1940.
T

able

10.— Geographical Distribution o f the South’s Labor Force, 1940, by Sex, Color,

and State 1

Labor force (in thousands) *
State

Total

White

Nonwhite

Total Male Female Total Male Female Total Male Female
South.......................................
Virginia-.................................
North Carolina.................—
South Carolina___________
Georgia....................................
Florida....................................
Kentucky. ............................
Tennessee............................. .
Alabama.................................
Mississippi—. ........................
Arkansas—.............................
Louisiana...............................
Oklahoma........ ..................
Texas.......................................

13,827 10,579 3,248 10,035 8,025 2,010 3,792 2,554
1,031
793
238
764
608
156
267
185
984
724
1,334
350
226
950
384
260
731
516
310
215
415
105
316
206
1,226
890
336
598
773
175
292
453
534
787
560
227
403
131
253
157
999
820
179
757
1.48
905
94
63
1,072
241
831
684
164
848
224
147
241
1,017
776
636
520
116
381
256
612
196
808
314
387
73
421
298
563
679
116
498
425
73
181
138
674
884
210
546
440
106
338
234
804
648
156
592
725
133
79
56
543 2,054 1,650
404
2,455 1,912
262
401

1 Source: Sixteenth Census of Population, 1940.
* Consists of persons 14 years of age and over either employed or unemployed.



1,238
82
124
110
161
96
31
77
125
123
43
104
23
139

23

LABOR SUPPLY

POPULATION AND LABOR-FORCE GROWTH
Labor-force growth is in large measure a function of population
growth. The rise of the American labor force from about 1 million in
1790 to 53% million in 1940 is essentially an outcome o f the increase
in the population of working age— from about 2 million to 101 million
over the 150-year period. Thus, between 1920 and 1940, population
growth caused the southern labor force to expand at a greater rate
than that of the North but at a lower rate than that of the West.
,

Percent increase 1920-40
Population

South............................... ....................................................
North______________________ _______________________
W est.____ ______________________ ________ — ..............

20. 2
16. 3
35. 9

Labor force

25. 0
20. 0
36. 7

In the absence of interstate migration, however, the South would
have experienced by far the greatest rate of population growth, and,
thereby, of labor-force growth. As the following tabulation indicates,
the South has consistently been the region of highest fertility in
the Nation*
N e t reproduction rate i
1906-10

South................... ................................................................
North________ ________________________ _____________
West____________ _____ ____________________________

1985-40

161
122
117

118
87
94

i Net reproduction rate of 100 means that each generation would just replace itself if birth and death rates
of a given period were to continue indefinitely, and if there were no net migration.
This greater fertility is largely a reflection of the predominantly
rural character of the South and of the fact that the proportion of non­
white persons in its population is higher than in the North or West
(table 11). High fertility is characteristic of rural residents and of
nonwhites. M ore than 65 percent of the people in the South lived in
rural areas in 1940; in the other regions of the country, the proportion
was less than 40 percent. Similarly, 1 in every 4 persons in the South
is nonwhite, in contrast to a ratio of less than 1 in 25 for the other
T

able

11.— Regional Distribution o f the Population, 1940, by Residence and Color1

Region

Residence
Total

Color

Rural
Urban nonfarm

Rural All classes
farm

White

Nonwhite

Number (in thousands)
South..................................
North..................................
West...................................

37,013
76,120
13,883

12,873
51,005
8,128

8,616
13,571
3,427

15,524
11,544
2,328

37,013
76,120
13,883

27,651
73,207
13,349

9,362
2,913
534

74.7
96.2
96.2

25.3
3.8
3.8

Percentage distribution
South..................................
North..................................
West...................................

100.0
100.0
100.0

34.8
67.0
58.5

* Source: Sixteenth Census of Population, 1940.



23.3
17.8
24.7

41.9
15.2
16.8

100.0
100.0
100.0

24

LABOR IN TH E SOUTH

regions. It should be noted, however, that even within the same
residence and color groups, fertility is higher in the South than in the
rest of the country.
As shown earlier, a fast-growing population pressing upon relatively
limited economic opportunity has resalted in large-scale migration
from the South in periods of depression as well as prosperity. The
South will continue to export labor as long as its abundance of labor
supply is not matched by opportunities for employment.

POPULATION CHARACTERISTICS AFFECTING LABOR-MARKET PARTICIPATION
The effect of the South’s higher fertility can be seen clearly in
the fact that its population and labor force are comparatively young.
This is the case in spite of heavy out-migration of young and middleaged persons from the South. The median age of the population
of the South in 1940 was 25 years in contrast to 31 years in both the
North and West. Approximately 52 percent of the South’s labor force
was under 35 years of age compared to 46 percent in the North and
44 percent in the West.
In addition, there are significant regional differences with respect
to labor-market participation within each age and sex group. Although
nearly all able-bodied men aged 25-54 years are in the labor force in
every region, the work force of the South has relatively more young
boys and older men, as shown in table 12. In the case of the youngsters,
this is a reflection of the fact that rural youths can more readily enter
the labor force than urban youths and of the related fact that southern
youngsters leave school at a relatively early age. Only one-third
of the southern adult population in 1940 attended school beyond
the eighth grade. This relatively low proportion might be expected
because of the South’s predominantly rural character and because
of its large nonwhite population, but even in each separate residence
and color group the educational level in the South is lower than in
other regions.
Unpaid family work on farms draws large numbers of southern
youth into the labor force. Nearly one-third of the teen-agers in the
T a b le 12.— A ge Composition o f the M ale Labor Force, 1940, by Region 1

Age group
All age groups................................................
14-19 years of age...........................................
20-24 years of age. .........................................
25-64 years of age- .........................................
55-64 years ofage__.......................................
65 years of age and over................................

Number (in thousands)
South
10,579
975
1,469
6,613
1,030
492

North
23,598
1,279
2,845
15, 559
2,821
1,094

1 Source: Sixteenth Census of Population, 1940.
2 Labor force as a percentage of population in each age group.



West
4,379
201
513
2,937
542
186

Proportion in the labor force 2
South
80.0
42.2
88.7
93.9
85.4
48.5

North
78.9
31.1
88.2
94.4
83.9
40.0

West
77.5
28.2
85.5
93.4
81.2
35.5

LABOR SUPPLY

25

South’s 1940 labor force were unpaid family workers in contrast to
one-eighth in the North and one-tenth in the West.
The main reason that southern men retire from work at a later age
than other men is that a greater proportion of them are engaged in
farming, which is typically a family enterprise. As a farmer reaches
old age his children or hired help take over the heavier burdens while
he continues to work around the farm. In industry, on the other
hand, a worker is often forced out of the labor market when he reaches
an age at which he cannot compete with younger men. Other factors
causing men to work to later ages in the South are the generally lower
income levels and the absence of social-security coverage in agri­
culture.
In the South, nearly one woman in four works or seeks work outside
the home. This rate of labor-market participation is slightly lower
than that in the North and on a par with that in the West.
Residence and family characteristics of southern women serve to
reduce the number working outside the home. The fact that rela­
tively more women in the South live in rural areas has acted to lower
the proportion in the labor force. Women in rural areas do not
participate in the labor force to the same extent as urban women,
principally because there is not much opportunity for any work
except farming, where women are employed for the most part only
during the peak planting and harvesting seasons. Moreover, farm
women generally have more household responsibilities and perform
many chores of the type which do not occur in nonfarm households.
One out of every three women in urban areas in 1940 worked or
sought work outside the home, compared with corresponding ratios
of one in five for rural-nonfarm districts and one in eight for ruralfarm areas.
In addition, the fact that the South has proportionately more
married women and more young children per family has a tendency to
keep women out of the labor market. M ost women do not continue
to work outside the home after marriage, and most of those who do
continue to work quit after they have children. For example, among
women aged 18-34 in 1940, approximately 67 percent of the single
women were in the labor force, compared with only 31 percent of the
married women without children, and 8 percent of the married women
with children under 10 years of age.
Color composition works in the opposite direction since nonwhite
women work or seek work (mostly in domestic service) to a greater
extent than do white women. Thus, when farm and nonfarm women
are compared separately, it is found that the rates of labor-force par­
ticipation for the South are higher than the rates for corresponding
groups in other regions.




LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

26

Percentage o f female population 14
years o f age and over in the labor
force, 1940 i n -

,

South

North

W e st

All women______________________________________

24.2

26. 2

23. 8

Urban areas____________________________________
Rural nonfarm areas____________________________
Rural farm areas.----------------------------------------------

35.1
22.4
13.2

30. 5
20. 0
10. 7

28. 4
18. 1
12. 0

Here, then, are the dominant characteristics of the South's labor
force: (1) Except for the effect of migration, the South has the
greatest potential rate of labor-force growth in the Nation. (2) Non­
white workers comprise a relatively large proportion of the South's
labor force. (3) There is a predominance of rural workers. (4) The
proportion of the labor force concentrated in the younger age groups
is greater than for other regions. (5) Southerners leave school earlier
to go to work and retire from the labor force at later ages than people
in the North and West. (6) In general, the South has relatively
fewer women working outside the home than the North, as a result of
rural residence and responsibility for the care of larger families. This
is true despite the greater labor-market participation of nonwhite
women*




III.— Employment in Southern .Manufactures1
W orld War II expansion and subsequent contraction of the number
of persons employed in manufacturing industries in the South closely
paralleled the movement of manufacturing employment in the United
States as a whole.* In 1939, just as hostilities were beginning in
2
Europe and before the effect of lend-lease production was felt in this
country, factory employment in the South approximated 1,658,000
and in the United States as a whole, over 10,000,000 (tables 13 and 14).
By January 1943, at the end of 1 year of full-scale war production,
employment in the Southern States had increased 60 percent as com­
pared with about a 64-percent rise for the Nation. By November
1943— the wartime peak in manufacturing employment for both the
Southern region and the United States— those employed in the South
numbered 2,836,000. The gain was 71 percent as compared with a
national increase of about 76 percent over the prewar period.
An even greater similarity of trend was apparent in the later war
years. In August 1944, both the South and the United States as a
whole had an employment level 68 percent above that of 1939. By
VJ-day, in spite of cut-backs and contract cancellations, factory
employment for both the United States and the Southern States was
about 50 percent above the prewar level.
Immediate contraction of employment at the war’s end was not as
severe in the South as in the Nation as a whole. The 2,248,000
workers in the South in September 1945 represented a decrease of less
than 9 percent between August and September compared with a
national decline of over 12 percent. Also, at the time of; the postwar
low, in February 1946, the South’s factory employment was 32 percent
above prewar as compared with only 24 percent in the Nation.
Following the postwar low, the South did not gain as rapidly as
the Nation. August 1946 manufacturing employment of 2,315,000
was 40 percent above the prewar level, whereas the national increase
‘was 44 percent.

* Prepared in the Employment Statistics Division of the Bureau’s Employment and Occupational Out­
look Branch by Eleanora H. Barnes under the direction of Clara F. Schloss.
2 In this section, “employment” is construed as total manufacturing employment; that is, covering all
production and nonproduction workers in private manufacturing industries.
The term “South” refers to the 13 States of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana,
Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Detailed
estimates of factory employment by State and by industry are available on a monthly basis as part of the
Bureau’s expanded program in the field of employment statistics.
738211°-—
47------3




27

28
T

able

LABOR IN TH E SOUTH
1 3 .— Estimates

o f Total Manufacturing Employment in the South fo r Selected
Months, by State

[In thousands]
Prewar em­
ployment i

State
South: Total___________ ________
Alabama............. .................................
Florida...................................................
Georgia..................................................
Mississippi............................................
North Carolina....................................
South Carolina__________________
TATITlAftWe _
_ _
Virginia________________________
ir«ntni»ky
Arkansas

Tinni,«ianAr . _
_

Oklahoma
Texas

___

__

1,667.6
144.2
66.9
192.7
56.7
305.3
139.6
172.2
164.8
79.9
41.9
88.7
38.2
166.4

November
19433

January
1943
2,656.3
259.9
122.8
288.7
94.2
400.2
390.7
242.2
234.2
122.4
75.0
151.3
84.9
389.8

2,836.1
256.1
140.8
314.4
96.4
393.7
189.1
265.9
228.4
137.8
80.2
183.1
107.5
442.7

August
1945

September
1945

2,462.8
221.3
100.0
276.0
83.0
350.9
169.4
252.0
200.4
127.8
74.3
153.5
86.2
368.0

2,247.9
199.0
82.8
248.4
79.9
340.7
165.5
233.9
187.6
115.5
69.4
143.2
62.0
320.0

1946
South: Total...
Alabama...........
Florida..............
Georgia..............
Mississippi.......
North Carolina.
South Carolina.
Tennessee.........
Virginia.............
Kentucky.........
Arkansas_____
Louisiana..........
Oklahoma.........
Texas.................*

Janu­
ary
2,207.7
196.0
83.0
243.8
82.6
346.3
171.8
226.3
191.7
117.5
61.9
128.4
56.4
302.0

Febru­
ary
2,183.8
179.9
83.0
244.3
81.8
352.1
175.1
220.8
192.6
112.6
64.4
128.7
54.5
294.0

March
2,226.6
199.3
81.2
242.6
81.0
359.3
175.8
226.0
194.8
115.7
68.5
131.3
54.1
297.9

April
2,233.3
201.1
79.0
244.0
81.7
358.5
176.6
229.7
195.1
118.3
66.2
132.8
52.7
297.0

May
2,238.0
201.3
77.9
245.7
81.4
357.5
178.4
232.1
193.5
119.8
66.0
132.8
51.7
299.8

June
2.260.9
202.4
76.8
247.1
83.4
360.9
179.8
235.0
197.3
121.9
65.5
132.9
52.8
305.1

July August
2,280.2 2,315.3
208.3 210.3
74.3
73.9
253.4 259.5
83.7
87.0
358.1 358.9
180.0 183.9
240.2 244.8
200.2 205.0
123.6 125.4
65.6
67.8
132.4 128.0
52.5
54.7
308.3 315.7

i Prewar estimates for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and
Virginia are based on unemployment compensation data of the Bureau of Employment Security of the
Federal Security Agency, average for the third quarter of 1939. Prewar estimates for Kentucky are based
on unemployment compensation data, annual average for 1939. Tennessee estimates are based on unem­
ployment compensation data, average for the third quarter of 1940. Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and
Texas prewar estimates are based on Census Bureau data for 1939 and are not strictly comparable with data
for later periods.
* Month of wartime peak employment in the South.
Position o f the South in the N ation’s E conom y

Despite the increase in industrialization during wartime, the rela­
tive position of the South in the Nation’s economy remained approxi­
mately the same (table 15). During the period of peak wartime em­
ployment, southern industry expanded slightly less rapidly than in the
United States as a whole, but by 1945 it had again returned to the
prewar ratio where it remained. The South has not materially
increased its share of the Nation’s total employment. However, the
anticipated 17-percent increase in the South’s labor supply from 1940
to 1950, coupled with the war-induced greater diversification of
industry, and larger reservoir of skilled workers, all give promise of
a brighter industrial future.




29

EM PLOYM ENT IN MANUFACTURES

M a jor Components o f Southern Manufacturing

In-the prewar period, the nondurable goods group, heavily weighted
by the textile industry, furnished over two-thirds of the employment
in the South. Expansion in war industries— primarily shipbuilding
and aircraft—increased the relative importance of employment in the
durable-goods group to about 46 percent of total in 1943; but by
1946 the prewar ratio was again approached. While the relatively
stable nondurable-goods industries employed more workers even dur­
ing the war peak than the durable-goods industries, the more than
doubling of durable-goods employment and subsequent deflation
governed the over-all pattern of employment.
M a jor Industry Groups— South Compared W ith the N ation

The similarity of industrial development in the South and the
Nation during the war years tends to minimize the possibility that
expansion of war facilities in the South resulted in a permanent rela­
tive gain in manufacturing employment. There has, however, been
a broadening of the importance of southern industries in the Nation’s1
T a b l e 1 4 .— Estimated

Industry

Employment1 in Manufacturing Industries in the United States,
by Industry, fo r Selected Periods

Percent of total

Employment (in thousands)

1939 1943 1944 1945 19462 1939 1943 1944 1945 19463

All manufacturing.................................... 10,078 17,381 17, 111 15,060 13,695
Iron and steel and their products......... 1,171 2,034 2,015 1,786 1,528
Electrical machinery_______________ 355 914 967 815 608
Machinery, except electrical.................... 690 1,585 1,553 1,385 1,259
Transportation equipment, except
automobiles............................................ 193 2,951 2,899 1,797 614
Automobiles............................................... 466 845 877 726 724
Nonferrous metals and their products. _ 283 525 513 450 407
Lumber and timber basic products____ 465 589 569 562 627
Furniture and finished lumber prod­
ucts........................................................... 385 429 413 396 439
Stone, clay, and glass products............... 349 422 395 381 438
Textile-mill products and other fiber
manufactures.......................................... 1,235 1,330 1,228 1,173 1,281
Apparel and other finished products... 894 1,080 1,055 1,044 1,149
Leather and leather products.................. 383 378 356 353 391
Food............................................................ 1,192 1,418 1,455 1,440 1,451
Tobacco manufactures............................. 105 103 96 95 97
Paper and allied products....................... 320 389 388 387 431
Printing, publishing, and allied indus­
tries.......................................................... 561 549 551 555 619
Chemicals and allied products............... 421 873 810 769 633
Products of petroleum and coal............. 147 170 183 191 208
Rubber products...................................... 150 231 247 243 270
Miscellaneous industries.......................... 311 563 543 513 523

100.0
11.6
3.5
6.8
1.9
4.6
2.8
4.6
3.8
3.5
12.3
8.9
3.8
11.8
1.0
3.2
5.6
4.2
1.5
1.5
3.1

100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
11.7 11.8 11.9 11.2
5.0 5.7 5.4 4.4
9.1 9.1 9.2 9.2
17.0 16.9 11.9 4.5
4.9 5.1 4.8 5.3
3.0 3.0 3.0 3.0
3.4 3.3 3.7 4.6
2.5 2.4 2.6 3.2
2.4 2.3 2.5 3.2
7.7
6.2
2.2
8.2
.6
2.2
3.2
5.0
1.0
1.3
3.2

7.2
6.2
2.1
8.5
.6
2.3
3.2
4.7
1.1
1.4
3.2

7.8 9.4
6.9 8.4
2.3 2.8
9.6 10.6
.6 .7
2.6 3.1
3.7 4.5
5.1 4.6
1.3 1.5
1.6 2.0
3.4 3.8

1 Since January 1943, the Bureau has been receiving employer reports covering total employment as well
as production workers. Nonproduction worker estimates for each group have been based on the monthly
changes shown by the nonproduction worker segment of these reports. Before 1943, various estimating
methods were used to obtain total employment from the production worker series. For this reason, th'e
series, in some groups, may not be consistent prior to 1943. Both production and nonproduction worker
series have been adjusted to employment data made available annually by the Federal Security Agency.
88-month average.




LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

30
T

able

1 5 .— M anufacturing

Employment in the South as Percent o f United States Toted,
by Industry Group, fo r Selected Periods

iuuusiry
South: All manufacturing...............................................................
Iron and steel and their products...................................................
Electrical machinery.....................................................................
Machinery, except electrical.......................... ................................
Transportation equipment, except automobiles..........................
Automobiles...... ...............................................................................
Nonferrous metals and their products...........................................
Lumber and timber basic products..............................................
Furniture and finished lumber products.......................................
Stone, day, and glass products.......................................................
Textile-mill products and other fiber manufactures..................
Apparel and other finished textile products.................................
Leather and leather products........................................................
Food....................................... ............................................................
Tobacco manufactures....................................................................
Paper and allied products.............................. ...............................
Printing, publishing, and allied industries...................................
Chemicals and allied products— .........................................—
Products of petroleum and coal......................................................
Rubber products......... .................................................. ..................
Miscellaneous industries............ ...................................................

Percent of United States total
19391

1943

1944

1945

19462

16.4
7.2
.6
4.2
9.3
1.8
6.7
47.2
26.2
14.8
41.2
10.1
6.0
17.1
44.7
12.4
9.9
23.9
26.9
3.6
»6.4

15.9
9.1
1.1
4.4
15.6
1.0
8.5
56.0
28.1
13.5
47.5
12.5
6.0
19.2
47.3
15.8
10.5
19.7
36.1
5.1
2.8

16.1
10.2
1.5
5.0
16.2
1.3
8.3
52.8
28.3
12.8
47.2
12.8
6.3
19.4
49.9
15.7
10.6
23.1
36.5
6.5
3.3

16.4
9.3
1.8
5.5
15.9
1.5
8.4
49.9
28.5
12.9
46.3
12.5
6.6
19.3
51.2
15.0
10.7
24.7
36.6
6.3
3.4

16.4
7.1
1.4
5.3
13.7
1.6
9.6
47.2
27.9
12.9
45.1
11.3
6.9
19.0
50.7
15.0
10.8
24.2
34.1
5.9
3.5

1 See table 13, footnote 1, for date of 1939 regional estimates. See table 14, footnote 1, for basis of 1939 United
States estimates.
2 8-month average.
*Not strictly comparable with later periods.
economy. In 1939, almost half of the workers in the lumber industry
and over two-fifths of those in the tobacco and the textile-mill prod­
ucts groups were in the Southern States (tables 14 and 15). The
southern sections of the petroleum, furniture, and chemical industries
each employed about a fourth of the United States total for these
industries. The only other really important industry was food
processing which employed over a sixth of the United States
total. At the 1943 peak, the South accounted for an even greater
share of those employed in each of these outstanding groups with
the exception of chemicals. In addition, such manufacturing groups
as transportation equipment and paper also had over 15 percent of
their employees located in the South and 8 of the remaining 11 smaller
groups increased in importance.
M uch of the diversification acquired during the war period was
carried over into 1946. Whereas in 1939, 5 of the 20 major manufac­
turing groups had 5 percent or less of their employment in the South,
only 3 were in this position in 1946. The southern industry groups
that had always loomed large in the national economy continued to
hold their own; the increased importance of many of the other indus­
trial groups makes the South less vulnerable to economic disturbances.
Such diversification makes for a healthier postwar situation.




31

EM PLO YM EN T IN MANUFACTURES

,

Trend o f Em ploym ent in the South b y Industry Group

War expansion caused many changes in the industry group pattern
within the Southern Region. The largest group was textile-mill
products which in 1939 furnished only slightly less than a third of all
factory employment (table 16). The lumber and food-processing
groups were next and together employed about a fourth of the total.
Chemical products, furniture, apparel, and the iron and steel products
groups accounted for another fourth.
By 1943, all groups showed aggregate increases in average employ­
ment varying from a few hundred in the automobile industry to a
gain of 443,000 in the transportation-equipment* group. The out­
standing relative and aggregate increases occurred, of course, in
transportation equipment; this group rose to second place in 1943
when it accounted for one-sixth of all workers. Because of the ab­
sorption of such a large part of the labor supply in transportationequipment manufacture, the only other increases in this period
were in such war-essential groups as iron and steel products,1
T able

1 6 .— Manufacturing

Industry

Employment in the South, by M ajor Industry Groups,
fo r Selected Periods

Employment (in thousands)

Percent of total

Pre­
Pre­
war * 1943 1944 1945 1946* war 1943 1944 1945 1946*

All manufacturing.................................... 1,657.5 2,769.8 2,761.8 2,467.0 2,243.2 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Durable goods................................... 526.7 1,280.9 1,287.3 1,033.1 792.9 31.8 46.2 46.6 41.9 35.3
Nondurable goods. ............................ 1,130.8 1,488.9 1,474.5 1,433.9 1,450.3 68.2 53.8 53.4 58.1 64.7
Iron and steel and their products_____ 84.7 185.4 204.9 165.9 108.0 5.1 16.7 7.4 6.7 4.8
Electrical machinery................................ 2.0 10.3 14.7 14.3 8.8 .1 .4 .5 .6 .4
Machinery, except electrical................... 29.3 69.2 78.3 76.2 66.1 1.8 2.4 2.8 3.1 2.9
Transportation equipment, except au­
tomobiles................................................ 18.0 461.0 468.4 285.5 83.9 1.1 16.6 17.0 11.6 3.8
Automobiles............................................. 8.5 8.8 11.2 11.1 11.4 .5 .3 .4 .4 .5
Nonferrous metals and their products. _ 16.0 44.6 42.7 37.7 39.2 1.0 1.6 1.6 1.5 1.8
Lumber and timber basic products....... 219.5 323.9 300.7 280.3 296.1 13.2 11.7 10.9 11.4 13.2
Furniture and finished lumber prod­
ucts ......................................................... 97.1 120.5 116.8 112.8 122.7 5.9 4.4 4.2 4.6 5.5
Stone, clay, and glass products............... 51.5 57.1 50.5 49.3 56.6 3.1 2.1 1.8 2.0 2.5
Textile-mill products and other fiber
manufactures....................................... 509.5 631.2 580.1 543.4 578.3 30.7 22.8 21.0 22.0 25.8
Apparel and other finished textile
products.................................................. 90.5 135.3 135.1 130.4 129.4 5.5 4.9 4.9 5.3 5.8
Leather and leather products.................. 19.0 22.5 22.5 23.2 27.0 1.1 .8 .8 .9 1.2
Food........................................................... 204.3 271.7 281.6 278.2 276.4 12.3 9.8 10.2 11.3 12.3
Tobacco manufactures............................ 46.9 48.7 47.9 48.6 49.2 2.8 1.8 1.7 2.0 2.2
Paper and allied products........................ 39.6 61.3 60.9 58.1 64.7 2.4 2.2 2.2 2.4 2.9
Printing, publishing, and allied indus­
tries....... .................................................. 55.6 57.7 58.3 59.5 67.0 3.4 2.1 2.1 2.4 3.0
Chemicals and allied products............... 100.8 171.7 187.5 189.6 153.4 6.1 6.2 6.8 7.7 6.8
Products of petroleum and coal........... 39.6 61.3 66.8 '70.0 70.0 2.4 2.2 2.4 2.8 3.1
Rubber products..................................... 5.3 11.8 16.0 15.3 15.9 .3 .4 .6 .6 .7
Miscellaneous industries.......................... *19.8 15.9 17.7 17.5 17.9 1.2 .6 .7 .7 .8
1 See table 13, footnote 1, for date of prewar estimates.
* 8-month average.
* Not strictly comparable with later periods.




32

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

the machinery groups, nonferrous metals, and chemical and rubber
products.
In 1946, the aggregate average employment in all industry groups,
except miscellaneous industries, was above the prewar level and for 10
of the major groups was above the 1943 levels. As regards total
regional employment, the largest relative decrease between 1939 and
1946 was in textile-mill products—from 31 to 26 percent (chart 2).

Postwar Highlight in Southern E m ploym ent

A year after the war’s end, the employment total of 2,315,000 for
the South represented an over-all net decrease of 148,000 or 6 percent
(table 17). Only six major groups— transportation equipment, elec­
trical machinery, iron and steel, automobiles, chemical products, and
machinery except electrical— employed fewer people in August 1946
than on VJ-day. Contractions in the shipbuilding and aircraft
industries alone accounted for almost 70 percent of the gross decrease.
Disregarding this expected sharp contraction in the transportationequipment group, the employment rise for the year is about 3 percent.
Immediate reductions in employment in the 1 month following
VJ-day amounted to an over-all loss of 215,000 workers, or 9 percent
of all employment. The most severe cut occurred in the transpor­
tation-equipment group in which almost 40 percent were laid off.




33

EM PLO YM ENT IN MANUFACTURES
T a b l e 1 7 .— Estimates

o f Total Manufacturing Employment in the South fo r Selected
Months, by Industry 1

[In thousands]

Industry
South: All manufacturing..................
Durable goods...............................
Nondurable goods.........................
Iron and steel and their products........
Electrical machinery_______ ______
Machinery, except electrical. .............
Transportation equipment, except
automobiles.......................................
Automobiles .........................................
Nonferrous metals and their products.
Lumber and timber basic products. _.
Furniture and finished lumber prod­
ucts........................... ..........................
Stone, clay, and glass products...........
Textile-mill products and other fiber
manufactures_____ ____________
Apparel and other finished textile
products. _____ __________ _____
Leather and leather products.............
Food__________________________
Tobacco manufactures........................
Paper and allied products...................
Printing, publishing, and allied in­
dustries_______________ ______
Chemicals and allied products_____
Products of petroleum and coal..........
Rubber products.................................
Miscellaneous industries.................

Prewar em­
ployment 1
2

January
1943

November
19432

August
1945

September
1945

1,657.5
526.7
1,130.8
84.7
2.1
29.3
18.0
8.5
16.0
219.5
97.1
51.5

2.656.3
1,184.9
1.471.4
187.5
8.5
62.0
365.4
6.7
42.5
333.5
119.4
59.4

2,836.1
1, 336.3
1,499.8
192.1
12.3
74.6
508.7
11.1
46.7
319.7
117.4
53.7

2,462.8
1,044.1
1,418.7
161.0
17.1
76.3
285.5
16.7

509.5
90.5
19.0
204.3
46.9
39.6
55.6
100.8
39.6
5.2
419.8

641.0
137.7
22.6
248.8
49.9
60.1
57.8
170.8
59.7
8.8
14.2

615.6
133.8
22.2
282.9
49.2
62.9
57.8
182 4
60.7
15.2
17.1

535.4
128.9
23.1
279.7
47.8
57.1
58.6
184.2
71.4
15.1
17.4

112.5
49.9

2,247.9
842.9
1,405.0
11
1 .1

11.9

174.8
11.0
30.1
279.9
111.1
49.1
532.1
124.9
21.7
292.1
49.4
57.2
168.6
69.0
14.7
16.0

1946
Janu­ Febru­ March April
ary
ary
South: All manufacturing................. 2,207.7
Durable goods.............................. 782.0
Nondurable goods........................ 1,425.7
Iron and sceel and their products____ 107.4
Electrical machinery........................... 8.4
Machinery, except electrical............. . 67.2
Transportation equipment, except
automobiles...................................... 99.7
10.2
Automobiles .....................................
Nonferrous metals and their products. 35.4
Lumber and timber basic products.. _ 281.9
Furniture and finished lumber prod­
ucts.................................................... 119 1
Stone, clay, and glass products_____ 52.7
Textile-mill products and other fiber
manufactures..................................... 559.8
Apparel and other finished textile
products—....................................... . 125.7
Leather and leather products.............. 25.5
Food....................................... .............. 277.8
Tobacco manufactures........................ 48.1
Paper and allied products................
61.8
Printing, publishing, and allied in­
dustries. _........................................... 64.4
Chemicals and allied products........... 159.3
Products of petroleum and coal......... 69.9
Rubber products.................................. 16.1
Miscellaneous industries...................... 17.3

2,183.8
744.0
1,439.8
79.9
8.5
63.8
91.4
10.1
30.3
285.4
120.0
64.6

May

June

July August

2, 226.6 2,233.3 2,238.0 2,260.9 2,280.2 2,315.3
774.7 786.8 794.8 808.8 819.9 832.2
1,451.9 1,446.5 1,443.2 1,452.1 1,460.3 1,483.1
107.2 112.1 112.2 111. 8 115.9 117.2
8.9
9.2
8.3
8.8
8.6
9.6
64.1 64.7 66.4 67.4 66.8
68.3
83.3 81.7 81.8 78.8 78.2
77.1
10.4 11.3 11.6 12.4 12.6
12.5
37.2 38.6 39.9 42.8 44.6
45.0
287.3 291.1 295.6 303.4 309.8 314.2
120.9 121.9 122.7 125.2 124.8 127.5
56.0 56.6 56.0 58.1 58.0
60.8

570.9 576.6
129.3 130.5
26.5 26.8
274.9 276.9
48.3 48.2
62.3 63.4
65.7 66.8
158.0 159.0
70.1 69.8
16.0 16.0
17.8 17.9

578.1
128.1
27.5
273.3
48.7
64.5
67.1
155.1
70.5
15.8
17.8

578.8 585.4
127.8 130.8
27.4 27.5
274.1 272.3
49 2 50.1
64.8 65.8
67.7 67.9
148.5 147.3
71.2 71.4
15.8 15.8
17.9 17.8

585.1
130.1
27.7
278.1
50.5
66.9
68.0
147.9
72.1
15.8
18.1

591.6
132.7
27.5
284.4
51.3
67.5
68.3
152.5
72.5
16.0
18.8

1 Estimates for industry groups are adjusted to levels indicated by 1944 unemployment compensation
data of the Bureau of Employment Security of the Federal Security Agency.
2 See table 13, footnote 1, for date and source of prewar data.
2 Month of wartime peak employment in the South.
< Not strictly comparable with later periods,




34

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

Employment was reduced by about one-third in the iron and steel,
electrical machinery, and automobile groups; the chemical-products
group declined by 15,000 or more than 8 percent. An offsetting
seasonal gain of over 4 percent in the food processing industry and
slight increases in the tobacco, paper, and printing industries were
the only upward tendencies.
Owing to the Nation-wide steel strike, employment in the South, as
in the Nation, reached a postwar low in February 1946 despite the
fact that many industries were already well established in their
reconversion adjustment. Only the iron and steel, machinery,
transportation-equipment, automobiles, chemical products, tobacco,
and the seasonally affected food groups continued at a lower employ­
ment level than in the September 1945 cut-back period.
From the February low to August 1946, declines were limited to
the transportation-equipment and chemical-products groups. As
the employment drop for the chemical products group was partially
seasonal, the major single retarding factor in the recent employment
upswing in the South was the continuing contraction in shipbuilding
and aircraft.

,

Postwar Highlights— South and United States b y Industry Group

The employment changes in industry groups in the South in the
first year of peace were somewhat akin to those in the United States.
For both the United States and the South, iron and steel, the machin­
ery groups, transportation equipment, and chemicals showed employ­
ment losses. But most of the percentage decreases were less severe
nationally than in the region. In nine groups, national gains were
greater than those in the South. In five— nonferrous metals, leather,
miscellaneous, paper, and printing and publishing— the South showed
greater proportionate increases over the period than the Nation.
Although the South's automobile industry was small, it was the one
industry in the region which showed an opposite trend to that in
the Nation.
E m ploym ent in Southern States

The manufacturing economy of component States of the Southern
Region was affected in varying ways by wartime expansion. Expan­
sion of plant facilities in the less industrialized States brought later,
and for the most part, proportionately greater peak employment.
As the war ended, many of these shifts in importance and in industrial
pattern were not maintained.

TRENDS—STATES COMPARED WITH REGION
In the prewar period, North Carolina—with an average employment
accounting for about 18 percent of all manufacturing workers in the



35

EM PLO YM ENT IN MANUFACTURES

Southern Region— was the most highly industrialized State. Georgia
with nearly 12 percent and Tennessee with over 10 percent were
next in importance. Texas with 10 percent was a close fourth (table 18).
T a b l e 1 8 .— Manufacturing

Employment in the Southern States by Region and by State,
for Selected Periods

Employment (in thousands)
Region and State

Pre­
war 1 1943 1944

Percent of total

1945 1946 2 Pre­ 1943 1944 1945 19462
war

Southern States....................................... 1.657.5 2,769.8 2,761.8 2,467.0 2, 243. 2 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Southeastern States................................ 1,322.3 2,002.5 1,980.8 1,790.7 1,690.4 79.8 72.3 71.7 72.6 75.4
Alabama............................................. 144.2 258.5 251.7 223.4 199.8 8.7 9.3 9.1 9.1 8.9
Florida................................................ 66.9 136.0 135.3 103.2 78.6 4.1 4.9 4.9 4.2 3.6
Georgia...................................... ........ 192.7 302.9 307.4 271.7 247.5 11.6 10.9 11.1 11.0 11.0
Mississippi......................................... 56.7 95.1 95.6 85.1 82.8 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.4 3.7
North Carolina.................................. 305.3 399.9 383.2 353.0 356.5 18.4 14.4 13.9 14.3 15.9
South Carolina................................. . 139.6 191.8 180.0 170.5 177.7 8.4 6.9 6.5 6.9 7.9
Tennessee........................................ 172.2 255.9 271.1 255.5 231.9 10.4 9.2 9.8 10.4 10.3
Virginia............................................... 164.8 231.9 220.2 202.0 196.3 9.9 8.4 8.0 8.2 8.8
Kentucky.......................................
79.9 130.5 136.3 126.3 119.3 4.8 4.8 4.9 5.1 5.3
Southwestern States................................ 335.2 767.3 781.0 676.3 552.8 20.2 27.7 28.3 27.4 24.6
Arkansas............................................. 41.9 76.7 77.0 71.3 65.8 2.5 2.8 2.8 2.9 2.9
Louisiana..................................... .
88.7 166.1 177.1 153.9 130.8 5.4 6.0 6.4 6.2 5.8
Oklahoma.......................................... 38.2 99.7 101.9 86.6 53.7 2.3 3.6 3.7 3.5 2.4
Texas_____________ _______ ____ 166.4 424.8 425.0 364 5 302.5 10.0 15.3 15.4 14.8 13.5
1 See table 13, footnote 1, for date and source of prewar data.
8-month average.

2

By 1943, interstate relationships had changed. The average
number of persons in manufacturing in Texas had more than doubled,
and Texas was the leading manufacturing State in the region. With
an aggregate gain of even less than a third, North Carolina dropped
to second place. All States experienced some wartime expansion, but
increases were proportionately smaller in Georgia, Tennessee, South
Carolina, and Virginia (in addition to North Carolina) in the south­
eastern group of States than elsewhere. For all these States, the
relative decrease in industrial importance was continued into the
postwar period.
In addition to Texas, all of the other Southwestern States—
Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas— and Florida and Alabama in
the Southeast, had a greater share of regional employment in 1943
than in 1939. Further gains for Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana
occurred in 1944, while in Arkansas the rise continued even in 1945;
Kentucky and Mississippi had a greater proportional employment in
1946 than at any other time.
The States of the Southwest were less industrialized before the
war than those in the Southeast. The influx of war facilities and
contracts raised the proportion of regional employment in the South­
west from about 20 percent in 1939 to 28 percent in 1944. On the
basis of the record for the first 8 months of 1946, the Southwestern




36

LABOR

IN

T H E SOUTH

States have declined from this peak position, but they still employ
a fourth of the South's factory workers.
Based on the same 8-month average in 1946, each of the States
in the. Southwest and Alabama, Mississippi, and Kentucky in the
Southeast showed proportional increases ov er the 1939 relationship.
It seems, therefore, that the Southwest and some of the smaller
industrial States of the Southeast have maintained their increased
share of southern manufacturing employment.

OUTSTANDING INDUSTRIES IN THE SOUTH
The considerable importance of the textile-mill products group in
the manufacturing economy of the South is well known. Also
important are lumber, food processing, chemicals, apparel, furniture,
iron and steel, and— during the war and postwar period— transporta­
tion equipment. Contrary to a general impression, the tobacco
industry in the South actually accounts for only about 2 percent of
total manufacturing employment. However, this industry is signifi­
cant in furnishing work in such States as North Carolina, Virginia,
Florida, and Kentucky.
Textile-mill products.—The largest single industry group in the
South— textile-mill products— employed about 30 percent of all
factory workers in the prewar period and about 25 percent of all
southern industrial workers in 1946 (based on an 8-month average).
Employment in the group increased 24 percent from 1939 to the peak
year of 1943 and, despite declines after 1943, rose over 13 percent
between 1939 and 1946; most States participated in the increase.
Little change occurred in the relative standing of the States in the
industry. In 1946, about 213,000 or well over one-third of the
employment was located in North Carolina. South Carolina with
120,000 ranked second and Georgia with 103,000 ranked third.
Although textile-mill products (with cotton textiles as the primary
industry) formed the largest single employing group in the entire
southern region, 96 percent of the group employment was concen­
trated in only six States— Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South
Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
Lumber and timber basic products.—Lumber— the second largest
industry group in the South— accounted for about an eighth of those
employed in the region both in 1939 and after the war. Distribution
was fairly even among 11 of the 13 Southern States in 1939; Okla­
homa and Kentucky had only small numbers in the group. Alabama
ranked first in 1939 with 27,000 workers or about an eighth of the
industry total. North Carolina had 25,000 and Mississippi 23,000
persons so employed and the remaining 8 States had from 14,000 to

20,000.




EM PLOYM ENT IN MANUFACTURES

37

The industry— comprising primarily logging camps and sawmills—
increased almost a half in size by the peak year 1943 in spite of labor
recruitment difficulties; 1946 employment still exceeded the prewar
level by over a third. Only Florida and Oklahoma showed decreases
for the entire period. Alabama alone o f all the States showed a gain
in 1946 over its war peak average. Employment in this State in the
lumber group totaled 42,000 workers, a slight relative increase. Geor­
gia, which ranked eighth in 1939, had more than doubled its employ­
ment and risen to second place in the industry in 1946. In the latter
year, 11 percent of the total lumber group workers were in Georgia.
Food.— Food processing was the third outstanding industry o f the
South and a little over an eighth of all workers were in this group in
both 1939 and 1946. The group was of considerable size in all States
in the South. However, in 1939, one-fifth of its workers were con­
centrated in Texas and one-eighth in Louisiana.
Between 1939 and 1946, food-processing employment had increased
one-third and all States shared in the gain. In Texas, the rise was
over a half to 59,400 and in Louisiana more than a third to 34,500.
Kentucky, Arkansas, and Louisiana each employed more food-process­
ing workers on an average in 1946 than at any other time in the
entire period.
Chemicals and allied 'products.— The chemical-products group ac­
counted for 100,800 workers in 1939— slightly more than 6 percent
of regional employment. With many industries within the group
requiring new plant facilities for full war production, the peak of
189,600 did not occur until 1945. B y 1946, employment had de­
creased but was still 52 percent above the prewar level.
Owing to the diversity of the industries in the group,3 it is not
practicable to generalize on the causes of regional changes. How­
ever, the changes in Tennessee and Virginia, which together com­
prised about 45 percent of the regional group employment in 1939
and 52 percent in 1946, strongly influenced the over-all pattern.
Employment in the chemical group in Tennessee rose from 23,400
in 1939 to a peak of 61,500 in 1945. In 1946, the number was almost
double the prewar total for the State and had risen from 23 to 30
percent of the regional total for the group. The development o f the
Oak Ridge atomic bomb plant and increases in the production of
industrial chemicals were mainly responsible.
In Virginia, the number rose to 34,000— about a 54-percent in­
crease— between 1939 and 1946. Production of rayon fibers fur­
nished the largest segment of employment in the group throughout
3 Fissionable materials, explosives, industrial chemicals, synthetic rubber, rayon fibers, animal and
vegetable oils, and fertilizer make up the group.




38

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

the entire period, but its importance was reduced during wartime
when the production of industrial chemicals increased.
Apparel and other finished textile products.— The fifth largest indus­
trial group in the South was apparel, which employed 129,400 workers'
making up 6 percent of regional employment in 1946. The gain was
43 percent from the prewar level. Georgia accounted for about a
fifth of the South’s apparel workers in the prewar period, and only
about a sixth by 1946. Texas had first place in 1946 with an em­
ployment total of 22,000, and Tennessee averaged 20,100 workers.
These three States together accounted for approximately half of the
total workers in the apparel group.
Furniture and finished lumber products.— The furniture products
group averaged 122,700 workers in 1946— only slightly fewer workers
than the apparel group. The 1946 level was about a fourth higher
than before the war and was the peak for the entire period covered.
In 1946 furniture plants in North Carolina (producing primarily
household furniture, mattresses, and bedsprings), with 28,300, em­
ployed 23 percent o f the southern group total. Virginia and Tennessee
ranked second and third in 1946 and with North Carolina comprised
nearly half of the furniture group.
Iron and steel products.— The iron and steel products group ac­
counted for about 5 percent of total manufacturing employment in
the South in 1939; the percentage rose to 7 in 1944 when wartime
expansions more than doubled such employment. After the war
ended, iron and steel plants retained approximately the same pro­
portion of workers as in the prewar period. The four States of Ala­
bama, Tennessee, Texas, and Kentucky had over three-fourths of the
regional total in the iron and steel group in 1946. Alabama ranked
first, with almost 42 percent of the total, in 1939; but by 1946 the
percentage had dropped to 34. In Texas, the number o f persons so
engaged more than doubled between 1939 and 1946, and the pro­
portion increased from 7.7 to 14.5 percent of the regional group.
Transportation equipment {except automobiles).— Employment in the
transportation-equipment group— primarily aircraft and shipbuilding
industries— amounted to only 1 percent of the total for manufacturing
in the South in 1939. Tremendous war expansion of these industries,
from 18,000 in 1939 to 468,000 in 1944, raised the proportion to 17
percent. B y 1946, the total had receded to less than 4 percent of
regional employment.
In the prewar period, Virginia had the only sizable transportationequipment group in the South, employing 9,700 or over half of such
workers in the region. B y 1944, the Virginia total had tripled, but
because of the tremendous expansions in all but one of the Southern
States, Virginia ranked seventh, following Texas, Florida, Georgia,




EM PLO YM ENT IN MANUFACTURES

39

Louisiana, Alabama, and Oklahoma. But in 1946, only Texas— with
27 percent of the total in this group— outranked Virginia.

CONTINUED EMPLOYMENT EXPANSION
Continued expansion in southern manufacturing employment is
indicated by estimates for both September and October 1946. Be­
tween August and October 1946, 20,000 workers were added.
Florida, Virginia, and Alabama absorbed most of these workers by
adding about 5,000 or more each in this 2-month interval. Only 4 of
the 13 Southern States failed to share in the increase.




IY.— Income in the South 1
Variations in income among the States are due to differences in
the natural resources, capital equipment, and productive abilities of
the different populations. The possession of abundant capital and
natural wealth in relation to population usually constitutes a basis
for a high level of income and well-being. Where such resources
exist, the States can support adequate programs of public education,
health, and general welfare. All the people are the beneficiaries of
such programs, particularly those in the lower-income groups. On
the other hand, the level of income tends to be low where resources
are naturally meager or have been depleted, where capital equipment
is relatively small, and where the population is not generally skilled
in industry. As a result, State revenues are low, and public functions
are likely to be limited. In such areas, a change in the balance
between population and resources will tend to occur. In the South,1
2
this process has taken primarily the form of out-m igration3 and of
industrialization through the use of capital accumulated in the region
and brought in from the outside.
Human welfare cannot by any means be measured entirely in
terms of money income. Estimates of aggregate income paym ents4
5
and their components, however, can be used roughly to describe the
economic status of the population as a whole, and per capita incom e6
to indicate the average status of the individual. Such estimates are
available for the individual States, and comparisons can therefore
be made between the Southern States and the rest of the country.
Comparisons are desirable, as the concept of “ income level” is relative.
Differences in income level between the South and the remainder
of the country reflect, in part, differences in the character of economic
activity. Agriculture, of course, is relatively more important, and

1 Prepared by Solomon Shapiro of the Bureau's Labor Economics Staff. The State income data used
in this section have been published or made available by the National Income Division of the Office of
Business Economics of the U. S. Department of Commerce. The cooperation of this Division is grate­
fully acknowledged.
a The “South” is used to mean the nine Southeastern States: Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina,
Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi; and the four Southwestern States:
Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.
* See the article Labor Supply in the South, p. 16 of this bulletin.
4 State income payments represent income received in the various States by individuals, from payers
either within or outside the State. These payments include certain “nonproductive” receipts which
are included in money income, such as social-security benefits and relief payments. They exclude certain
items of income, like business savings, which accrue to, but are not received by, the population. Certain
imputed items, such as products consumed on the farm, are also included.
5 Per capita income payments are derived by division of total income payments by total population,
excluding armed forces and civilians outside the continental United States.
40




INCOME

41

manufacturing less important, In the South than elsewhere. M ore­
over, there are important differences between agriculture as carried
on in the South and in other areas: farms in this region average
fewer acres, capital equipment is smaller, and productivity per man
is lower. The structure of manufacturing industry (kinds of indus­
tries, proportions of various labor skills employed, etc.) differs sub­
stantially in the southern and nonsouthem sectors of the economy.
These variations in types of economic activity help to explain why
the general level of per capita income in the South, even in 1945, was
low relative to the national level.
While per capita income in the South is low compared with the.
average for the country, a definite and encouraging upward trend has,
however, been evident in recent years. This trend reflects the chang­
ing structure of the southern economy resulting from a decline in the
relative importance of agriculture, and as a counterpart, an increase
in manufactures. Per capita income in the Southern States rose from
55 percent of the national average in 1929 to 69 percent in 1945.
Between these dates income in the aggregate had more than doubled
in the South, and the region's share of the country's total income had
increased appreciably.
A portion of the gain in relative income position grew out of the
war. In meeting its war needs, the Nation found in the Southern
States a large pool of manpower and a convenient location for many
military installations as well as war manufacturing plants. As a
result, income payments to individuals in the South increased at a
faster rate than in the other States during the war years. It is difficult
to tell at this time to what extent the gains of the war years will be
permanent.
This section presents estimates of per capita income, average annual
wages, and aggregate income payments and their components in the
South and the rest of the country. Changing relationships since
1929, and particularly during the war period, will be indicated.
P er Capita Incom e

TOTAL POPULATION, INCLUDING MILITARY
The marked differential in incomes between the South and other
regions of the country is being reduced. Since 1929 per capita income
in the Southern States has steadily drawn nearer to the national aver­
age. The per capita income of $371 in 1929 was only 55 percent of
the national average. In 1940, the per capita income of $340 was
59 percent of this average. In spite of a somewhat greater relative
increase in population between 1940 and 1945, per capita incom e’in
the Southern States was $797 in 1945, 69 percent o f the national
average (table 19).



42
T

able

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH
1 9 .— P er

Capita Incom e Payments 1 and Percent o f National Per Capita Income
United States and by Region9 1929-45 2

Region

1929

1933

1939

1940 1941

1942

1943

1944

1945

Per capita income payments
United States........................................ $680 $368 $539 $575 $693 $862 $1,040 $1,133 $1,150
Southern States.................................... 371 210 323 340 421 555 693 778
797
Southeastern States....................... 339 198 303 324 407 $5 660 740
767
Virginia.................. ................. 422 266 402 450 565 738 833 888
903
North Carolina........................ 309 205 308 316 397 521 610 702
732
South Carolina...................... . 252 167 261 286 354 473 575 652
663
Georgia................... ................. 329 200 290 315 389 507 654 730
745
Florida..................................... 484 272 442 471 531 684 879 950
996
Kentucky................................. 371 199 297 308 369 474 613 701
735
Tennessee................................. 349 190 295 317 413 513 659 768
813
Alabama................................... 305 154 242 268 359 482 602 677
700
Mississippi-.............................. 273 123 201 202 283 396 483 541
556
Southwestern States...................... 428 230 359 369 447 592 755 847
852
Arkansas................................... 305 152 246 252 332 448 519 617
654
Louisiana.................................. 415 222 354 357 433 549 722 788
785
Oklahoma................................ 455 226 340 356 417 590 728 860
889
Texas....................................... 465 257 401 413 497 655 840 925
917
All other States..................................... 795 429 624 667 802 985 1,180 1,275 1,290
Percent of national per capita income
United States.........................................
Southern States....................................
Southeastern States.......................
Virginia....................................
North Carolina........... ...........
South Carolina........................
Georgia.....................................
Florida......................................
Kentucky.................................
Tennessee................................
Alabama...................................
Mississippi—_____________
Southwestern States.....................
Arkansas.______ _________
Louisiana.............. ........ ..........
Oklahoma.......................... .
Texas........................................
All other States...................................

100.0
54.6
49.9
62.1
45.4
37.1
48.4
71.2
54.6
51.3
44.9
40.1
62.9
44.9
61.0
66.9
68.4
116.9

100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
57.1 59.9 59.1 60.8
53.8 56.2 56.3 58.7
72.3 74.6 78.3 81.5
55.7 57.1 55.0 57.3
45.4 48.4 49.7 51.1
54.3 53.8 54.8 56.1
73.9 82.0 81.9 76.6
54.1 55.1 53.6 53.2
51.6 54.7 55.1 59.6
41.8 44.9 46.6 51.8
33.4 37.3 35.1 40.8
62.5 66.4 64.2 64.5
41.3 45.6 43.8 47.9
60.3 65.7 62.1 62.5
61.4 63.1 61.9 60.2
69.8 74.4 71.8 71.7
116.6 115.8 116.0 115.7

100.0
64.4
62.1
85.6
60.4
54.9
58.8
79.4
55.0
59.5
55.9
45.9
68.7
52.0
63.7
68.4
76.0
114.3

100.0
66.6
63.5
80.1
58.7
55.3
62.9
84.5
58.9
63.4
57.9
46.4
72.6
49.9
69.4
70.0
80.8
113.5

100.0 100.0
68.7 69.3
65.3 66.7
78.4 78.5
62.0 63.7
57.5 57.7
64.4 64.8
83.8 86.6
61.9 63.9
67.8 70.7
59.8 60.9
47.7 48.3
74.8 74.1
54.5 56.9
69.5 68.3
75.9 77.3
81.6 79.8
112.5 112.2

1Per capita income payments are derived by division of total income payments by total population
(excluding armed forces and civilians outside continental United States). For residents of Virginia em­
ployed outside that State, income was transferred from the State of the recipients’ employment.
2 Source: U. S. Department of Commerce, Survey of Current Business, August 1946, and unpublished
data.
Among the Southern States, the lowest per capita income has con­
sistently been found in Mississippi, where in 1933 it was only $123,
33 percent of the average income in the country. However, this
amount has steadily increased until in 1945 it was 48 percent of the
country’s average. For a considerable period, Florida has come closest
to the national average in per capita income payments— being 71 per­
cent of this amount in 1929 and rising to 87 percent in 1945. During
the war years, both Texas and Virginia were around the 80-percent
level.

CIVILIAN POPULATION

The inclusion of military pay rolls in total income served to increase
southern per capita income during the war years, as average military




43

INCOME

pay was generally higher than per capita income to civilians in the
South. It is desirable, therefore, to examine civilian per capita income
by deducting wage payments to armed forces personnel (table 20).
T a b l e 2 0 .— P er

Capita Income Payments to Civilian^Populationl, by Region , 1940-45 1

Region

1940

1941

1942

1943

1944

1945

Civilian per capita income payments
United States.................................................
Southern States.............................................
Southeastern States.............................
Southwestern States..............................
All other States..............................................

$573
337
321
367
666

$694
417
402
444
802

$860
539
517
580
985

$1,050
681
644
749
1,192

$1,143
771
730
846
1,285

$1,158
791
761
849
1,299

Percent of national civilian per capita income
United States................. ...............................
Southern States.............................................
Southeastern States...............................
Southwestern States.............................
All other States.............. — ------------------

100.0
58.8
56.0
64.0
116.2

100.0
60.1
57.9
64.0
115.6

100.0
62.7
60.1
67.4
114.5

100.0
64.9
61.3
71.3
113.5

100.0
67.5
63.9
74.0
112.4

100.0
68.3
65.7
73.3
112.2

i Source: U. S. Department of Commerce, Survey of Current Business, August 1946, and unpublished
data.
This procedure somewhat reduces the per capita income in certain
of the Southern States, particularly in the early years of the war, but
in the other States where civilian average incomes were higher than
military pay, per capita income was increased. The deduction of
military pay lowered per capita income in the South from $555 to
$539 in 1942, and from $797 to 791 in 1945.
Clearly, there was not sufficient difference between the levels of
military and civilian income payments to change any of the important
generalizations with respect to the relationship of the South to the
rest of the country. The change, however measured, in per capita in­
comes in the Southern States between 1940 and 1945 more than
matched the doubling of incomes in the rest of the country. As a
consequence, per capita incomes in the South were appreciably
nearer the national average at the end of the period.
Incom e Status o f the Southern W orker

The per capita measures of income take cognizance of the changes
in population and represent the income of the average individual—
man, woman, or child. The aggregate measures of income, which will
be presented later, are useful in showing the relationships of the various
economic groups and the relative changes occurring in the economic
position of these groups. Both measures fail to describe with any
degree of precision the income status of the individual worker.
738211°— 47------4




44

LABOR IN TH E SOUTH

The ideal procedure for the purpose of describing earnings of typical
workers would be to obtain average annual wages for all homogeneous
groups of workers, broken down by State, industry division, occupa­
tion, sex, race, age, etc. It is unfortunate that data of this sort are
not available. For most commercial and industrial workers, however,
State unemployment-compensation tabulations can be used to show
average annual wages and salaries in the major industries. The best
available data for showing the status of farm workers in the various
States are the farm wage rates compiled by the United States Bureau
of Agricultural Economics.

ANNUAL WAGES IN INDUSTRY
The average worker in southern industry improved his annual
earnings during the war in absolute terms and in relation to the aver­
age worker in the country as a whole. In table 21, the average
annual wage per job covered by State unemployment-compensation
laws are shown for seven major industries from 1939 through 1944.
These average wages rose steadily in the South, from $1,016 in 1939
T

able

2 1 .— Average Annual Wage
Laws, United States and the

All covered industriesi*4
3*
South
Year

P er J ob 1 Covered by Unemployment-Compensation
South, by M ajor Industry Groups, 1939-44 2

Mining

South

United Aver­ Per­ United Aver­
age cent
age
States wage of na­ States wage
and tional
and
sal­
sal­ aver­
ary
ary age

1939_____ $1,360
1940........... 1,406
1941_____ 1,672
1942........ 1,867
1943........... 2,146
1944_____ 2,302

$1,016
1,058
1,186
1,419
1,641
1,798

Contract construction

4

74.7
75.3
75.4
76.0
76.5
78.1

$1.379
1. 404
i;597
1,818
2,188
2,527

$1,343
1,362
1,516
1,660
1,999
2,365

South

$1,159
1,197
1,290
1,460
1,650
1,839

75.4
76.7
78.9
80.4
81.1
83.1

$1,285
1,307
1,400
1,524
1,678
1,825

$1,041
1,067
1,140
1,232
1,363
1,497

South

Per­
Aver­ Per­
Aver­
cent United age cent United age
of na­ States wage of na­ States wage
tional
and tional
and
aver­
sal­ aver­
sal­
ary age
age
ary
97.4
97.0
94.9
91.3
91.4
93.6

Transportation,8communication, and Wholesale and retail
other public utili­
trade
ties
1939_____ $1,538
1940........... 1,660
1941_____ 1,636
1942........... 1,803
1943........... 2,035
1944........... 2,214

Manufacturing

81.0
81.6
81.4
80.8
81.2
82.0

$1,315
1,368
1,680
2,246
2,599
2,744

$892
1,015
1,366
1,846
2,169
2,371

67.8
74.2
81.3
82.2
83.5
86.4

Finance, insurance,
and real estate
$1,795
1,749
1,798
1,901
2,057
2,208

$1,592
1,577
1,633
1,735
1,859
1,998

88.7
90.2
90.8
91.3
90.4
90.5

$1,357
1,436
1,658
2,031
2,356
2,525

$941
987
1,123
1,397
1,691
1,879

Per­
cent
of na­
tional
aver­
age
69.3
68.7
67.7
68.8
71.8
74.4

service
$1,207 $849
1,213 861
1,271 919
1,396 1,040
1,579 1,176
1,745 1,275

70.3
71.0
72.3
74.5
74.5
73.1

i Obtained by dividing total wages and salaries paid in covered employment in the various industries by
the average employment in these industries. The latter figures are averages of 12 monthly figures, each of
which is a total of the number of workers in the industry in the last pay period of the month.
. 2 Source: United States data and 1944 data for the South derived from Federal Security Agency, Em­
ployment Security Activities, May 1946. Other years for the South are derived from data in the Social
Security Yearbooks of the Federal Security Agency.
*Includes data for covered workers in agriculture, forestry, fishing, and establishments not elsewhere
classified.
4Includes crude petroleum and natural gas production.
•Excludes railroads and other allied groups subject to the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act.



INCOM E

45

to $1,798 in 1944, an increase of 77 percent. This compares with an
increase of 69 percent for the country as a whole, from $1,360 in 1939
to $2,302 in 1944.
In 1939, average wage per job in the different industries in the
South ranged from $849 in service to $1,592 in finance. B y 1944, the
averages had shifted in relative rank, but service was still lowest with
$1,275, while contract construction was highest with $2,371. Averages
in the Southwest were generally higher than in the Southeastern States.
In mining, the presence of the high-wage petroleum industry raised
average annual wages in the Southwest above the level of the country
as a whole. In all the industries except mining, wages of the southern
worker drew nearer to the national average between 1939 and 1944.
These estimates of annual earnings do not represent all workers, as
in 1944 only about 70 percent of all wages and salaries in the country
were paid to workers in industries covered by State unemploymentinsurance laws. In the South, moreover, only about 55 percent of
total wages and salaries were paid in covered industries. Among those
excluded from coverage are farmers, farm workers, and domestic
workers, and these groups form substantial proportions of the southern
labor force. In addition, 10 of the 13 Southern States cover only
firms employing 8 or more workers. Since average earnings of em­
ployees in the smallest firms tend to be relatively low, average annual
wages of workers covered by unemployment compensation in the
South are biased upward as compared with the rest of the country.
Nevertheless, as a measure of wages in industrial and commercial
establishments of other than very small size, such figures have
significance.
It should be clear that the differentials in earnings measure varia­
tions in opportunity for employment as well as wage and salary
differences, as more commonly understood. For example, average
annual wages in southern manufacturing reflect the average return in
wages to workers in those particular industries that happen to exist in
the South. Similarly, average annual wages in manufacturing in the
remainder of the country reflect the return to workers in a somewhat
different industrial structure, utilizing, to some extent, other types of
skills and other proportions of various grades of skill. Regional wage
differentials as such are considered in a separate article.6

INCOME IN AGRICULTURE
Although agriculture has become relatively less important in the
southern economy, the income status of the individual farmer and farm
worker has considerably improved since the depression years. Migra­
tion of farm population has alleviated somewhat the pressure of

«See the article Regional Wage Differentials, p. 56 of this bulletin.



46

LABOR IN TH E SOUTH

population on the land. It enabled those who remained to improve
greatly their position when the demand for farm products and farm
prices increased in the prewar and war years. Average net farm
income per farm in the South increased from $582 in 1940 to $1,708 in
1944. The threefold increase in net farm income during this period,
although about the same as in the rest of the country, is more signifi­
cant for the South. In this region, the greater rate of decrease in the
number of farms and farm population led to larger average-sized farms
which, with increased productivity, placed agriculture on a somewhat
better economic basis.
The monthly composite wage rate of farm workers in the South in­
creased from $21.20 in 1939 to $53.20 in 1944. This composite wage
represents an average of four rates—monthly rates with and without
board, and daily rates with and without board— weighted by the
estimated number of workers receiving each rate. It is useful in show­
ing the relative changes in wage rates in the South, which can be com­
pared with the relative change in the index of farm wage rates for the
United States. The index of farm wage rates (1910-14=100) was
123 for the country in 1939 and 315 in 1944. The increase of 151 per­
cent in the composite wage rate for the South compares with an in­
crease of 156 percent for the country as a whole.

,

Incom e Paym ents and Their Com position 1 9 2 9 -4 5

Some indication of the broad economic changes which have taken
place within the country since the high level of business activity of the
late 1920’s is obtained from the changing proportions of the types of
income which compose total income payments. Table 22 and chart 1
show four principal kinds of income and their relative importance in
the South and the rest of the country for the period since 1929.
The discussion which follows deals with relative shares of income
and not with total amounts. Thus, the absolute amount of property
income in the South increased materially between 1929 and 1945,
although property income, as a share of total income, declined. Sim­
ilarly, wage and salary payments more than doubled during this period,
despite the fact that the proportions of such payments in the income
total showed little change.
In the years prior to World War II, wages and salaries in the South
represented somewhat less than 60 percent of the total income of the
population. During the war, the large volume of military pay rolls,
together with increased earnings and greater employment in industry,
brought wages and salaries to 66 percent of total mcome in 1943.
Toward the end of the war, with the “ shipping out” of military per­
sonnel and the increasing importance of family allotments and mustering-out pay, the proportion of wages and salaries was reduced to



CHART I

RELATIVE IMPORTANCE OF THE COMPONENTS OF
INCOME PAYMENTS IN THE SOUTH AND REST OF THE COUNTRY
PERCENT

IOO

SOUTHERN STATES

ALL OTHER STAT

80
IN C O M E

60

40

20

1929

1933

UN ITEO STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
BUREAU OF LABOR S TA TIS TIC S




1939

1945

1929

1933

1939

1945

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

48

its prewar relationship. In the other States, the proportion of income
going to wage and salary earners has always been greater than in the
South. This reflects the relatively greater number of industrial
workers and smaller number of farmers and farm workers7in the States
outside the South.
T

able

2 2 .— Total

Income Payments and Their Composition, the South and all Other
States, 1929-45 1

All other States

Southern States
Year

Total
Total
income Wages Propri­ Prop­ Other income Wages Propri­ Prop­ Other
and etors’ erty
and etors' erty
pay salaries income income income pay­ salaries income income income
ments
ments
Amount (in millions)

1929.................
1933.................
1939.................
1940.................
1941.................
1942.................
1943.................
1944................
1945.................

$12.428 $7,234 $3,387 $1,656
935
7,225 4,200 1,710
11,764 6,778 2,748 1,467
12,524 7,416 2,852 1,447
15,805 9,570 3, 830 1, 586
21,114 13,429 5,113 1,760
26,633 17,523 5,740 1,941
29,160 18,367 6,190 2,110
29,787 17,732 6,384 2,227

$151
380
771
809
819
812
1,429
2,493
3,444

$70,189
39,048
58,837
63,328
76,464
94,187
112,649
120,500
122,917

$45,202 $10,429 $13,630
24,366 4,922 7,793
37,072 8,225 9,556
40,579 8,996 9,888
50,373 11,954 10,697
64,519 15,259 11,030
78,871 17,679 11,728
83,303 17,859 12,553
80,962 19,010 13,537

$928
1,967
3,984
3,865
3,440
3,379
4,371
6,785
9,408

Percentage distribution
1929.................
1933.................
1939.................
1940.................
1941.................
1942.................
1943.................
1944.................
1945.................

100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

58.2
58.1
57.6
59.2
60.6
63.6
65.8
63.0
59.5

27.3
23.7
23.4
22.8
24.2
24.2
21.6
21.2
21.4

13.3
12.9
12.5
11.5
10.0
8.3
7.3
7.2
7.5

1.2
5.3
6.5
6.5
5.2
3.9
5.3
8.6
11.6

100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

64.4
62.4
63.0
64.1
65.9
68.5
70.0
69.1
65.9

14.9
12.6
14.0
14.2
15.6
16.2
15.7
14.8
15.5

19.4
20.0
16.2
15.6
14.0
11.7
10.4
10.4
11.0

1.3
5.0
6.8
6.1
4.5
3.6
3.9
5.7
7.6

i Source: U. S. Department of Commerce, Surrey of Current Business, August 1945 and August 1946.
The decreased importance of proprietors’ income in the South which
started in the depression years of the early 1930’s continued throughout
the war period. From 27 percent of total income payments in 1929,
income to unincorporated business, including agriculture, declined
to 23 percent in 1940 and to 21 percent in 1945. The relative increase
in wages and salaries in the first part of the war and of “ other income”
toward its close, and the large decrease in the number of farm pro­
prietors throughout the period, were important reasons for the smaller
share of total income going to proprietors during the war. While this
decline was taking place in the South, proprietors’ income remained
a much more stable component of the total in the rest of the country.
The proportion of income received from property, represented by
net rents and royalties, interest, and dividends, has been decreasing
throughout the country since 1929. The decrease received added
impetus during the war with increased taxes, rent ceilings, and

7 In 1940, farmers and farm workers represented 34 percent of the employed labor force in the Southern
States, compared with only 12 percent in the rest of the country.



INCOME

49

declining interest rates. In the South, income from property fell
from 13 percent of total income in 1929 to 12 percent in 1940 and to
8 percent in 1945. The greater concentration of wealth in the rest
of the country led to an even greater percentage decline in its propor­
tion of property income.
The “ other” type of income payments became substantially more
important in all parts of the country after 1929.. In the thirties, the
increase resulted from the large volume of relief and work-relief pay­
ments and social-security benefits. The latter became significant
toward the end of the decade. With many dependents of military
personnel living in the Southern States during the war, the inclusion
of family-allowance payments and allotments made the category of
“ other income” relatively more important in the South after 1942.
The inclusion of mustering-out payments to veterans in 1944 and 1945
raised the proportion still higher in the Southern States.
Aggregate Incom e Paym ents

Although per capita income in the South is still considerably below
the national average, as indicated earlier in this section, income pay­
ments showed remarkable gains in these States during the immediate
prewar and war years. N ot only has the income level of the popula­
tion been raised in absolute terms, but an increasing share of the
Nation's total income has been going to these 13 States. In 1929,
15 percent of the country's total income payments went to the South.
B y 1940, this proportion had gone up to 17 percent, and by 1945 to
20 percent (table 23).
Each of the nine Southeastern States increased its proportion of
total income payments between 1929 and 1945. T o this group of
T a b l e 2 3 .—

Total Income Payments and Percentage Distribution , by Region , 1929-451

Region

1929

1933

__ _ _ $82,617 $46,273
12,428 7,225
Southeastern States___ 7,257 4,361
Southwestern States___ 5,171 2,864
Af1 nt.hpr S t.A
t.A 8
70,189 39,048

TTfiifari

3

SmithArn R t.A
t.A 8

United States *___________
Southern States....................
Southeastern States___
Southwestern States___
All other States......................

100.0
15.0
8.8
6.2
85.0

100.0
15.6
9.4
6.2
84.4

1939 1940 1941 1942 1943 1944 1945
Total income payments (in millions)
$70,601 $75,852 $92,269 $115,301 $139,282 $149,660 $152,704
11,764 12,524 15,805 21,114 26,633 29,160 29,787
7,108 7,703 9,856 13,133 16,384 17,986 18,602
4,656 4,821 5,949 7,981 10,249 11,174 11,185
58,837 63,328 76,464 94,187 112,649 120,500 122,917
Percent of total United States
100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
16.7 16.5 17.1 18.3 19.1 19.5 19.5
10.1 10.1 10.7 11.4 11.8 12.0 12.2
7.5
7.3
7.3
6.4
6.4
6.9
6.6
83.3 83.5 82.9 81.7 80.9 80.5 80.5

1 Source: U. S. Department of Commerce, Survey of Current Business, August 1946.
2 Includes only payments to residents of the continental United States, therefore excluding pay of armed
forces and Federal civilian employees stationed outside the country.



50

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

States in the aggregate went 9 percent of the country's total income
payments in 1929, 10 percent in 1940, and 12 percent in 1945. The
four Southwestern States raised their aggregate share of the Nation's
income during the period after 1940 by about 1 percent.
The growth in the relative importance of the Southeast in manufac­
turing during the 1930's accounts largely for the increasing proportion
of income payments going to the South in the years prior to the war.
During the period of rearmament and war, the Southern States, with
an important share of military establishments and other war activities,
showed the tremendous gains indicated.
In dollar amounts of income, the South made more rapid progress
than the rest of the country in recovering from the low point of the
depression years. By 1940, the Southern States had recovered the
1929 level of income payments, whereas the remainder of the country
was still 10 percent below that level. By 1945, southern income was
240 percent of the 1929 amount, compared with 175 percent for the
rest of the country. The smallest relative increase among the South­
ern States was shown by Oklahoma— 169 percent of the 1929 amount—
the largest by Florida— 343 percent of the 1929 amount.
WAGES AND SALARIES AND THEIR COMPOSITION

Aggregate wages and salaries.— The proportion of the country's total
wages and salaries which were paid in the South increased steadily
from 1929 to 1945— from 14 percent of the total in 1929 to 16 percent
in 1940 and 18 percent in 1945 (table 24). The relationship of the
South to the rest of the country, with respect to this most important
component of income payments, paralleled very closely that of total
income payments. The important changes in wages and salaries are
reflected in total income.
T

able

2 4 .—

Wages and Salaries and Percentage Distribution , by Region9 1929-45

Region

1929

1933

1939

1940

1941

1942

1943

1944

1

1945

Wages and salaries (in millions)
United States...................... $52,436 $28,566 $43,850 $47,995 $59,943 $77,948
Southern States.................. 7,234 4,200 6,778 7,416 9,570 13,429
Southeastern States__ 4,321 2,580 4,188 4,678 6,164 8,537
Southwestern States.. - 2,913 1,620 2,590 2,738 3,406 4,892
All other States.................... 45,202 24,366 37,072 40,579 50,373 64,519

$96,394 $101,670 $98,694
17,523 18,367 17,732
10,890 11,380 11,039
6,633 6,987 6,693
78,871 83,303 80,962

Percent of total United States
United States___ _______ 100.0
Southern States..... ............. 13.8
Southeastern States___ 8.2
Southwestern States... 5.6
All other States................... 86.2

100.0
14.7
9.0
5.7
85.3

100.0
15.5
9.6
5.9
84.5

100.0
15.5
9.7
5.8
84.5

100.0
16.0
10.3
5.7
84.0

100.0
17.2
10.9
6.3
82.8

100.0
18.2
11.3
6.9
81.8

100.0
18.1
11.2
6.9
81.9

100.0
18.0
11.2
6.8
82.0

1 Source: U. S. Department of Commerce, Survey of Current Business, August 1945 and August 1946.



INCOM E

51

Aggregate wages and salaries in the South rose from 7,234 million
dollars in 1929 to 17,732 million dollars in 1945, an increase of 145
percent. This compares with an increase of only 79 percent for the
rest of the country during the same period.
Changes in wages and salaries and their components from the
period of rearmament to the end of the war are shown in tables 25
and 26 and chart 2. During this period all the important wage groups
in the southern economy, except farm workers, increased their aggre­
gate wage income faster than those in the rest, of the country.
Manufacturing wages and salaries.— Manufacturing wages and
salaries in the South increased from 1,562 million dollars in 1929,
about 10 percent of total manufacturing pay rolls in the coimtry,
to 4,653 million dollars in 1945, 12 percent of the country’s total
(table 25). In general, the prewar gain is attributable to increased
factory pay rolls in the Southeastern States. The gain during the
war was largely caused by the growth of war manufacturing both in
the Southeast and the Southwest.
The South responded to the Nation’s need for war materials of
all kinds by increasing the relative output of manufacturing in its
economy (as measured by wages and salaries) from 23 percent of
total pay rolls in 1940 to 28 percent in 1944, the year of greatest war
production. While the increase in the Southeast was from 27 percent
to 30 percent in 1944, the Southwestern States showed a remarkable
change, from 16 to 26 percent. That these changes may not be
entirely permanent is suggested by the fact that in 1945 manufactur­
ing pay rolls declined to 29 percent of total wages and salaries in the
Southeast and to 22 percent in the Southwest.
The States outside the South gave even greater emphasis to manu­
facturing during the war, increasing their proportion of manufacturing
to total pay rolls from 34 percent in 1940 to 45 percent in 1944. The
cessation of war production brought this proportion down to 41 per­
cent in 1945.
Farm wages.— The rise in industrial activity and the decrease in
agricultural employment, during the war years, resulted in a decline
in the relative importance of farm wages in total wage and salary
payments in the South, despite a substantial increase in agricultural
wage rates. From 4.4 percent of total wages and salaries in the South
in 1929, farm wages declined to 3.9 percent in 1940 and to 3.4 percent
in 1945. Agriculture is a less important part of the economy in the
rest of the country, and farm wages remained a fairly stable compo­
nent of total wages— about 2 percent from 1929 to 1945.
Approximately half the country’s farm workers are in the Southern
States; these workers receive less than 30 percent of total national
farm-wage payments. The 319 million dollars paid southern farm




52

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

MANUFACTURING, FARM, AND FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT WAGES AND SALARIES
AS PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL WAGES AND SALARIES
IN THE SOUTH AND REST OF THE COUNTRY

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
(CIVIL EXECUTIVE)

IIEE0I
1943
1945
O

10

20

30
PERCENT

U N IT E O S T A T E S DEPARTM ENT OP LABOR
BUREAU OP LABOR S TA T IS T IC S




40

50

53

INCOME

workers in 1929 was about a fourth of the farm wages paid in the
country in that year. In 1940, southern farm wages were 29 percent
of the country’s total, and in 1945 the 596 million dollars paid in
farm wages was 27 percent of all farm wages. The explanation for
the discrepancy between the proportions of total farm workers and
total farm wages lies not only in the farm wage differential but also
in the large number of unpaid family workers in agriculture in the
South.
T a b l e 2 5 .—

Wages and Salaries and Their Composition, hy Region, 1940 and 1945

Total *

Region

1940 1945

Manufactur­
ing3

Federal4
(civilian ex­
ecutive)

Farm

1940 1945 1940 1945 1940

1

All other

1945 1940 1945

Wages and salaries (in millions)
United States...........................
Southern States.......................
Southeastern States.........
Southwestern States........
All other States.................... .

$47,995 $98,694 $15,372 $37,754 $1,000 $2,210 $1,797 $7,284 $29,826 $51,446
7,416 17,732 1,717 4,653 288 596 358 1,935 5,053 10,548
4,678 11,039 1,273 3,189 169 318 244 1,308 2,992 6,224
2,738 6,693 445 1,464 119 277 114 627 2,060 4,325
40,579 80,962 13,655 33,101 712 1,615 1,439 5,349 24,773 40,897
Percentage distribution

United States_____________
Southern States.......................
Southeastern States.........
Southwestern States........
All other States.......................

100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

32.0
23.2
27.2
16.2
33.6

38.3
26.2
28.9
21.9
40.9

2.2
3.9
3.6
4.4
1.8

2.2
3.4
2.9
4.1
2.0

3.7
4.9
5.2
4.2
3.5

7.4
10.9
11.8
9.4
6.6

62.1
68.0
64.0
75.2
61.1

52.1
59.5
56.4
64.6
50.5

1 Source: U. S. Department of Commerce, Survey of Current Business, August 1946 and unpublished data.
* After deduction of employees’ contributions under social insurance programs.
3 Before deduction of social insurance contributions.
4 Before deduction of civil service retirement.
T

able

2 6 .— Percentage

Increase in Wages and Salaries and Their Components, by Region,
1940 to 1945

Percent increase in wages and salaries
Region

Total

TTnited States

Southern States........................................ .
Southeastern States
Southwestern States..

All other States _ _

_

__ _
_______

__ __

106
139
136
144
100

Manufac­
turing
146
171
151
229
142

Farm
121
107
88
133
127

Federal
(civilian ex­ All other
ecutive)
305
441
436
450
272

73
109
108
110
65

Federal civilian executive wages and salaries.— Between January 1940
and June 1944, Federal employment of civilians had tripled in the
States outside the South; in the South, on the latter date, there were
about four times the earlier number. During the war, Government
pay rolls for civilian employees became an important component of



54

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

the total wage bill in the Southern States. In 1940, 5 percent of all
wages and salaries in this region were payments to Federal employees
in the executive branch. This proportion more than doubled by
1945 and represented 11 percent of total wages and salaries in that
year. Government pay rolls of civilian executive employees in the
South were 358 million dollars in 1940 compared with 1,439 million
in the States outside the South. By 1945, these pay rolls were 1,935
m illion dollars in the South and 5,349 million in the rest of the
country. The increase of 441 percent in the South compares with an
increase of 272 percent in the other States.

AGRICULTURAL INCOME
The Southern States, with half the farm population of the country,
since the war have received less than a third of the country’s agricul­
tural income.8 In 1929, agricultural income of 2,513 million dollars
in these States was 36 percent of the total farm income of the country.
B y 1945, southern agricultural income was 4,821 million dollars*
about 32 percent of the total (table 27).
T a b l e 27.— Agricultural Incom e Paym ents 1 and Percentage Distribution , by Region ,

1929- 45 2

Region

1929

1933

1939

1940

1941

1942

1943

1944

1945

Agricultural income payments (in millions)
United States........................
Southern States....................
Southeastern States.......
Southwestern States___
All other States................ .

$6,905 $2,962 $5,302 $5,438 $7,718 $11,494
2,513 1,244 1.956 1,906 2.562 3.762
1,448
757 1,186 1,138 1,472 2,249
768 1.090 1, 513
1,065
487
770
4,452 1,718 3,346 3,532 5,156 7,732

$14,211
4,315
2,612
1,703
9,896

$14,418 $15,091
4,737 4,821
2,917 3,129
1,820 1,692
9,681 10,270

Percent of total United States
United States......................... 100.0
Southern States..................... 36.1
Southeastern States....... 20.8
Southwestern States___ 15.3
All other States...................... 63.9

100.0
42.0
25.6
16.4
58.0

100.0
36.9
22.4
14.5
63.1

100.0
35.0
20.9
14.1
65.0

100.0
33.2
19.1
14.1
66.8

100.0
32.7
19.6
13.1
67.3

100.0
30.4
18.4
12.0
69.6

100.0
32.8
20.2
12.6
67.2

100.0
31.9
20.7
11.2
68.1

* Includes net income of farm proprietors, farm wages, and rents received by landlords living on farms.
* Source: U. S. Department of Commerce, unpublished data.
The greater dependence of this region upon agriculture is indicated
by the considerably higher proportion of agricultural income to total
income payments than in the rest of the country. Agricultural income
was 20.2 percent of total income in the South in 1929, and 15.2 percent
by 1940, as compared with 6.3 percent of total income in the remainder
of the country in 1929 and 5.6 percent in 1940. In spite of the
tremendously increased farm value of the South’s principal crops—
cotton and tobacco— the proportion did not rise much higher during

8Includes liet income of farm proprietors, farm wages, and rents received by landlords living on farms.



INCOM E

55

the war years, being 16.2 percent in 1945 as compared with 8.4 percent
in the other States.

MILITARY PAYMENTS
M ilitary paym ents9 during the war were a substantial part of total
income payments in the Southern States. The presence in these
States of many of the military training installations concentrated large
numbers of military personnel and their families in the region. Since
military pay is credited to the States in which the personnel are sta­
tioned, such payments considerably increased aggregate income in
the South.
M ilitary payments in the South rose from 142 million dollars in
1940 to 4,377 million in 1945. The importance of this type of pay­
ment is seen in its increasing percentage of total income in the South—
from 1.1 percent in 1940 to 14.7 percent in 1945. These proportions
were 0.3 percent and 6.8 percent, respectively, for the remainder of
the country.

9 Include net pay of the armed forces, family allowance payments, voluntary allotment of pay to indi­
viduals, and mustering-out pay.




V.— Regional Wage Differentials1
Interest in geographical wage differentials in the United States
has centered mainly on North-South deviations. In part, this
approach oversimplifies the problem, since it obscures the fact that
substantial wage differences also exist within the North as well as
within the South.2 There are many reasons, o f course, why the
difference between northern and southern wages has been the focus
of so much attention. Insofar as wage rates are a determinant of
worker income, differences in rates contribute to regional inequalities
in standards of living and welfare. In highly competitive industries,
such as cotton textiles, the movement of industry to the South and
the difficulties faced by trade-unions in maintaining and raising
northern textile wages have historically been closely related to
regional differences in industry wage levels. Similarly, in other com­
petitive industries, especially those in which a large proportion of the
labor force is composed of unskilled and semiskilled workers (as in
wooden-nonupholstered furniture, lumber, and cotton garments), the
spread between northern and southern wages has been of great
economic significance. M oreover, in legislative deliberations on min­
imum wages it has been apparent that the setting of national levels
in various industries is influenced by the level of wages in the lowest
wage region.
While the special position of the South’s wage level impinges on
many problems regarding wage determination in the United States,
this analysis does not deal with geographic wage differentials primarily
in terms of the North versus the South. Instead, an effort has been
made to throw light on significant wage differentials among eight
major regions. The data available for this purpose were collected
and processed under uniform procedures in 1945 and 1946, and for
each of the selected industries nine regional groupings are usually
provided— two in the South and seven in the remainder of the
country. In view of the fact that the Mountain States contain few
large manufacturing industries, comparisons of wages are confined to
the following regions: New England, Middle Atlantic, Border States,*

* Prepared by Harry Ober and Carrie Glasser of the Bureau’s Wage Analysis Branch. The statistical
work for this article was prepared under the direction of Samuel E. Cohen. This section incorporates
minor revisions in the material on wage differentials that originally appeared in the October 1946 Monthly
Labor Review. It should be noted that all wage figures used in this section are preliminary; necessary
changes will appear in the individual Wage Structure reports.
* Several studies have shown that the dispersion of wages within the South is considerably greater than
within the North. See Carrie Glasser: Wage Differentials, The Case of the Unskilled (New York,
Columbia University Press, 1940); and Richard A. Lester: Diversity in North-South Wage Differentials
and in Wage Rates within the South (in Southern Economic Journal, January 1946, pp. 238-262).
56



WAGE DIFFERENTIALS

57

Southeast, Southwest, Middle West, Great Lakes, and Pacific.8
It should be observed that these groupings do not imply that wages
are uniform within each region. It is believed, however, that the
use of eight regions permits a niore accurate reflection of regional
wage variations than would be obtained from a comparison limited
to the North and South.
Characteristic Regional W age Positions

For the purpose of determining what geographical wage differences
are characteristic of the United States today, the data studied consist
of straight-time average hourly earnings which exclude overtime pay­
ments and other forms of premium income. While these figures are
not synonymous with hourly rates, they afford as close an approxima­
tion to rates as it is possible to secure with the available wage statis­
tics. Although changes in straight-time hourly earnings owing to
wage-rate increases have occurred throughout the country since 1945,4
it is probable that, on the whole, the adjustments have had less effect
on geographical differences than on the absolute level of wages in
particular regions. However, to the extent that geographical rela­
tionships have been altered, the present findings deviate from the
situation as it existed in August 1946.
The main groups of manufacturing and nonmanufacturing indus­
tries used in this analysis are shown in table 28. While the choice of
industries was limited by the availability of recent information, it was
also influenced by the desire to include as many important southern
industries as possible, since the relative level of southern wages is a
significant part of the present study. However, industries which are
found almost entirely in the South, such as cigarette manufacturing,
were excluded because meaningful comparisons with other regions
were not possible. On the other hand, table 28 does not contain data
for such important southern industries as lumber and bituminous-coal
mining. For these industries the available wage statistics were not
amenable to classification according to the eight broad economic
regions. These industries are, however, treated separately in the
following discussion. Despite the fact that the sample of industries
used in table 28 gives major weight to industries typical of the South,*

* The States included in these regions are as follows: N ew England— Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts,
New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont; M id d le A tla n tic— N e w Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania;
B order States—Delaware, District of Columbia, Kentucky, Maryland, and West Virginia; Southeast—
Virginia, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee; Southwest—Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas; Great Lafces—-Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota,
Ohio, and Wisconsin; M id d le W est— Io w a , Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska,.North Dakota, and South Dakota;
Pacific— California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.
Reference is made in footnote 6 to the wage level found in the Mountain States on the basis of such
material as is available.
In the Wage Structure reports issued by the Bureau, Virginia was included in the Border States.
4 The period covered by this analysis is from January 1945 to April 1946, except the railroad industry
for which only 1944 data were available.



LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

58

T a b le 28 .— Regional Indexes o f Straight-Tim e Average H ourly Earnings 1 o f A ll W orkers
in Selected M anufacturing and Nonmanufacturing Industries

[United States industry average *=100]*
Regional indexes of straight-time hourly earnings
Average
straighttime
Industry* and date of survey earnings, New Mid­ Bor­
dle
Great Mid­ P United Eng­ At­ der South­ South­ Lakes dle cific
States * land lantic States east west
West
M anufacturing

Metalworking (January 1945):
Fabricated structural steel___
Iron and steel forgings..............
Ferrous foundries.....................
Machinery, miscellaneous___
Nonferrous metal foundries. __
Power boilers and related
products..................................
Sheet-metal work......................
Apparel (April 1945):
Men's and boys' dress shirts..
Overalls and industrial garments......................................
Women's and misses’ dresses..
Work pants, cotton..................
Work shirts................................
Paper and allied products (Octo­
ber 1945):
Corrugated an& fiber boxes. _.
Fiber cans, tubes and similar
products_________________
Folding paper boxes.................
Paperboard mills....................
Pulp and paper mills_______
Set-up boxes.............................
Textiles, cotton (April 1946):
Integrated spinning and weav­
ing mills................................
Weaving mills...........................
Yam mills____ ___________
Bread and other bakery products
(July 1945).....................................
Cigars (January 1946).................
Footwear (October 1945)................
Hosiery, full-fashioned (January
1946)...............................................
Hosiery, seamless (January 1946)..
Structural clay products (October
1945)...............................................
Furniture, other than upholstered
(October 1945)...............................
Furniture, upholstered (October
1945)................................................

$0.97
1.18
1.00
.98
1.03
.98
1.06
.68
.64
1.31
.58
.52

107.2
89.8
91.0
94.9
99.0
93.9
100.9
107.4
109.4
74.0
(4)

102.1
90.7
99.0
99.0
94.2
91.8
117.0
104.4
112.5
112.2
122.4
117.3

99.0
(4)
87.0
85.7
91.3
89.8
(4)
91.2
103.1
51.9
103.4
105.8

85.6
(*)
69.0
75.5
70.9
88.8
65.1
82.4
84.4
48.1
91.4
96.2

85.6
76.6
92.9
78.6
86.7
83.0

101.0
105.1
104.0
102.0
103.9
106.1
93.4
98.5
96.9 109.4
48.1 67.9
93.1 112.1
(4) 117.3

89.7 122.7
(4) 111.0
85.0 109.0
89.8 116.3
85.4 108.7
89.8 122.4
80.2 127.4
85.3 126.5
100.0 131.3
67.9 97.7
115.5 139.7
(4)

.78 102.6 105.1 87.2 80.8 87.2 102.6
.71 90.1 119.7 100.0 (4)
(4) 101.4
.79 94.9 101.3 88.6 77.2 75.9 101.3
.83 95.2 102.4
92.8 (4) 107.2
.82 95.1 100.0 95.1 96.3 100.0 *100.0
.68 91.2 105.9 80.9 79.4 77,9 100.0

100.0 121.8
100 0
86.1 126.6
120.4
125 6
92.6 120.6

.76
.98
.71
.76
.73
.83
.97
.63
.80
.70
.96

106.6
104.1
112.7
100.0
106.8
112.0
93.8
111.1
105.0
102.9
99.0

103.9
108.2
107.0
107.9
100.0
114.5
111.3
106.3
112.5
111.4
121.9

93.4
87.7
86.7
92.8
87.3
102.5
104.3
82.3

.79
.67
.41
1.03
.52
.92

86.1
86.6
104.9
101.9
111.5
102.1

107.6
104.5
102.4
101.0
119.2
110.8

87.3 77.2 88.6 103.8 91.1
82.1 86.6 97.0 103.0 97.0
92.7 80.5 82.9 104.9 95.1
84.5 84.5 102.9 87.4
V
98.1 71.2 75.0 113.5 90.4
101.1 89.1 88.0 98.9 84.8

96.1

98.7
77.6
98.6
75.0
101.4
78.3
89.7
98.4
76.3
80.0
76.0

89.5

86.7

81.6 101.3 96.1 126.3
71.2 98.6
139 8
86.7 79.5 139.8
101.0 103.0
127.8
(4) 114.3
71.3 102.5 96.3 118.8
85.7 107.1 92.9 134.3
83.3 96.9 94.8 135.4

Nonmanufacturing

Retail (April 1945):
Clothing stores..........................
Department stores....................
Limited-price variety stores...
Electric light and power (July
1945)_____ ___________ ______
Power laundries (July 1945)...........
Telephones (October 1945).............

116.5
109.0
134.1
107.8
132.7
103.3

*Excludes premium pay for overtime and night work.
* The national average included data for the Mountain region where coverage was obtained.
* Source of data: For all industries except telephone, information based on Bureau of Labor Statistics
wage survey. Telephone data taken from wage distributions shown in the annual reports o f Bell Telephone
Companies to the Federal Communications Commission. The regions for this industry are not exactly
identical with those for other industries. Virginia was included in the Border States and part of Idaho is
contained in the Pacific region. Other minor variations were also necessary because of the nature of the
carrier's field of operations.
4Insufficient coverage to warrant presentation of regional data. In assignment of ranks, however, the
region's position in the industry was based on the small coverage.




59

WAGE DIFFERENTIALS

and is therefore less representative of the industrial composition of
other regions, the coverage in all regions is believed adequate for the
purpose of determining the characteristic wage position of each area.
The national average of straight-time hourly earnings of all workers
in each industry, shown in table 28, was used as the base (100) to
convert the average straight-time hourly earnings for each region
into relatives or indexes in order that percentage deviations from the
base or national average can be seen' easily. Differences in money
terms can readily be computed from these figures. For example, the
New England index of 99 for all workers in nonferrous foundries is
1 percent below the national average of $1.03 per hour. The actual
average rate for New England in this industry was, therefore, $1.02.
W ith the exception of the Southeast and Pacific regions, table 1
shows that the position of each region in the national wage scale is
not uniform from industry to industry. Indeed, it is somewhat
difficult to judge, from examination of the table, where some of the
regions fall. T o assess how consistently a region maintained a
certain position, all regions were ranked according to their level of
straight-time average hourly earnings in each industry.6
The regional wage positions, based on straight-time average hourly
earnings of all workers are shown below. Rank 1 represents the
h ig h e st w a g e le v e l.
Region

Num ber of
industries
represented

1 . . . ............... .........____ Pacific____ ____ _________...........
2______ __________ ____ Middle A tlantic______
...........
3............... ............... ____ Great Lakes____________ ...........
4................... ..........____ New England___________ ...........
5...............................
...........
6 ............ — ........... ____ Border States___________ ...........
7............... ............... ____ Southwest______________ ...........
8......................... — ____ Southeast_______________...........

29
35
33
34
27
32
30
35

Rank

The Pacific region with great consistency showed the highest wage
level, while, with almost equal consistency, the Southeast had the
lowest earnings in the country. In 25 out of 29 industries, the Pacific
region came out highest; 4 other regions held top rank in a few cases—
New England in 2 industries, Middle Atlantic in 4, Great Lakes in 1,*

* The region with the highest average was assigned rank 1, second highest was called 2, and so on, with the
lowest region bearing rank 8. Where 2 regions had the same average, the rank was split, e. g., if both were
tied for highest place, each received the rank 1.5.
The next step involved the addition of all the ranks of a region; this sum was then divided by the number
of industries represented in each region. The result obtained was then used to assign the 8 regions their
average position in the national wage scale.
Regional data are not shown in table 28 where industrial coverage was too small or where no coverage was
obtained. In some cases, a rank was assigned using the small coverage as a guide. Inequality in the num­
ber of industries covered in each region was taken into account by dividing the sum of the ranks of each region
by the number of industries represented; the final rank was based on this average.
738211°




60

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

and the M iddle West in 2 industries each. The indisputably low
position of the Southeast is evidenced by the fact that it ranked
lowest in 22 out of 35 industries. The Southwest was lowest in 12
industries, New England in 1 (pulp and paper mills), the Middle
W est in 1 (telephone), and the Border States in 3.
Only 1 of the 29 Pacific industries had average earnings lower
than the national average, whereas in the Southeast only 1 of 35 indus­
tries came above the national average, in the Southwest only 1 out
of 30, and in the Border States only 7 out of 32 industries (see table
28). New England’s industries were almost equally divided (15 below
and 18 above the national average) whereas more than two-thirds
o f the industries in the Middle Atlantic and Great Lakes States had
average hourly earnings that exceeded the national average. It may
also be noted that, in at least a third of their industries, New Eng­
land, Great Lakes, M iddle West, and the Border States were midway
in the national wage scale.6
The actual size of the average wage differential between the South
and other regions along with the relative importance of each industry
in the South, as measured by employment, is shown in table 29, in
which data for the Southeast and Southwest were combined. Follow­
ing are what seem to be the major observations to be drawn from an
analysis of these data.
(1) The wage spread between the South and other regions is quite
different in various industries. In pulp and paper mills, for example,
southern straight-time average hourly earnings in October 1945,
exceeded earnings in the Border States and in New England and were
exceeded by only 2.5 percent in the Middle Atlantic and Great Lakes
States. An indication of an extremely wide differential is found in
the women’s dress industry where earnings in the Middle Atlantic
States were more than double those in the South. In this industry
differentiation with respect to product and types of labor utilized is
undoubtedly in good part responsible for the great wage disparity.
In the M iddle Atlantic States, highly stylized and higher priced
garments are produced, compared to the South (with approximately
3 percent of the workers) where house dresses and cotton garments
predominate.7 However, even within comparable price lines, a classi­
fication which helps to minimize product differences, the wage spread
between northern and southern areas is wide.
(2) Pulp and paper mills have been cited as an industry in which
southern average hourly earnings were above those in another region.

# On the basis of a small number of industries, the position of the Mountain States would fall between
New England and the Middle West.
7 While differences in products and character of the labor force make for regional wage variations, there
are other important contributing factors such as degree of urbanization, unionization, and method of wage
payment. Further study is needed to determine the specific influence of each of these factors on regional
wage levels.



WAGE DIFFERENTIALS

61

To this may be added cigar manufacturing in which the Great Lakes
and Border States showed 1.4 percent and 12.3 percent lower wages,
respectively. In seamless hosiery, average earnings in the Border
States were 11.3 percent less than in the South, while workers in
department stores averaged nearly 10 percent less per hour. New
England department store workers showed nearly 5 percent lower
hourly wages, on the average, than comparable southern workers.
It will be observed that in the few industries where the South had a
wage advantage, it was mainly with respect to the Border States, a
region with the second lowest wage position (when the Southeast and
Southwest are merged into one group).
(3) On the basis of the industry data presented in table 29, there
appears to be a slight tendency for the wage differential between the
South and other regions to be widest in industries which pay com­
paratively low wages everywhere in the country. Important exceptions
include seamless hosiery in which industry-wide straight-time hourly
earnings in January 1946 averaged 63 cents as against 62 cents for
southern workers. In two relatively high wage industries, electric
light and power and fabricated structural steel, the national averages
were $1.03 and 97 cents, respectively, compared with averages of 87
cents and 83 cents in the South.
(4) Where the South occupies a dominant position in an industry,
the wage differential appears to be considerably less than in many
other industries in which only a minor proportion of total employ­
ment is in the South. However, important exceptions are evident so
that the relationship cannot be said to be consistent throughout.
Thus, in cotton-textile yarn mills, wages in New England were 14.3
percent higher than in the South where nearly 92 percent of the
workers were employed. In integrated spinning and weaving mills
(83 percent of total employment in the South) wages were 2.7 percent
lower in the Border States compared with the South and only 8
percent and 5 percent higher in New England and the M iddle Atlantic
States, respectively. In seamless hosiery the differential varied from
11 percent below the southern average to 16 percent above. On
the other hand, in such leading southern industries as furniture
(other than upholstered) and cotton garments, southern wages were
surpassed by a considerably greater margin. Relatively unimportant
southern industries, from the standpoint of employment (such as
the metalworking group), showed differentials greatly in excess of
those indicated above.
From the preceding analysis the low wage position of the southern
regions is clear. This finding can be further supported by an exami­
nation of other leading southern industries such as lumber, railroads,
bituminous-coal mining, and the building and printing trades.



62

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

T a b l e 29.— Straight-Time Average H ourly Earnings1o f A ll Workers in Sdected Industries

in the South, Compared With Other Regions

South *
Industry and date of survey

Percent
of total
industry
employ­
ment

Percent by which given region exceeds South

Straighttime
New Middle Great
average Border Eng­ Atlantic Lakes Middle Pacific
West
hourly States land
earnings

M anufacturing

Metalworking (January 1945):
Fabricated structural steel__
Ferrous foundries...................
Machinery, miscellaneous...
Nonferrous foundries______
Power boilers and related
products................................
Sheet m etal...........................
Apparel (April 1945):
Men’s and boys’ dress shirts.
Overalls and industrial garments....................................
Women’s and misses’ dresses.
Work pants, cotton................
Work shirts.............................
Paper and allied products (Oc­
tober 1945):
Corrugated and fiber boxes..
Fiber cans, tubes, and simi­
lar products____________
Folding paper boxes...............
Paperboard mills__________
Pulp and paper mills______
Set-up paper boxes................
Textiles, cotton (April 1946):
Integrated spinning and
weaving mills......................
Weaving mills......................
Yarn mills____ _______
Bread and other bakery products
(July 1945)..................................
Cigars (January 1946)
Footwear (October 1945)..............
Hosiery, full-fashioned (January
1946).............................................
Hosiery, seamless (January 1946).
Structural clay products (Octo­
ber 1945).....................................
Furniture, other than uphol­
stered (October 1945)................
Furniture, upholstered (October
1945)..............................................

19.6
3.7
4.1
1.7
17.9
17.7
18.7
34.0
2.6
63.1
69.9

$0.83
.72
.83
.78
.86
.76
.56
.55
.63
.53
.50

15.7
20.8
1.2
20.5
2.3
(3)
10.7
20.0
7.9
13.2
10.0

25.3 19.3
26.4 37.5
12.0 16.9
30.8 24.4
4.7
7.0
40.8 63.2
30.4 26.8
27.3 30.9
54.0 133.3
34.0
(3)
22.0

18.1
44.4
20.5
37.2
20.9
30.3
19.6
27.3
41.3
22.6
22.0

4.8
18.1
6.0
12.8
2.3
11.8
3.6
16.4
41.3
26.4
(3)

43.4
51.4
37.3
43.6
39.5
77.6
53.6
52.7
103.2
52.8

12.1
5.7
9.2
38.3
21.4
6.0

.65
.61
.61
.75
.80
.54

4.6
16.4
14.8
()
-2.5
1.9

23.1
4.9
23.0
5.3
-2 .5
14.8

26.2
39.3
31.1
13.3
2.5
33.3

23.1
18.0
31.1
18.7
2.5
25.9

20.0
16.4
11.5

46.2

82.6
18.1
91.9
19.2
47.4
6.4
43.5
76.1
18.0
38.4
27.0

.75 -2 .7
.76
.70
.59 20.3
.73 -12.3
.65 10.8
.87
3.4
.62 -11.3
.60 36.7
.56 30.4
6.8
.74

8.0
34.2
14.3
28.8
6.8
43.1
4.6
12.9
40.0
28.6
28.4

5.3
39.5
8.6
39.0
0.0
46.2
24.1
8.1
50.0
39.3
58.1

30.5
1.4
10.8
14.9
16.1
36.7
33.9
25.7

23.7
1.5

62.7
39.7
78.5
42.5

28.3
16.1
23.0

58.3
67.9
75.7

12.4
12.2
22.5
14.3
31.2
20.5

.65
.61
.33
.87
.38
.81

4.6
-4 .9
30.3
20.7
52.6
16.0

30.8
14.8
27.3
19.5
63.2
25.9

26.2
13.1
30.3
21.8
55.3
12.3

10.8
6.6
18.2
3.4
23.7
-3 .7

41.5
19.7
66.7
27.6
81.6
17.3

3

16.7

63.9
33.3
28.8
51.9

11.8

Nonmanufacturing

Retail (April 1945):
Clothing stores........................
Department stores..................
Limited price variety stores.
Electric light and power (July
1945).............................................
Power laundries (July 1945)........
Telephones (October 1945)...........

6.2
-9 .8
15.2
(3)
34.2
14.8

i Excludes premium pay for overtime and night work.
* Includes Southeast and Southwest.
*Insufficient number of workers to justify presentation of an average.
These industries, for the reason already indicated, were excluded
from tables 28 and 29.
The significance of the lumber industry in the South can be gaged
from the fact that in 1944 approximately a quarter of a million workers
found employment in lumbering operations in that region; this rep­
resents over half o f total employment in the entire industry. In
August 1944, the most recent period for which regional data are



63

WAGE DIFFERENTIALS

available, straight-time average hourly earnings of workers in logging
camps, sawmills, veneer mills, plywood mills, and cooperage-stock
mills were 13 to 53 percent higher in the North than in the
South. In all branches except veneer and cooperage-stock mills,
western wages were more than double those in the South (table 30).*
8
This wide spread between the South and West is a reflection not only
of differences m the general wage levels of the two regions but also
of the fact that southern lumbering operations are smaller in scale, are
less mechanized, and utilize a higher proportion of unskilled workers.

T able

3 0 .—

Straight-Time Average H ourly Earnings o f Workers in the Basic Lumber
Industry, by Region , August 1944 1

Industry branch
Basic lumber: Total............................................................
Logging camps.......................................................................
Sawmills................................................................................
Vftnftftr mills __
Plywood mills............... ......................................................
Oooperage-stock mills....................................... ................

West 8
$1.18
1.37
1.04
1.03

North»

South4

$0.73
.81
.69
.62
.62
.59

Percent
South is
of North

$0.52
.53
.51
.49
.49
.52

71
66
74
79
79
88

l Based on selected occupations. See Bulletin No. 854—Wages in the Basic Lumber Industry.
* Includes 3 Pacific Coast States and 8 States in the Rocky Mountain area.
* Includes Midwest, Great Lakes, Middle Atlantic, and New England regions.
*Includes 9 Southeastern and 4 Southwestern States.
In underground bituminous-coal mines in the fall of 1945, straighttime hourly earnings in northern and southern coal production districts
differed very little, contrary to the general pattern in many industries.9
However, in both of these regions, earnings were on the whole lower
than in the West, where less than 10 percent of the tonnage is pro­
duced. Table 31, which presents the wage data for this industry, does
not show a single rate for each region because of the difficulty of
subdividing coal production districts where boundaries crossed regional
lines. For this reason the average earnings for each of the districts
in the three regions are shown separately. It will be seen that,
although the highest southern earnings (District 7) did not exceed
the highest earnings in the North or West, several districts within
the South had averages which equaled or exceeded those in the North.
In strip mines the spread in earnings between the North and South
was noticeably greater than in underground mines. The highest
southern strip mining earnings were 12 cents below the highest
northern earnings, whereas in underground mines only a 1-cent differ­
ence separated the highest district in each of these regions. Strip
mining, it may be noted, employs approximately 18,000 workers

8 For a full report of wages in this industry, see Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bulletin No. 854—Wages in
the Basic Lumber Industry, 1944.
8A comprehensive (mimeographed) report on wages in this industry is available from the Bureau upon
request: Wage Structure of Bituminous-Goal Mines, 1945.



64

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

nationally as against more than 300,000 in underground bituminous
mines.
In brief, the pattern of geographical wage differentials in bituminouscoal mining is similar to that observed earlier, to the extent that
wages in the West are higher than in the North and South. However,
this industry varies from the general pattern, in that differences
between northern and southern underground mines are considerably
less marked.
T a b l e 3 1 .— Straight-Time Average H ourly Earnings in Bituminous-Coal M ining , by

Coal Production Districts in Three Regions, Fall 1945 1

[Number in parentheses identifies Coal Production District]
Branch

North*

South *

W est4

Underground mines. $1.12 (10) $1.11 (7) $1.21 (19)
1.09 (11) 1.10 (3) 1.18 (20)
1.08 (4) 1.07 (8) 1.15 (16)
1.07 (2) 1.05 (6) 1.09 (17)
.95 (14)
1.05 (1)
.97 (12) .91 (9)
.91 (13)
.86 (15)

Branch

North *

Strip mines_____ $1.29
1.27
1.26
1.21
1.07
.78

(10)
(2)
(11)
(4)
(1)
(12)

South *
$1.17
1.14
1.12
1.11
.96

(3)
(7)
(15)
(9)
(13)

i Average hourly earnings for each district based on a selected number of occupations.
* Coal Production Districts within the North include D istrict 1— Eastern Pennsylvania, D istrict 2—
Western Pennsylvania, D istrict 4— Ohio, D istrict 10— Illinois, D istrict U—Indiana, D istrict 12— Io w a .
3 Southern Districts include D istrict 8— Northern West Virginia, D istrict 6— Panhandle of West Virginia,
D istrict 7—Southern West Virginia, D istrict 8— Other West Virginia counties and parts of Virginia, Tennessee,
and North Carolina, D istrict 9— Counties in Kentucky, D istrict IS—Alabama, D istrict 14—parts of Oklahoma
and Arkansas, D istrict 15— Kansas and parts of Oklahoma.
* Western Districts include D istrict. 16— Northern Colorado, D istrict 17— Southern Colorado, D istrict 19—
Wyoming and Idaho, D istrict 20— Utah. For more exact delineation of district boundaries, see Wage Struc­
ture in Bituminous-Coal Mines, 1945.
Wages of southern railroad workers on class I line-haul steam
railroads are also lower than elsewhere. Straight-time hourly earn­
ings in 1944 averaged 93.5 cents in the Eastern District, 85.0 cents
in the Southern District, and 87.5 cents in the Western D istrict (for
the 93 percent of all employees in the industry, on which the Interstate
Commerce Commission gives hourly data).1 It will be observed that
0
unlike most other industries, workers on western railroads had lower
hourly earnings than Eastern D istrict workers; ia fact the wage spread
between the East and West was greater than that between the South
and West.
For the building and printing trades regional wage comparisons are
based on average union hourly rates of pay, since data are not available

10 Based »n Railway Statistics for 1944 (preliminary), Interstate Commerce Commission. The Eastern
District comprises the Great Lakes, Central Eastern, and New England States; the Western District, the
entire area west of the Mississippi, and the Southern District, all States east of the Mississippi and below
the Eastern District.
With certain minor exceptions, the basic wage rates paid to train and engine service employees have
been uniform throughout the United States since 1944. Among other railway employees, usually called
the nonoperating employees, variations in rates do exist from region to region. Generally the differentials
are less in the skilled occupations such as shop mechanics than they are in the unskilled jobs such as sectionmen and extra gangmen. In the former the regional differentials between the Eastern and Southern Dis­
tricts are about 1 cent per hour while in the latter occupations the rates in the Southern District are 8 to 10
cents per hour less than in the Eastern District. The Western District tends to pay better rates to un­
skilled occupations in the Northwest than in the Southwest.



65

WAGE DIFFERENTIALS

currently on wages paid on all types of jobs, both union and nonunion.
In table 32 these rates are shown for only two broad geographic regions
but with subdivisions within each region by size of city.
In all but the smallest cities, union rates in July 1945 were lower in
the South than in the North. In the smaller cities (40,000 to 100,000
population) journeymen in the building trades averaged the same in
both regions, while in book and job printing, union workers in the
South had higher rates than workers in the North in cities of this size.
It will also be observed that the North-South differential for skilled
journeymen in the building trades was considerably less than for the
less skilled helpers and laborers. In the largest southern cities,
journeymen's rates were 9 percent below the North while helpers and
laborers' rates were 31 percent lower. The differentials for the least
skilled jobs were less in the medium and smallest sized cities but even
here they exceeded the wage spread for the skilled job.
T a b l e 32.— Average Union H ourly Bates in the Building and Printing Trades by

Population , Group, and Region , July 1945

Cities of 250,000-600,000 Cities of 100,000-250,000 Cities of 40,000-100,000
population
population
' population
North
and
Pacific
(13
cities)

South
and
South­
west
(8
cities)

Building trades...................... $1.49
Journeymen.................... 1.58
Helpers and laborers— 1.02
Printing trades...................... 1.22
Book and job.................. 1.10
Newspapers..................... 1.48

$1.30
1.44
.70
1.20
1.08
1.35

Trade

North
and
Pacific
(18
cities)

South
and
South­
west
cities)

87 $1.38
91 1.48
69
.93
98 1.23
98 1.14
91 1.35

$1.26
1.33
.67
1.13
.96
1.28

Percent
South
is of
North

Percent
South
is of
North

North
and
Pacific
(7
cities i)

South
and Percent
South­ South
west is of
(6 North
cities i)

91 $1.31 $1.19
90 1.37 1.37
72
.89
.77
92 1.15 1.19
84 1.02 1.11
95 1.29 1.25

91
100
87
103
109
97

i In the printing trades 6 cities were covered in the North and Pacific and 5 cities in the South 'and
Southwest.
Variations in W ages at Various Skill Levels

To answer the question whether workers on the same general level
o f skill receive the same straight-time average hourly earnings in all
regions or whether there are characteristic geographical differences,
three occupations, believed to be fairly representative of the skilled,
medium skilled, and least skilled jobs in each industry, were chosen
for analysis.1 For example, for the telephone industry the jobs
1
selected were P B X installers, experienced switchboard operators, and
cable splicers' helpers; for the work-shirt industry, the jobs included*

u The choice of a single occupation to represent all skilled, semiskilled, or unskilled jobs in an industry,
of course, limits the validity of the comparison. The margin of error would have been reduced if the selec­
tion of occupations had been based on a detailed study of occupational wage relationships in each industry.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (Wage Analysis Branch) has undertaken such studies, a few of which have
already appeared in a series of mimeographed reports entitled, “Occupational Wage Relationships.”
These studies aremow available for machinery, machine-tool accessories, foundries, and electric light and
power. For purposes of the present analysis, it was necessary to choose occupations prior to a detailed
study of each industry. For this reason, the chance of error cannot be entirely dismissed.



66

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

sewing-machine repairmen, sewing-machine operators, and work dis­
tributors; for full-fashioned hosiery, single-unit knitters, toppers, and
janitors. This was done for most of the industries shown in table 28.1
2
Some industries could not be covered in this maimer because occu­
pational data were not available.
Following the procedure used previously, the regions were ranked
according to their relative level of straight-time average hourly
earnings for each occupation in each industry. The final or average
regional wage positions w ith respect to the three grades o f labor are
shown below . R ank 1 represents the highest wage level.
Skilled
job

Pacific___________________ ____________.........
M iddle A tlantic______________________ .........
Great Lakes--------------------------------------- _____
New England________________________ .........
Border S tates._______________________ _____
Southwest_________________________________
M iddle W est______________________ . . . .........
Southeast____________________________ .........

t Tied with another region for same position.

Semiskilled
job

Unskilled
job

1
2
3
*4
*4
6
7
8

1
2
3
4
5
17
6
17

1
3
2
4
5
7
6
8

The Pacific and Southeast rank highest and lowest, respectively,
on this basis, just as they did in terms of the level of wages for all
workers in each industry. The Southeast, however, was tied with
the Southwest for last position in the case of semiskilled jobs, while
New England and the Border States were found to be at the same
level with respect to skilled jobs. At the upper end of the wage scale,
the M iddle Atlantic, Great Lakes, and New England also retained
the places shown on the basis of all workers. The major change
was for the M iddle W est; although it is fifth in terms of all workers,
it has next to the lowest rates for skilled and semiskilled jobs and third
lowest in the case of unskilled jobs. The shift indicated is not too
significant since, in the ranking of regions on the basis of the over-all
averages, the Middle West preceded the Border States by a very small
margin.
The consistency with which the Southeast appeared in a low wage
position is evidenced by the fact that in more than half of the indus­
tries represented it was lowest in skilled as well as in semiskilled and
unskilled jobs.1
3

1S Owing to space limitations, it is not possible to present the detailed tables containing occupational
wage rates for the various industries in each region. This material is, however, available upon request.
i* While in none of the industries covered did skilled workers in the Southeast show the highest wage
rates in the country, in a few industries their rates were above those in New England. Thus, production
machinists in the machinery industry earned $1.06 per hour in the Southeast in January 1945 compared with
$1.02 in New England Adjusters and fixers of seamless hosiery machinery had an hourly rate of 97 cents
and 99 cents in New England and the Southeast, respectively.




w age

d if f e r e n t ia l s

67

It is clear from the above that there are characteristic regional
wage differences, whether the analysis is made on the basis of all
workers or in terms of various skill levels. The Southeast was the
lowest wage area from the viewpoint of average wages of skilled and
lesser skilled workers and, at the opposite extreme, was the Pacific
region, with the highest wages for workers at comparable levels of
skill.
WAGE SPREAD BETWEEN SKILLED AND UNSKILLED GRADES

The fact that each region has a characteristic wage position with
respect to workers at different skill levels does not necessarily mean
that the spread between wages for the highest and lowest grades of
work is uniform for all regions even in a single industry. Intra­
industry differences are affected not only by the peculiar regional
conditions governing the supply of and demand for labor but also by
the fact that products manufactured in a single industry are not uni­
form regionally, the organization of production varies in degree of
mechanization and size of operation, and these, in turn, affect the
character of the labor force. Within a single industry, also, differences
in degree of unionization and methods of wage payment influence not
only the general wage level but the relationship of wages among
occupations as well.
An analysis of straight-time average hourly earnings of the selected
skilled and unskilled job in each of the industries included in this
study revealed the following:
(1) Although in all regions the skilled job paid more than the
unskilled, the differential in each industry varied from region to
region.
(2) On the whole, the wage spread was narrowest in the highest
wage region, the Pacific, and widest in the lowest, the Southeast and
Southwest.
(3) While the Great Lakes States and New England, two other
high wage regions, also showed a narrower skilled-unskilled wage
spread than the lowest wage regions, the Middle Atlantic States,
second highest in the national wage scale, appeared to have, on the
average, as wide a differential as the southern regions but for different
reasons.
(4) In the Pacific region the comparatively narrow spread was more
the result of the relatively high level of unskilled wages than o f the
position of skilled wages.
(5) In the Middle Atlantic, the opposite situation seemed to prevail,
with earnings of skilled workers (compared to the national average
in each industry) considerably higher than those of unskilled workers.
(6) In the Southeast, the wages of both groups varied considerably
from the national average for each industry, with a somewhat larger




68

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

difference indicated by the wages of unskilled workers. It is interest­
ing to observe the opposite tendencies in cotton textiles and lumber,
the two most important industries in this region. In lumber in 1944
the differential against the South among unskilled workers was con­
siderably greater than among skilled jobs. For example, skilled
headrig sawyers in the North had only a 16-percent wage advantage
over southern workers in this group; among semiskilled edgermen, the
northern differential was 37 percent and for unskilled off-bearers the
spread was 43 percent. In cotton textiles, according to a Bureau
survey made in April-M ay 1946, the differentials against the South in
straight-time average hourly earnings for the least skilled jobs were
decidely smaller than differentials among the skilled jobs. For ex­
ample, loom fixers, maintenance carpenters, and maintenance electri­
cians earned from 13 to 31 percent more per hour in New England
than in the Southeast, whereas among unskilled filling hands, battery
hands, and scrubbers and sweepers, the New England advantage did
not exceed 8 percent and in some jobs average rates in both regions
faere identical.
Among the 26 other industries examined in the Southeast, 14 showed
that the differential between average hourly earnings in this region
and the national average was greater for the unskilled than for the
skilled job ; for the remaining 12 industries the opposite relationship
seemed to prevail. It will be observed from table 33 that all 5 garment
industries had a larger differential for skilled workers, whereas, in the
metalworking industries the spread was greatest for the unskilled.
The two branches of the hosiery industry showed different relation­
ships. In the full-fashioned branch the differential was larger for
skilled workers, while in seamless hosiery the national average was
equaled for the skilled job but fell short by 2 percent in the case of the
unskilled job.
In brief, although the difference between skilled and unskilled
wages in the Southeast was in general affected to a greater extent by
T able

3 3 .— Percent Southeast Average Straight-time H ourly Earnings A re o f United
States Averages fo r Selected Skilled and Unskilled Jobs in 26 Industries

Industry
Ferrous foundries.....................
Nonferrous foundries.............
Power laundries----------------Footwear, other than rubber.
Flootrio light and powar
Limited price variety stores..
Clothing stores
Machinery, miscellaneous___
Paperboard mills
Fabricated structural'steel__
Upholstered wood furniture..
Department stores
Power boilers
Seamless hosiery......................



Skilled Unskilled
job
job
70
71
85
86
87
89
78
89
92
93
92
96
98
100

63
70
79
85
81
88
73
69
79
72
88
77
74
98

Industry
Women’s and misses dresses..
Men’s and boys’ dress shirts.
Overall and industrial gar­
ments.....................................
W ork pants_______________
Work shirts........................... .
Sheet metal_______________
Structural clay products-----Bakeries__________________
Telephone________________
Wood furniture, not uphol­
stered__________________
Cigars____________________
Full-fashioned hosiery............

Skilled Unskilled
job
job
43
73
83
85
87
87
69
71
72
82
82
86

72
86
85
91
96
89
74
78
99
91
94
92

WAGE DIFFERENTIALS

69

the low wages of unskilled workers, in a significant number o f industries
skilled wages showed a greater deviation from the national average
than did unskilled wages. It is highly probable that the situation
observed in 1945-46 represents a considerable change from the prewar
situation because of the fact that wages of the lowest paid workers in
many industries during the war tended to rise faster than those of the
more highly skilled.
Som e Conditions A ffecting Southern W ages

The low-wage level of the South is accounted for in large measure
by the predominance of agriculture and the relatively large supply of
unskilled labor competing for jobs in comparatively few industries.
Other important factors include a large population relative to em­
ployment opportunities, decentralization of industry, comparative
lack of unionization, and limited degree of protective-labor legislation
by the States.
Changes in these underlying conditions act to alter the southern
wage level. The growth of industry, which received considerable
impetus during the war, exerts an upward pull on wages, depending
upon the interaction of such factors as the natural rate of population
increase in the South, labor displacement in agriculture, migration
out of the region, and the rapidity of southern industrial development.
The extension of unionization and the raising of the legal minimum
wage also contribute toward the establishment of a higher wage level.
The prewar 40-cent minimum wage has already been rendered obso­
lete in many industries by war and postwar wage changes, bringing
rates above this minimum.
A strong downward pull on the southern wage level may be exerted
as a result of an accelerated growth in the number of workers looking
for industrial jobs. This could be effected, for example, by a great
displacement of agricultural workers if cotton harvesting and other
farm operations were generally more mechanized.1 If such a rev­
4
olutionary technological development is not accompanied by a large
increase in the industrial and related demand for labor, the pressure
on the southern nonagricultural wage level could be considerable.
One offsetting factor, of course, would be the extent to which the size
of the southern labor force was affected by out-migration.
This brief indication of a few of the many elements that enter into
wage determination is sufficient to reveal the complexities of the
problem and the difficulties involved in anticipating what the south­
ern wage level— or that of any region—is likely to be in the future in
relation to other areas.
h See Peter F.

Dracker: Exit King Cotton (in Harper's Magazine, May 1946, pp. 473-480).




VI.— Wages in Specific Industries in the South 1
This section contains relatively brief accounts of wages in an
important group of southern industries.1
2
The detailed wage surveys on which these analyses are based were
made at various times during 1945 and 1946.3 Hence the data in
most cases are not strictly current. Nevertheless, they provide
valuable insight into the structure of wages in the South and therefore
supplement the discussion of regional wage differentials, which dealt
mainly with wage levels.
Cotton Textiles

The manufacture of cotton textiles (woven goods and yam ) is the
most important single industry in the South. Although most of the
industry is concentrated in an irregular belt extending from southern
Virginia through North and South Carolina and Georgia to central
Alabama, scattered textile mills are found in all Southern States4
except Florida.
The South has approximately 50 percent of the total employment
in the manufacture of all textile-mill products, including woolens,
rayon and other synthetics, and knit fabrics and hosiery, but has a
larger proportion in cotton textiles (80 percent) than in the related
industries.
Although the manufacture of textile products requires many clearly
differentiated operations, it is convenient to make a complete break in
the operations at only two points: A t the conclusion of the spinning
process, at which time the yarn is wound on cones or spools and can be
transported easily; or at the conclusion of the weaving or knitting
process, at which time the cloth can be transported, if necessary, to a

1 The analysis of cotton-textile wages in this section was prepared by Alan Ritter of the Bureau’s regional
office in Atlanta, Ga.; except for coal mining and railroad transportation, the remaining parts of the section
were contributed by various members of the Bureau’s Wage Analysis Branch.
2 For each of the industries summarized in the following pages (except railroad transportation), further
detail and basic tables with a description of the methods used and information for numerous other industries,
is available in a series of wage-structure bulletins. In addition, the Bureau publishes separate tabulations
by industry for the more important cities in which each industry is located. Except where otherwise
indicated, the Southeast includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina? South Carolina,
and Tennessee; and the Southwest includes Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas. Virginia, which
was included in the Southeast in the section on regional wage differentials (see p. 1) is not normally included
in the data summarized in these notes.
3 These same surveys provided much of the basic data for the analysis of wage differentials in the preceding
section.
4 For the purposes of this analysis, the Southeast includes Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina,
Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, and Alabama; the Southwest includes Mississippi, Oklahoma, Arkansas,
Louisiana, and Texas.
70




WAGES IN SPECIFIC INDUSTRIES

71

separate plant for dyeing and finishing. Individual mills may, there­
fore, consist of any of these three general divisions alone or in com­
bination. The typical southern cotton-textile mill is an integrated
establishment, combining the spinning and weaving departments.
Some of these integrated mills also have finishing departments, and
others do a limited amount of simple dyeing. The typical plant
produces a relatively standard type of cloth, such as sheetings, twills,
drills, duck, or print cloth. In lesser quantities there appear other
fabrics, such as ginghams, chambray, napped goods, gauze, or towel­
ing. Although some large establishments produce a variety of goods,
most mills have found it advantageous to limit their output to only a
few related items. A number of cotton mills are also producing
fabrics composed wholly or in part of spun rayon.
Somewhat smaller in total employment but still important are the
region’s cotton yarn (spinning) mills. These mills sell yarn to weav­
ing mills or to plants knitting seamless hosiery or underwear fabrics.
Some of the yarn mills produce combed yarn, which has gone through
an additional preparatory process that removes the shorter fibers,
making the yarn stronger and of better appearance. Combed yam s
are desirable for knit goods.
Independent weaving mills are not found in large number in the
South, being more important in certain Northern States. Such mills
usually produce the less common types of cloth, such as plush or
upholstery fabrics which may require several varieties of yarn.
There are deviations, of course, from these general classifications.
Some integrated mills do not maintain an exact balance between
spinning and weaving departments and may sell or buy yarn as a
result. The tendency toward the operation of multiple plants under
one management has resulted in the increased integration of produc­
tion under a given company, though separate processes may still be
carried on in individual establishments.
For a number of years the Bureau of Labor Statistics has made
periodic studies of wage rates and wage practices in the cotton-textile
industry. The results of the latest study, based upon an April-M ay
1946 pay-roll period, form the basis for this summary analysis.5
Data are provided in this report for three types of mills— integrated
establishments and independent yarn and independent weaving mills.
Dyeing and finishing departments connected with integrated estab­
lishments are included, but independent dyeing and finishing plants
are not included.6
6 Earlier reports covering pay-roll periods in 1941, 1943, and 1944 may be obtained from the Bureau of
Labor Statistics on request.
6 A separate study of dyeing and finishing plants was made in July 1946 and copies of the report based upon
this study may be obtained from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on request.




72

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

The 1946 survey included about one-third of the cotton-textile
mills in the South and about the same proportion of the total employ­
ment. However, since the various establishments in each of the local
areas were not sampled in the same proportion, it was necessary in
combining the data for the region as a whole to assign proper weights
in proportion to each area’s importance in the industry. All of the
figures in the tables in this report represent results after such weighting.

AVERAGE HOURLY EARNINGS
Average straight-time earnings of southern cotton-m ill workers in
April-M ay 1946 were 74 cents an hour, 27 percent above those for
April 1944, and 83 percent above the April 1941 earnings.7
The average earnings of all workers were dominated by the in­
tegrated mills, where earnings averaged 75 cents an hour. Earnings
in southeastern weaving mills were slightly above the general average
and those in yarn mills throughout the South were below it, but the
number of workers in these two types of mills was not large enough to
have an appreciable effect on the general average. M ost of the
occupations related to the initial preparation and spinning of cotton
require less skill and are paid at lower rates than those related to
weaving. The varying proportions of higher- and lower-skilled work­
ers among spinning mills, weaving mills, and integrated mills account,
therefore, for most of the differences in average earnings. However,
workers in the spinning departments of integrated mills frequently
earn more than employees in the same jobs in spinning mills.
Average earnings were higher in southeastern mills than in those
in the Southwest, owing partly to differences in products manu­
factured and partly to the fact that recent wage increases had reached
fewer southwestern mills. The over-all earnings of men workers
exceeded those of women by about 5 cents an hour. Proportionately,
more men are employed in the higher-skilled jobs, but, again, men
frequently receive more than women workers in the same jobs in all
types of mills.
Some operations in cotton-textile mills require relatively little skill
and often may be handled satisfactorily by beginners. As a result,
large numbers of workers employed in such occupations as scrubbers
and sweepers, hand truckers, roving haulers, filling haulers, and
battery hands receive rates at or only slightly above the base or
minimum rate.
During the past few years, wage adjustments have centered about
the minimum rate. The Fair Labor Standards Act, which went
into effect in" October 1938, originally set 25 cents an hour as the

7 Earnings in Cotton-Goods Manufacture During the War Years, in Monthly Labor Review, October
1044 (p. 823); and Hours and Earnings in Manufacture of Cotton Goods, September 1940 and April 1941,
in Monthly Labor Review, December 1941 (p. 1490).



WAGES IN SPECIFIC INDUSTRIES

73

minimum rate for the cotton-textile industry and provided for gradual
increases to 40 cents an hour in 1944. However, successive increases
recommended by the Textile Industry Committee established under
the act, and approved by the Administrator, raised the minimum
rate to 32.5 cents an hour in October 1939, to 37.5 cents in June 1941,
and to the 40-cent level by April 1942. During the period in which
the National War Labor Board was in operation, additional increases
in the minimum rate occurred. The rulings of the National War
Labor Board affecting the cotton-textile industry took the form of
general increases raising the minimum rate to a specified level, with
equal or graduated increases in cents to all workers above the mini­
mum. These rulings usually applied directly to only small segments
of the industry, but most of the other plants soon adjusted wages in
accordance with the rulings. This Board and its successor, the
National Wage Stabilization Board, approved increases in the mini­
mum rate to 47.5 cents8 an hour in August 1942, to 50 cents an hour
in February 1944, to 55 cents in February 1945, and to 65 cents in
January 1946. Although slightly less than half of the southeastern
mills studied reported a 65-cent minimum rate in A pril-M ay 1946,
this group included most of the larger mills and represented much
more than half of the workers.
The distribution of earnings reflects the importance of the mini­
mum rate. In the Southeast only 14 percent of the plant workers
received less than 65 cents, but the hourly earnings of almost 50 per­
cent of the workers fell within the 10-cent range from 65 cents to
74.9 cents, and two-fifths of this group were at the 65-cent rate or not
more than 2.5 cents above it. A number of southwestern mills
reported 55- and 62-cent minimum rates, however, so that about 45
percent of the workers in the Southwest were receiving less than 65
cents an hour in April-M ay 1946; 17 percent were at the 65-cent rate
or slightly above; and only about 30 percent of the workers received
rates between 65 and 75 cents an hour. The effects of the lower
minimum in the Southwest are also noted in the higher wage brackets.
In the Southeast 62.5 percent of the workers received less than 75
cents an hour compared with 77.6 percent in the Southwest; and,
similarly, 81.2 percent of the southeastern workers received less than
85 cents an hour, but 91.3 percent of those in the Southwest received
less than that amount. An hourly rate of $1 constituted the
practical upper limit for both sections, with only 4.3 percent of the

s The 47.5-cent minimum was not as generally effective as the others and many southern mills gave in­
creases of more than 2.5 cents in order to attain the 50-cent level of the next increase. See Average Hourly
Earnings of Selected Occupations in Cotton Textile Mills, Before and After Wage Increases Granted by the
Fourth Regional War Labor Board, February 3 to November 15, 1944, Atlanta Regional Office, Bureau of
Labor Statistics, Serial No. IV-22.




74

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

southeastern workers and 2.1 percent of the southwestern workers
receiving $1 or more.
A larger proportion of women than men workers were found at or
just above the minimum rate. In the Southeast, for example, 16
percent of the women workers received less than 65 cents, an hour,
and 70.7 percent received less than 75 cents; but 13.2 percent of the
men received less than 65 cents and only 57.1 percent received less
than 75 cents an hour. T o continue up the scale, only 0.9 percent of
the women received $1 or more, but 6.6 percent of the men exceeded
this rate.
o c c u pa t io n a l w a g e s t r u c t u r e

Average earnings of workers in key occupations in southern cottontextile mills were obtained in the course of the 1946 wage survey.9
On the basis of general levels of skill and earnings, these occupations
may be grouped as follows:
(1) Higher-skilled maintenance workers, including those with gen­
eral skills such as electricians, and those with particular skills such as
loom fixers. This group, whose occupational earnings averaged more
than 90 cents an hour in A pril-M ay 1946, is composed exclusively of
men workers.
(2) The lower-skilled maintenance workers such as carpenters and
card grinders, and the higher-skilled processing workers such as
weavers, slasher tenders, and certain dye-house employees, whose
occupational average rates ranged between 89 and 80 cents an hour.
A ,large number of women, employed as weavers, appear in this
group.
(3) Semiskilled processing workers, illustrated by doffers, spinners,
and winders, whose occupational earnings ranged from 79 cents down
to 69 to 70 cents.
(4) Relatively unskilled processing workers such as battery hands,
custodial workers, and the great number of workers who are engaged
in transferring goods in process,1 whose rates of pay approximated
0
or were slightly above the minimum rate and whose average earnings
did not rise above 67 to 68 cents.
As suggested above, southeastern workers generally were paid
higher rates than southwestern workers in the same occupations.
M en workers also received higher average earnings than women in
the same occupations. The average differences were not great, how­
ever, and for several occupations in the Southwest women workers
received more than men workers.

9 Detailed reports showing occupational earnings for individual areas may be obtained from the Bureau
of Labor Statistics on request.
10 Truckers, filling hands, and roving men.




WAGES IN SPECIFIC INDUSTRIES

75

Regional averages, of course, conceal the usual and significant
differences in occupational rates among individual mills, even within
the same labor market area.
In addition to differences in the rates paid to individual workers
and minor differences among mills in equipment and processes, certain
broad factors are ^generally considered to influence earnings in various
mills. The effects of three such factors—method of wage payment,
unionization, and size of establishment—may be discussed briefly in
terms of selected occupations.1 Although there are some exceptions,
1
incentive workers, within the occupations compared, received higher
average rates than time workers; union plants paid higher rates than
nonunion plants; and larger establishments paid higher rates than
smaller establishments. Moreover, integrated mills paid higher rates
than yarn mills in the occupations for which comparison was made.
Incentive wage plans (predominantly piece rates) appeared in more
than three-fourths of the mills visited and affected 36 percent of the
total number of workers. Plant-wide incentive plans are rare in the
textile industry, but certain occupations are paid almost exclusively
on a time basis and other occupations are predominantly incentive.

OCCUPATIONAL WAGE RELATIONSHIPS
In preparing material for table 34, the average earnings for each
occupation in each mill were expressed as a percentage of the average
earnings of male janitors in the respective mills. Separate computa­
tions were made for men and women workers and for time and incentive
workers in each occupation. Thus, the pattern of rates in each mill
was related to an appropriate base within the milks own rate structure,
and variations in wage levels among mills were eliminated. The
average (median) of the relatives for the key occupations studied in
the southeastern mills are presented, together with the range within
which half of the establishment relatives fell.1 No attempt was made
2
to adjust these averages to take account of differences in size among
the mills, but each establishment was given an equal weight in the
positional average. The use of the median also tends to eliminate
extreme variations caused by peculiarities in certain mills which would
tend to distort the general pattern of occupational relationships.1*
3
1

u The selected occupations are battery hands, card tenders, ring frame spinners, plain automatic loom
weavers, and box loom weavers.
12 Some occupations which appeared in only a few plants were omitted from this analysis. It was not
possible to present a similar tabulation for the Southwest because the small number of plants studied in
that region, as well as variations in product, introduced considerable instability into the occupational data.
13 A detailed discussion of occupational wage relationships will appear in a forthcoming bulletin.

738211°— 4 7 -------6




76

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

T a ble

3 4 .— Indexes

o f Wage Rates 1 fo r Selected Occupations in the Cotton-Textile
Industry,2 Southeast, A pril-M ay 1946

[Wage rates for male janitors=100]i
Wage-rate indexes
Occupation, method of wage payment,3and sex

Number of
establish­
ments

M en

Median

Middle range
within which
half of the
establish­
ments fell

Battery hands, T_........... ..........................................................
Card grinders, T................................................ ............................
Card tenders, T........ ..................................................................
Carpenters, maintenance, T__......................... ..........................
Doffers, spinning frame, T............................................................
Doffers, spinning frame, I._.......................................................... .
Electricians, maintenance, T ...........................-...........................
Filling hands, T_........... .........................................................—
Inspectors, cloth, hand, T_______ ______________ _______
Inspectors, cloth, machine, T ___________ ________________
Loom fixers, other than jacquard, T_______________ _____
Machinists, maintenance, T .........................................................
Maintenance men, general utility, T .................................... —
Mechanics, maintenance, T....................................-....................
Roving men, T ...............................................................................
Second hands, T..........................................................................
Slasher tenders, T .................................................................. ......
Slubber tenders, T...........................................................................
Slubber tenders, I............................................................................
Spinners, ring frame, I................................................................
Stock clerks, T _____ _____________ __________ ________
Truckers, hand, general, including bobbin boys, T_________
Twister tenders, T........................................................................
Twister tenders, I............................................................................
Watchmen, T..... .............................................................................
Weavers, plain automatic loom, T------------------ ---------------Weavers, plain automatic loom, I................................................
Weavers, dobby.loom, I................................................................
Winders, yarn, T................ ..................... ................................. ..
Winders, yarn, I_............................ ............................................

34
183
180
148
94
113
106
109
33
37
107
114
64
130
179
146
120
47
14 a
27
97
161
70
32
187
20
103
25
28
19

105
137
108
128
112
128
147
103
112
110
153
147
131
140
103
159
129

129
117
123
102
11
1
126
103
126
133
140
106
110

102-106
126-141
104-111
117-145
105-119
122-135
137-159
100-107
106-116
105-114
146-157
138-157
115-143
132-148
100-105
142-171
120-137
105-120
123-135
113-123
110-134
100-105
105-116
120-134
100-108
118-131
126-138
129-148
102-109
105-120

W om en

96
27
19
21
64
62
87
20
36
68
137
19
37
18
105
25
109
137

105
108
107
121
106
105
100
103
125
108
115
112
107
122
129
134
106
115

102-107
106-110
104-114
114-126
105-109
103-111
98-100
102-105
115-132
103-115
109-121
108-117
105-113
111-132
123-136
126-142
101-108
109-121

Battery hands, T___________ _______ __________________
Battery hands, I........................................................................
Doffers, spinning frames, T__...................................................
Doffers, spinning frames, I................... ........ ................................
Inspectors, cloth, hand, T _________ ________ ___________
Inspectors, cloth, machine, T .._...................................................
Janitors, T.........................................................................................
Roving men, T ....................................... .........................................
Slubber tenders, I................................................. ..........................
Spinners, ring frame, T .................................. ..............................
Spinners, ring frame, I............................ ......................................
Stock clerks, T............................................................................... .
Twister tenders, T...........................................................................
Twister tenders, I____.....................................................................
Weavers, plain automatic loom, I_.......................................... .
Weavers, dobby loom, I..................................................................
Winders, yarn, T..............................................................................
Winders, yarn, I..................................................................... ........

11
1

i Excluding premium pay for overtime and shift work.
* Including integrated, yarn, and specialized weaving mills—200 establishments.
« T=time, and I* incentive, method of wage payment.
WAGE PRACTICES
Increasing attention has been paid during recent years to certain
practices which affect gross income of the workers but which do not
appear in the wage scales. A t the time of this study 151 of the 222



77

WAGES IN SPECIFIC INDUSTRIES

establishments visited in the South reported paid vacations of 1 week
after 1 year of service. Similarly, 101 plants reported insurance or
pension plans applicable to plant workers. About nine-tenths of
the plans included life insurance and about one-half included some form
of health insurance. In addition to the average hourly earnings
presented in this report, approximately one-fourth of the plants
visited reported the payment of some type of nonproduction bonus,
predominantly Christmas bonuses. If the total amount of such
nonproduction bonuses was averaged over all plant workers in the
industry, approximately 0.3 cent would be added to the average
earnings.
T

able

3 5 .—-General

Wage Increases in Cotton Textiles, in Southeastern Areas,1 A pril—
M ay 1946 to Aug. 15, 1946, Averaged Over A ll Workers Studied

Area

Charlotte, N. C...........................
Statesville, N. C._......................
Winston-Salem, N. C.................
Other areas, North Carolina___
Greenville-Spartanburg, S. C._
Laurens-Greenwood-Newberry, S. C................................
Gaffney-York-Chester-Union,
S. C ..........................................
Other areas, South Carolina.

Hourly wage
increase

Area

Average Percent­
amount age
C ents

7.8
8.1
6.6
6.3
8.1
7.9
8.2
7.4

10.6
10.8
8.6
7.3
10.9
10.5
11.9
10.3

Augusta. Ga.-Aiken, S. C..........
Gainesville-Athens, Ga..............
Northwest Georgia......................
West Central Georgia.................
Other areas, Georgia...................
Anniston-Talladega-Gadsden,
Ala . ...
East Central Alabama...............
Other areas, Alabama________

Hourly wage
increase
Average Percent­
amount age
C ents

7.3
7.6
7.1
8.1
7.4
3.8
8.0
7.9

9.9
10.4
9.9
11.3
10.1
5.0
10.7
11.0

i Similar information is not available for the Southwest.
RECENT WAGE CHANGES
Subsequent to the A pril-M ay 1946 pay-roll period covered in the
Bureau’s last complete survey of the cotton-textile industry, a large
proportion of the textile mills granted wage increases. M ost of these
adjustments were in the form of a general increase of 8 cents an hour,
raising the minimum rate to 73 cents. A large number of these in­
creases became effective in late July or early August. A brief resurvey
of the mills included in the original survey was made to determine the
increases that had occurred between April-M ay and August 15 (table
35).
Adjustments of the occupational wage data by the factor presented
in this table will not normally result in the same average hourly
earnings as would be obtained by a completely new field survey since
it does not take into account other factors affecting earnings. Such
factors as changes in output of incentive workers, different rates of
turn-over, and employment shifts among plants are not included in
the general wage changes.




78

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

Additional plants have made wage adjustments since August.
Average hourly earnings (including overtime) for the United States
as a whole for the cotton-textile industry rose from 80.3 cents in
July 1946 to 87.5 cents in August, reflecting the general increase of
8 cents. These average earnings rose further to 88.8 cents an hour
in September and to 89.2 cents in October 1946. These latter changes
indicate that the general increase has been extended to other plants,
rather than imply continued increases in plants which had reported
raises prior to August 15.
H osiery

The hosiery industry is composed broadly of two branches—
full-fashioned and seamless. A relatively wide differential in wage
level exists between these two branches of the industry, reflecting
dissimilarities in manufacturing processes, skill requirements of the
labor force, location, unionization, and other factors.
Women’s full-fashioned hosiery, produced on costly and complicated
knitting machines, was made principally from silk before the war.
Rayon was the wartime substitute. Since September 1945, nylon has
been available in increasing quantities and three-fifths of the fullfashioned mills studied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in January
1946 reported nylon hosiery as their major product. This proportion
probably will increase and, to some extent, affect wage levels.
Seamless (circular knit) hosiery mills use cotton yarns predomi­
nantly, and are engaged largely in the manufacture of men’s and
children’s hosiery, although some women’s hosiery is also produced.

FULL-FASHIONED HOSIERY
In January 1946, plant workers in full-fashioned hosiery mills in
the Southeast averaged 88 cents an hour, exclusive of premium pay for
overtime and night work. The corresponding average for workers in
the Middle Atlantic States was $1.08; plant workers nationally
averaged 97 cents. Approximately a third of the southeastern workers
had straight-time average hourly earnings of less than 65 cents as
compared with approximately 16 percent in the Middle Atlantic
States.
Occupational earnings of men in the Southeast ranged from 56 cents
an hour (straight time) for watchmen to $1.58 for one category
of knitters. The largest group of knitters numerically (single-unit
and backrackM averaged $1.28. M en’s earnings in the Middle
)
Atlantic States ranged from a straight-time average of 59 cents for
watchmen to $2.06 for a comparatively small group of footers.

14 Backrack knitter operates a legger machine with a backrack attachment that permits, knitting the
complete stocking in one operation.




WAGES IN SPECIFIC INDUSTRIES

79

Single-unit and backrack knitters in the Middle Atlantic States
averaged $1.62.
Among women employees in the Southeast, earnings ranged from
48 cents for inexperienced loopers, toe and heel, to $1.06 for single­
unit knitters; the corresponding averages in the Middle Atlantic
States were 61 cents and $1.44. In terms of employment, the most
important occupations for women were seamers and toppers. Women
averaged 73 cents and 70 cents, respectively, in these occupations in
the Southeast and 92 cents and 94 cents in the Middle Atlantic States.
Wages were slightly higher, on the whole, in union as compared
with nonunion mills. M ore striking differences were apparent, how­
ever, when mills were grouped by size and by size of community;
wages tended to vary directly with size of plant and size of community.
The most usual weekly work schedule in January 1946 was 40 hours.
Extra-shift operation was reported by a majority of the mills; a
differential generally of 5 cents was paid to second-shift workers in
about half the mills operating on a multishift basis. Insurance and
pension plans were more prevalent in the Southeast than in the
Middle Atlantic region, while paid vacations were more common in
the latter area.

SEAMLESS HOSIERY
In the seamless branch of the industry, the straight-time average
hourly earnings of plant workers in the Southeast were 62 cents in
January 1946. This figure compares with 67 cents in the Middle
Atlantic States, 57 cents in the Border States,1 and 63 cents in the
6
Nation as a whole. About 63 percent of the workers in the Southeast
received less than 65 cents and hour; the corresponding percentages
for the Middle Atlantic and Border States were 52 and 78, respectively.
In contrast with the full-fashioned branch, a comparatively small
proportion of the workers in seamless hosiery had straight-time
earnings of $1 or more.
Women predominate in the seamless industry. Their average
earnings by occupation in the Southeast in January 1946 ranged from
44 cents an hour for loopers with less than 1 year of experience and
46 cents for janitors to 65 cents for automatic knitters. Occupational
earnings were generally somewhat lower in the Border States and
somewhat higher in the Middle Atlantic. For men in the Southeast,
earnings by occupation ranged from 53 cents for watchmen to 99
cents for knitting machine adjusters and fixers with more than 4
years of experience.
Union organization was considerably less extensive in seamless
than in full-fashioned hosiery, but the wage advantage of union

18 Includes Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and West Virginia,




80

LABOR IN TH E SOUTH

workers was somewhat greater. Earnings for both men and women
tended to be highest in the largest mills and in the medium-sized
cities.
The workweek in seamless hosiery in January 1946 was typically
40 hours. Although a m ajority of the mills operated more than one
shift at this time, shift differential pay was infrequent. Less than
half of the seamless mills granted vacations with pay to plant workers
or had instituted sickness- or life-insurance benefit plans.
W ood Furniture

Straight-time hourly earnings of plant workers in establishments
making wood and upholstered furniture in October 1945 averaged 60
cents in the Southeast region and 64 cents in the Southwest, compared
with the national average of 76 cents an hour. In those plants pri­
marily manufacturing wood furniture, hourly earnings of plant
workers were 56 and 60 cents in the Southeast and Southwest,
respectively, while the earnings of upholstered furniture workers in
these regions averaged 73 and 80 cents hourly.
While the earnings of plant workers ranged upward from under 40
cents to more than $1.80 in wood furniture plants, and ta more than
$2.80 in upholstered furniture plants, the m ajority of the workers had
comparatively low hourly earnings. In wood furniture plants, nearly
80 percent of the workers in the Southeast and over 70 percent of
those in the Southwest earned less than 65 cents an hour; in upholstered
furniture the corresponding proportions in these regions were over 50
percent and over 33 percent of the plant force. Minimum entrance
and job rates in these regions were mainly 40 to 50 cents an hour.
The earnings of men frequently were substantially higher than those
of women with comparable work duties. In upholstered furniture,
for example, a study of seven jobs in which both men and women
were employed in the Southeast in important numbers showed that
men’s earnings exceeded those of women in the same jobs by 5 to 125
percent.
Hourly earnings of men plant workers in those southern cities in
which wood furniture production was most important, WinstonSalem-High Point, M organton-Lenoir, and Hickory-Statesville, were
60, 66, and 59 cents, respectively; the corresponding averages for
upholstered furniture in Winston-Salem-High Point and H ickoryStatesville were 83 and 72 cents an hour. The earnings of women in
these areas were significantly below those of men.
In southern wood furniture the higher earnings were generally found
in plants with 51 or more employees, but in upholstered furniture
small plants reported the higher pay levels. Considering size of
community, upholstered furniture plants in areas with 100,000 or



WAGES IN SPECIFIC INDUSTRIES

81

more population paid rates about 10 percent higher; in wood furniture
manufacture, workers in smaller communities enjoyed an advantage
of about 5 percent. No differences in hourly earnings attributable
to unionization were found in either region or in either type of furniture
manufacture. In the Southeast, incentive workers whose pay varied
with individual or group output earned about 9 and 64 percent more,
respectively, than time workers in wood and upholstered furniture
establishments. In wood furniture the proportions of the labor force
paid on an incentive basis were 8 percent in the Southeast and 15
percent in the Southwest; in upholstered furniture in these regions
the corresponding proportions were 42 and 36 percent. M ost of the
plans provided for individual piece rates.
The m ajority of the Southeast wood furniture plants and Southwest
upholstered furniture plants provided for determination of wage rates
on an individual basis, the m ajority in the remaining groups had
formal rate structures providing for single rates or a range of rates for
each job.
Except for upholstered furniture in the Southeast, the greater
number of plants scheduled 44 or more hours per week for first-shift
workers. However, very few workers were employed on later shifts
and few o f these received extra pay for such work. None of the
establishments studied reported paid lunch periods for first-shift
workers.
Nonproduction bonuses, usually granted at Christmas, were com­
paratively frequently reported in the Southeast but added only
a half cent to the average hourly earnings of plant ^workers; such
bonuses were less common in the Southwest.
Formal provisions for paid vacations, though commonly granted
to office workers, were infrequent for plant workers. The most
usual provisions offered 1 week’s vacation with pay. Only one
upholstered furniture plant offered paid sick leave, and only office
workers benefited. About a third of the plants in the Southeast
had life- or health-insurance provisions, such plans were infrequent in
the Southwest. N o retirement pension plans were reported.
Tobacco Products

Cigar manufacturing workers in the Southeast, constituting about
40 percent of the N ation’s cigar employment, averaged 75 cents per
hour in January 1946. The corresponding figure for the country as
a whole was 2 cents less. Southern women, who outnumbered men
2 to 1 in the industry, exactly equaled the 69-cent national average
for their sex. These favorable comparisons, insofar as the region is
concerned, were primarily attributable to the relatively large pro­
portion of workers engaged in making cigars by hand as contrasted



82

labor in

the

south

to the proportion in other regions where machine methods were
predominant. Hand workers require a greater degree of skill than
those working on machines and consequently command higher wage
scales. Illustrative of the interplay of wages and method of production
are the “ hand” occupations of bunch making and rolling, which
included well over half of the male labor force in the South and whose
average earnings of $1.00 and 82 cents, respectively, influenced the
southern over-all average for men to a great degree. Nationally, men
workers in these two occupations amounted to only about a third of
their total in the industry. Because of the large proportion of workers
in these occupations in the Southeast, the averages for the country
as a whole were the same as those quoted for the region. In most
of the other selected occupations studied, the national averages
exceeded those of the Southeast. The Southwest region, which had
only about 3 percent of the industry’s workers, had the lowest regional
average in the country— 52 cents. Differences in quality of product,
combined with a very small proportion of men workers, probably
accounted for a great deal of this variation.
Tampa, Fla., is not only the leading southern cigar manufacturing
center, insofar as employment is concerned, but also exceeds every
other city in the country in this respect. The over-all average earnings
for Tampa cigar workers (86 cents) exceeded the regional average for
the Southeast by 11 cents and the national average by 13 cents.
Tampa women, as a group, bettered the regional and national figures
for their sex by 13 cents. Furthermore, on an occupational basis,
the averages for Tampa women exceeded the corresponding national
averages in most of the cases.
The cigarette industry is concentrated almost exclusively in the
States of Virginia, North Carolina, and Kentucky. Plant workers
in this industry, numbering somewhat less than 30,000, earned
approximately 80 cents an hour on the average, with men averaging
about 85 cents and women, slightly more numerous, 75 cents. Two
of the main centers of production, Richmond, Va., and Louisville,
K y., had respective over-all average earnings for plant workers of
83 and 74 cents. Richmond men exceeded those in Louisville by
only 4 cents but there was a 10-cent difference in the over-all earnings
for women.
The third and least important tobacco industry, measured by em­
ployment, is the production of chewing and smoking tobacco and
snuff. Slightly less than a third of the industry’s total estimated
employment of about 7,200 workers is located in the Southern States.
These southern workers earned about 63 cents an hour, on the average,
in January 1946, or about 8 cents an hour less than the national
average. Men in the South received 66 cents and women 60 cents.




WAGES IN SPECIFIC INDUSTRIES

83

The respective averages for the country as a whole were 77 and 66
cents. In only 1 of the 12 jobs for which comparisons were made did
the earnings of southern-men exceed the respective national average.
Women’s earnings in the South equaled the figure for the country as
a whole in but 1 out of 10 jobs.
Workers engaged in the manufacture of tobacco products received
specific benefits which supplemented their wages. Four out of
every 7 cigar manufacturing establishments, 10 of the 12 cigarette
plants, and 6 of the 7 chewing and smoking tobacco plants in the
South granted vacations with pay to their employees. One week’s
vacation was typical in the cigar industry, a two-week’s vacation was
awarded in all but one cigarette plant, while the chewing and smoking
tobacco establishments were equally divided between the two vacation
periods. Two-thirds of the cigarette plants had health insurance
and/or pension plans. However, only a small proportion of the
plants in the other two branches granted this type of benefit to their
workers.

,

P u lp , P aper and Paperboard In du stry

More than one-fifth of the pulp, paper, and paperboard workers
in the United States were employed in southeastern and southwestern
mills during 1945. The two regions combined- produced over 4
million tons of wood pulp and about 4 million tons of paper and paperboard, which represented 42 percent of the pulp and 23 percent of
the paper and paperboard produced in the United States for the
year.1 While data for 1946 are not complete, indications are that
6
both production and employment will be substantially higher than
for 1945, and it is anticipated that the industry in the South will
continue to expand as rapidly as equipment becomes available.
Straight-time hourly earnings for all workers in pulp and paper
mills averaged 82 cents in the Southwest and 80 cents in the Southeast
region, according to a wage survey conducted by the Bureau in
October 1945. These averages were in line with the 82-cent average
for the United States as a whole and with those for the Middle Atlantic
and Great Lakes regions. Both southern regions exceeded the
average of 78 cents in New England and of 73 cents in the Border
States, but were surpassed by the Pacific region with $1.03. The
proportion of workers in pulp and paper mills earning below 65 cents
and $1.00 or above were 37 and 21 percent in the Southeast and 31 and
22 percent in the Southwest, respectively, compared with 15 and 17
percent for the country as a whole. Hourly averages for paperboard
mill workers in the Southeast region 1 were 77 cents, with 45 percent*
7
1

16 Source: U. S. Bureau of the Census.
17 The Southwest is omitted because of insufficient paperboard mills to justify presentation of averages,
but is included in the averages for the country as a whole.



84

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

of the workers earning less than 65 cents and 17 percent $1.00 or
more, compared with 18 and 19 percent earning below and above these
amounts for the country as a whole; the national average was 83
cents an hour. Some regional variations not measured by the survey
may be attributable to type of paper or paperboard produced.
Earnings of workers in skilled maintenance and in a number of
skilled processing occupations tended to be slightly higher for the
Southeast and Southwest regions than for the United States as a
whole in pulp and paper mills. In the various skilled maintenance
occupations, for example, hourly earnings ranged from $1.13 to
$1.25 in the Southeast and $1.22 to $1.32 in the Southwest, compared
with a range of 99 cents to $1.11 in national averages. Skilled stock
preparers averaged $1.17 and $1.16 for the Southeast and Southwest
and $1.15 for the United States. Working foremen in processing
departments earned $1.15 and $1.22, respectively, in the two southern
regions and $1.06 in the country as a whole.
A comparison of earnings in skilled occupations in the two southern
regions with those in New England, where earnings were generally
considerably lower, clearly reflects the more recent development of
the industry in the South with the advantage of modern, wider and
higher-speed machines. While these demand greater skill and re­
sponsibility of the machine tending and maintenance crews, they
also result in higher productivity per worker. Differences in machines
are apparent from a comparison of New England paper machine
tenders with those of the Southeast and Southwest by machine
widths and speeds. In the former region only about one-seventh
were tending machines with screens over 150 inches in width and/or
operating more than 700 feet per minute, while in the latter two
regions combined over two-thirds were tending machines of this type.
In all regions, hourly rates of machine crews appeared to be related to
machine width and speed in the pulp and paper branch; the same
relationship did not exist in the paperboard segment.
Women in the industry in the southern region represented about
the same proportion as the 1 out of 8 plant workers reported for the
country as a whole. Differences in earnings of men plant workers
compared with women workers were somewhat wider than the 29percent favorable differential for men in pulp and paper mills of the
United States, but corresponded closely to the national picture of 22
percent for paperboard mills. As was true for the industry as a whole
only a few women were found in skilled occupations and these were
confined almost entirely to such work as inspection and paper testing.
Weekly pay of many workers was supplemented by overtime
earnings and by shift differential payments. A scheduled workweek
of 48 hours for both men and women was reported by about three-




WAGES IN SPECIFIC INDUSTRIES

85

fourths of both the pulp and paper mills and the paperboard mills
of the two southern regions at the time of the survey. Furthermore,
approximately two-thirds of the establishments studied in these two
regions paid shift differentials, generally 4 cents to second-shift and
6 cents to third-shift workers in addition to the first-shift hourly rates.
About six-sevenths of the pulp and paper mills and two-thirds of
the paperboard mills studied in the two southern regions had union
agreements, which were somewhat higher than the national average
proportion for pulp and paper mills and about the same as that for
paperboard mills. In general, however, unionization was more preva­
lent in the larger mills, which had a high representation in the southern
regions.
Nearly all mills studied in the two southern regions granted paid
vacations of 1 week to plant workers and generally 2 weeks to office
workers. Almost all plants also had some type of insurance plan
for both plant and office workers. Life insurance plans were most
common, though some type of health insurance plan was also provided
by half the establishments studied in these two regions.
Ferrous and N onferrous Foundries

Workers in independent foundries comprised one of the largest
groups of metalworking employees in the South. In January 1945
these foundry workers numbered about 8,300 and their straight-time
hourly earnings averaged 74 cents, compared with $1.01 for the country
as a whole.
Average hourly earnings tended to be higher in the Southwest-—
where three-fifths of these southern foundry workers were employed
in January 1945— than in the Southeast. About a third of the ferrous
foundry workers and about a fifth of the nonferrous foundry-workers
earned less than 65 cents in the Southwest, whereas about half of
the foundry employees in the Southeast earned less than this amount.
The minimum entrance rate for common labor in foundries was most
frequently reported as 50 cents in the Southeast and 50 to 60 cents in
the Southwest.
Some of the widest variations in average rates among the two
regions occurred in molders’ earnings. In ferrous foundries, rates of
bench molders were $1.05 in the Southwest, about 35 percent higher
than the corresponding rates in the Southeast, and the average for
floor molders was $1.07 in the former region and 93 cents in the latter.
M ost of the molders in nonferrous foundries were producing castings
by machine; the average for machine molders for the Southwest was
about a fifth above that for the Southeast— $1.27 compared with
$1.06. Among the lower-paid jobs, the averages for shake-out men




86

LABOB IN T H E SOUTH

in the Southeast were 55 cents in ferrous and 58 cents in nonferrous
foundries; comparable averages in the Southwest were 60 and 66
cents, respectively.
In general, workers on nonferrous metals, who accounted for only
1 out of every 8 foundry workers in the South, received higher average
hourly rates than employees in establishments casting ferrous metals.
Approximately a third of the ferrous foundries and half of the
nonferrous foundries were unionized. Workers in these unionized
plants averaged 5 to 10 percent higher than those in nonunionized
foundries. Practically all workers in southern foundries were paid
on a time basis, although in the country as a whole over a fifth of the
workers worked under incentive systems.
A t the time of the survey, straight-time hourly earnings of southern
foundry workers were appreciably supplemented by premium pay
for overtime but not by extra pay for night work. M ore than threefifths of the foundries had scheduled workweeks of 48 hours or more.
One-third of the ferrous foundries in the Southwest and one-fourth
of those in the Southeast operated two or more shifts but less than
haIf of these establishments provided extra pay (typically 5 cents an
hour) for this late-shift work. Extra-shift operations were uncommon
in nonferrous foundries.
Bonus payments, such as Christmas bonuses, not directly related
to the output of individual workers or groups of workers were impor­
tant in individual plants^ but when averaged over all foundry workers
in the region, they had little effect on average hourly earnings. In
southwestern ferrous foundries, where they were highest, these pay­
ments increased the average plant w orkers hourly earnings by only
a half cent.
Paid vacations for plant workers with a year of service, typically
1 week in length, were provided by one-third of the foundries in the
South. Provision for insurance or pensions were fairly common
although not as widespread as paid vacation plans; practically all
such plans provided for life insurance.
Southern Electric Light and Pow er System s

In July 1945, over 60 privately owned light and power systems
supplied electric power and transportation, gas, or other allied services
to consumers in the Southeast and Southwest. The production and
distribution of electricity engaged approximately 24,000 workers in
plant and office; about 10,000 more were employed in the subsidiary
operations, largely in the Southeast. Southeast systems, although
fewer in number, were considerably larger on the average than those
in the Southwest and, in total, employed more workers.




WAGES IN SPECIFIC INDUSTRIES

87

A study in July 1945 of electric light and power workers in repre­
sentative systems showed that m en1 in maintenance, operating, and
8
custodial jobs averaged 87 cents an hour in the Southeast and 89
cents in the Southwest, as compared with an industry average of
$1.04. About a fifth of the men in each region earned less than 65
cents an hour, but a greater proportion of Southwest fight and power
workers earned $1.20 or more (13 percent of the men in the Southwest
as against 5 percent in the Southeast).
Occupation by occupation, men generally averaged higher earnings
in the Southwest than in the Southeast. For example, journeymen
linemen earned $1.09 an hour in the former region as against $1.04
in the latter, district representatives $1.07 and 93 cents, boiler oper­
ators 96 and 93 cents. In a few occupations, however, the advantage
was in favor of the Southeast.
On the other hand, wage rates of women office workers were higher
in the Southeast than in the Southwest. General clerks earned 71
cents an hour in the Southeast and 59 cents in the Southwest; the
averages for accounting clerks were 81 and 73 cents, respectively;
and those for class A stenographers, 87 and 81 cents.
An examination of system wage scales to determine the prevailing
ranking of occupations and the differentials between occupations,
percentagewise rather than in terms of cents per hour, showed that
the wage pattern of the southern systems differed significantly from
that for the industry as a whole. The spread between occupational
rates was considerably wider in the South than nationally. The
lesser-skilled jobs occupied lower positions, relative to other occupa­
tions, in Southern wage scales when compared with the industry­
wide pattern; the higher-skilled, on the other hand, held a greater
percentage advantage over other occupations in the South than was
found nationally. A simplified but representative illustration of
these significant features of southern wage scales is afforded by con­
trasting the spread between selected occupations at distintly different
wage levels. Thus, in the South, maintenance electricians, a highwage group, were paid approximately 23 percent more than substation
operators; for the industry as a whole, the advantage amounted to
16 percent. Groundmen, a relatively low-wage group, were paid
only 70 percent of the rates for substation operators in southern fight
and power systems, as against 79 percent nationally. Illustrating
another significant aspect of southern wage practices is the fact that
office occupations were rated markedly higher, relative to nonoffice
jobs, in southern wage scales than in the industry-wide pattern.
The practices of southern light and power systems with regard to
related or fringe wage issues can be briefly summarized. Although

18 Few women were employed in nonoffice jobs.



88

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

round-the-clock operation is an industry-wide characteristic, none of
the southern systems— and only about a fourth of all systems studied—
paid premiums for night work. In about half of the Southern systems
studied, the scheduled workweek for first-shift workers was 40 hours;
in the rest, more than 40 hours of work was scheduled. Although
paid vacations were almost universally offered to light and power
plant and office workers, vacation policy of southern systems was more
liberal than general industry practice; four out of every five southern
systems granted 2-week vacations to their labor force. Formal pro­
visions for paid sick leave were found in almost all the southeastern
systems and in less than half of the southwestern systems. Insurance
or pension plans paid for in whole or in part by the company were set
up in almost all southern systems; nonproduction bonuses, on the
other hand, were not common.
W arehousing and Storage

Plant workers in warehousing and storage establishments in south­
eastern cities of at least 100,000 population averaged 57 cents an
hour on a straight-time basis in July 1945, 30 cents below the national
level for the industry but only 3 cents less than plant workers earned
in southwestern cities at that time. Miami, Fla., with an average
of 78 cents for all plant occupations ranked highest among nine south­
eastern cities and Charlotte, N. C., the lowest (51 cents). In six
southwestern cities, earnings ranged from 56 cents in San Antonio,
Tex., to 72 cents in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Okla.
In each group of cities, 90 percent of the plant workers received less
than 75 cents an hour in contrast to 22 percent for the country as a
whole. The relatively few higher-paid southern workers included
maintenance mechanics, checkers, and working foremen. Handlers
and stackers, who accounted for a third of all plant workers in south­
eastern cities, averaged 53 cents an hour. In the next two numerically
important occupations studied by the Bureau, truck drivers7 helpers
received the same earnings as handlers and stackers, whereas truck
drivers earned 60 cents. For comparable work, wage earners in
southwestern cities had only a 1- or 2-cent advantage in hourly pay
over the southeastern workers.
Undoubtedly, unionization has had a more direct effect on wage
levels in the southwestern cities, where 44 percent of the plant workers
as compared to 26 percent in the Southeast were employed in union
establishments in July 1945. Earnings of union workers in the
Southwest either matched nonunion pay levels or bettered them by
1 to 11 cents per hour in 11 key occupations that could be compared.
In southeastern cities, however, nonunion workers received higher
hourly rates (4 or 7 cents more per hour) in 3 out of 7 comparable jobs.



WAGES IN SPECIFIC INDUSTRIES

89

Because of the heavy nature of work involved in moving and storing
goods, men dominate the plant labor force. Their typical workweek
exceeded 40 hours; in southeastern cities 35 out of 67 plants had a
workweek o f 44 to 48 hours, but in southwestern cities 25 out o f 53
establishments surveyed scheduled men to work over 52 hours a week.
Paid vacations have become a fairly widespread practice in recent
years and in both the southeastern and southwestern cities two-fifths
of the establishments had such a policy, offering usually 1 week with
pay after 1 year o f service. Insurance or pension plans for plant
workers were less prevalent in the Southeast, where only 5 plants had
such provisions; but 21 out of 53 southwestern establishments had
some type of plan, most frequently life insurance. Over two-fifths
of the southeastern plants as compared to about one-third of those
located in southwestern cities gave their workers a nonproduction
bonus, usually at Christmas.
Retail Stores

In April 1945, large southern cities of 100,000 or more population
employed some 52,000 (or over 10 percent) of the country’s depart­
ment and men’s and women’s clothing store employees, and maintained
more than 15 percent of all such establishments (with 8 or more
workers) in communities of comparable size. The Southeast and
Southwest regions combined, including all cities regardless o f size,
accounted for almost twice this proportion (20 percent) of the limitedprice variety store workers, who were employed in almost 30 percent
of the country’s 5- and 10-cent stores over the minimum size, many
of which are affiliated with national chains.
Although none of the characteristic features o f these retail estab­
lishments is peculiar to the South, interesting variations in wage
structure were disclosed within that broad economic area. Union­
ization, while not extensive in any of these industries throughout the
country, was particularly rare in the South. Here, as elsewhere in
the Nation, department, clothing, and limited-price variety store
workers were predominately women, who, for the most part, were
employed in selling jobs that require little or no training or experience.
Owing to seasonal factors, part-time work assumes an importance
equaled in few other industries.
According to the Bureau’s studies, department and clothing store
workers (excluding office and executive personnel) in large southern
cities earned, on the average, 57 and 61 cents an hour, respectively,
in the Southeast and 65 and 70 cents in the Southwest in April 1945.
Limited-price variety store employees (in all-sized cities) averaged
33 and 34 cents in the respective regions, with over one-third o f the




90

LABOR IN TH E SOUTH

workers receiving less than 30 cents an hour and only 1 percent
earning 65 cents or more.
Percentage distribution of department and clothing store workers’
earnings disclosed a wide rate range— less than 25 cents an hour to
over $2—with proportionately more clothing than department store
workers at the high earnings levels. Moreover, 18 to 39 percent of
the men in both branches as against 5 to 9 percent of the women
earned at least $1 an hour; in department and clothing stores, respec­
tively, men earned over one-third and about one-half more per hour
than women.
In general, occupational earnings varied between the two regions
in the same manner as over-all earnings did; however, in several
important jobs, workers in the Southeast earned more. Notable
among these were furniture salesmen who, as the highest-paid men
in department stores, averaged $1.65 an hour in the Southeast and
$1.34 in the Southwest. Similarly, men selling men’s suits, coats,
and pants in clothing stores, the most important men’s job numer­
ically, as well as the highest-paying, averaged $1.53 in the Southeast
and 9 percent less in the Southwest. Women in the two types of
stores were most numerous in departments selling women’s dresses and
coats, averaging from 84 to 90 cents an hour in the South as a whole;
a few relatively unimportant selling departments among those studied
paid more. Part-time saleswomen in dress and coat departments
averaged substantially less than the full-time clerks; in one instance—
clothing stores in the Southeast— they earned just half as much.
Nationally, the earnings difference in part-time and full-time work
was roughly 20 percent in favor of the latter.
Variety store salesgirls, most numerous and perhaps least skilled
o f all retail clerks studied, averaged 34 and 35 cents for full-time
work in the Southeast and Southwest, respectively. Part-time
workers, accounting for over half of the total in this job, earned 5 to 6
cents an hour less. Section supervisors averaged the m ost.
Non-selling workers in the three types of stores were most numer­
ous, in janitorial, stockwork, and cashiering jobs and earned some­
what less than other store workers, including office personnel.
Among 9 large southern cities (100,000 or more population), the
level of earnings for department store employees (excluding office and
executive personnel) in the highest-wage city was about 20 cents
greater than in the lowest-wage city; the range in wage level, by
city, in clothing stores was 26 cents and in limited price variety stores
7 cents. Dallas and Houston were, with one exception, the highest
paying. The former paid workers in department stores an hourly
average of 70 cents; in clothing stores, 68 cents; and in limited-price
variety stores, 42 cents. In like order, Houston retail store workers
received 65 (Birmingham paid 66), 75, and 42 cents an hour. Tampa



WAGES IN SPECIFIC INDUSTRIES

91

and Knoxville were lowest. Among the smaller cities where 5- and
10-cent stores were covered, M iam i paid the most— 44 cents— and
Nashville the least— 33 cents an hour
The Bureau’s study further revealed that among limited-price
variety stores, earnings were higher in the larger communities than in
the medium- or small-sized cities, and in the three groups of stores the
size of the establishment (as measured by employment) showed a
similar relationship to wage levels. Extreme variations in earnings
by method of wage payment were apparent in many selling occupa­
tions in department and clothing stores, but were less evident in
limited-price variety stores where less than 5 percent of the store
workers were paid on an incentive basis as compared to over a third in
the other two branches. Nationally, incentive workers’ earnings
in the latter establishments Were estimated to be about 35 to 40
percent higher than those of time workers.
The lowest rates paid to qualified workers in each establishment
varied little from minimum entrance rates, and in department and
clothing stores were concentrated for the most part between 30 and 45
cents an hour; most of the variety stores with established minima
had rates falling between 25 and 40 cents. Forty-eight hours per
week was the most frequently reported work schedule; however,
longer or shorter hours were fairly common. A substantial number
of variety stores scheduled men to work 54 hours and over, particularly
in the Southwest.
Nonproduction bonuses (generally paid at Christmas) were paid to
department store workers in a m ajority of the establishments studied.
The practice was equally widespread among clothing and limited-price
variety stores but the bonus tended to be somewhat smaller.
M ost of the southern stores provided vacations with pay after 1 year
of service; 1 week was most common, with office workers occasionally
receiving 2 weeks. Paid sick leave was uncommon among department
and clothing stores, but was frequently reported by limited-price
variety stores. Two weeks was the most common period allowed
in the Southwest variety stores, and 3 weeks in the Southeast.
Of all the establishments, department stores participated most
extensively in plans for insurance or pensions for their employees;
life insurance was the plan most widely adopted in these as well as in
the clothing and variety stores providing such benefits.
Coal M in in g

The Southern States produce all types of coal except anthracite and
subbituminous. Semianthracite is mined in Virginia and Arkansas;
low-volatile bituminous, or semibituminous or smokeless coal, in
Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, and Oklahoma; and high-volatile
738211°— 47------7




92

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

bituminous, in nearly all of the southern coal-producing States.
Lignite, the lowest grade of coal, is produced mainly outside of the
Southern States, although the Texas seams are mainly lignite.
The wide distribution of coal resources in the South, combined with
the wide range of types of coal, gives to the Southern States a favorable
basis for industrial development. The proximity of coking coal in
Alabama to abundant iron ores and fluxing materials gives to the
Birmingham area an advantage enjoyed by no other region in the
country. The down-grade haul of coal to tidewater and cheap
coastal transportation facilities vastly broaden the marketing area
of southern Appalachian coals. There are exceptional possibilities of
by-product industries from the volatile coals of the South.
United States Bureau of Mines figures indicate that the Southern
States (excluding West Virginia and Maryland) produced about 18
percent of all coal, including anthracite, in 1944, the proportion rising
from -about 17 percent in 1939. The States producing more than 1
percent were Kentucky (10.4 percent), Virginia (2.9), Alabama
(2.7), and Tennessee (1.1). Output in Texas, which produces lignite,
fell from 826,000 tons in 1939 to 109,000 tons in 1944.
The output per man per day, as computed by the United States
Bureau of Mines for bituminous-coal for the country as a whole,
averaged 5.67 tons in 1944. The average for Kentucky was 5.08
tons; for Oklahoma, 4.92; for Virginia, 4.08; for Tennessee, 4.02;
for Arkansas, 3.53; and for Alabama, 3.03. The average for the
country as a whole is raised somewhat by the relatively high averages
for strip mines and for lignite. There is relatively little strip mining
in the South, and southern lignite is limited mainly to Texas. Recent
advances in mechanization have placed the South on a basis not
radically different from other mining areas. In Kentucky, for
example, only 3.2 percent of underground production was mined by
hand in 1944, in Virginia 2.6 percent, in Alabama 2.1 percent, and in
Tennessee 6.6 percent, as compared with 5 percent in the country as
a whole.
Employment in bituminous-coal mining in the South (as defined in
this connection) averaged more than 100,000 production workers in
1944. Approximately half of these were in Kentucky; Alabama
employed about 22,000; Virginia, about 16,000; Tennessee, about
7,000; and Arkansas and Oklahoma each, between 2,000 and 3,000.
The wages of bituminous-coal miners, as of other groups, have
traditionally been lower in the South than in the country as a whole.
In 1936, the national average of hourly earnings was $0,733, in con­
trast to $0,543 in Alabama. The following tabulation shows the
averages o f leading Southern States in descending order, together




93

WAGES IN SPECIFIC INDUSTRIES

with those of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Utah (which had the
highest average), and the national average:
Average hourly
earnings, 1936

Kentucky.
Virginia. _
Oklahoma
Arkansas _
Tennessee

.

.
.
.
.

$ 0 ,7 1 9
. 679
. 659
. 635
. 631

Average hourly
earnings

, 1936

Alabama____
West Virginia
Pennsylvania.
Utah________
United States.

$0. 543
.8 0 1
. 799
—
. 955
...
. 733
...

Average hourly earnings, even when there is little premium pay
for overtime, reflect imperfectly the regional differences in basic
occupational rates. The occupational differentials were narrowed
from time to time and notably by the wage agreement of 1941. Under
that agreement, certain basic day occupations, such as drivers, brakemen, trackmen, and timbermen, received $1.00 per hour in both the
Northern and the Southern Appalachian districts of the UM W A and
in several other districts. In a few of the western districts the rate
was higher; in southern districts outside of the Appalachian territories,
as defined for collective bargaining, the rate was lower: in Tennessee,
$0,945; in western Kentucky, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, $0,857; in
Alabama, $0,821. Rates below $1.00 were also paid in Iowa and
Missouri. The removal of the wage differentials between the North­
ern and Southern Appalachian districts in 1941 applied only to day
rates; tonnage differentials remained.
Differences in straight-time hourly earnings of certain occupational
groups in the fall of 1945 are shown in table 36. The figures are
available only for producing districts as defined by the Bituminous
Coal Act of 1937, but they indicate approximately the averages in
the South as compared with those of western Pennsylvania, a highwage Western district (Utah), and the country as a whole.
The averages as given in the table were raised by the increase of
18.5 cents in basic rates made by the 1946 agreement. On a percentage
basis, the relatively low southern averages were raised more than the
higher averages in other areas.
The averages in the accompanying table include unorganized as well
as union mines. The extent of unionization declined in the twenties,
especially in the South, but under the National Industrial Recovery
Act and the National Labor Relations Act, most of the workers were
organized and the unions (primarily the UM W A) obtained collective
agreements for substantially all of the workers except in some of the
smaller mines. Late in 1941 the union shop was extended to “ captive”
mines—mines operated by companies, such as steel corporations,
which use most of the coal instead of marketing it. Operators of
“ commercial” mines had earlier accepted the union shop.




94
T

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

able

3 6 .—

Straight-Time H ourly Earnings in Selected Occupations in Bituminous-Coal
M ining, Fall 1945

[Source: TJ. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Wage Structure Series 2, No. 12, Bituminous Coal Mines, 1945,
table 6]
District number (under Bituminous Coal Act)
14

8

Occupation

(Eastern
Ken­
(Ala­
United
tucky,
bama,
States
south­ (Western Georgia,
(Western
and
Pennsyl­ eastern Ken­ south­
West
vania) Virginia, tucky) eastern
and
Tennesadjacent
areas)1

20

(Arkan­
sas and
part of (Utah)
Okla­
homa)

Underground mines

Car dumpers, outside...... ........
Electricians, maintenance:
Inside...................................
Outside...............................
Loaders, hand, inside, incen­
tive..........................................
Miners, pick, inside, incentive.
Slate pickers, outside________
Trackmen, inside___________

$0.99
1.21

1.17
1.06
1.03
.95

$1.03
1.28
1.27
1.04
1.14

1.00

1.00

1.64
.97
1.03

1.82
.97
1.05

$1.01
1.22

1.17
1.08
.91
.96

1.00

$0.83
1.04

$0.82
1.06

.84
.99
.83
.87

1.07
.88
.80
.87

1.51

$1.13

1.38
.84

1.01

$0.91

1.02
1.00

.91
.91

1.30

T02

Strip mines

Power-shovel operators...........
Slate pickers_______________
Truck and tractor operators ...

.88

i District 8 includes southeastern West Virginia bpt wage rates were substantially uniform throughout
the district and for day workers were for the most part the same as in Districts 1 to 7 (the other Appalachian
areas). The average earnings, especially of incentive workers, vary with local conditions. The tonnage
rates of loaders, for example, are highe r in district 2 than in district 8, but straight-time hourly earnings are
somewhat higher in district 8 because of conditions which make possible the loading of more coal per hour.
Railroad Transportation

M ore than 300,000 employees were engaged in the provision of
railroad transportation in the 13 southern States in September 1945.1
9
Kailway employees are divided into two broad groups, operating
and nonoperating. The so-called operating employees include those
who actually man and run the trains, such as conductors, engineers,
and brakemen. The nonoperating employees embrace all other
workers in the railway industry, such as sectionmen, clerks, shopmen,
signalmen, and telegraphers. About three out of every four railway
workers fall in this nonoperating group.
Prior to 1943 there were slight differentials between the basic daily
wage rates paid to operating employees in the East and in the South.2
0
The rates in the South were 4 to 7 cents less than those paid in the
East; the West usually paid about the same as the South. Through *

w Monthly Labor Review, May 1946 (p. 754).
As defined by the Interstate Commerce Commission, the Southern District is the area south of the
Potomac and Ohio Rivers and east of the Mississippi River. The Eastern District is set off from the West­
ern District by a line drawn from Chicago to St. Louis and then down the Mississippi River to the point
where it is joined by the Ohio River.



WAGES IN SPECIFIC INDUSTRIES

95

agreements signed during 1943 and 1944 between the carriers and the
railway labor organizations, the basic daily wage rates for operating
employees were almost completely standardized throughout the
United States. As a consequence, the rates in the South today are
the same as they are in the East.
An illustration of the change which took place during the 1943-44
period may be found in the case of an engineer handling an engine
with 200,000 to 250,000 pounds weight on drivers in passenger service.
As of April 1, 1943, this engineer received a basic daily wage rate of
$8.49 in the East and $8.42 in the South and West. By December 1,
1944, this 7-cent differential had been eliminated and wage rates had
been adjusted upward so that the same engineer received the same
basic daily wage rate ($8.89) anywhere in the United States. Since
that time all operating employees have received an increase of $1.48 in
their basic daily wage rates under agreements signed on M ay 25, 1946.
Thus, today the engineer used in the above example would be receiving
$10.37 per basic day.
As regards the nonoperating employees? there is far less standardiza­
tion of wage rates throughout the United States. This group of
workers are paid on the basis of hourly rates, while the operating
employees are paid on a dual basis of pay (i. e., they earn their basic
daily wage whenever they work a certain number of hours or rim a
certain number of miles, whichever occurs first).
For the most part, there is a tendency for the wage rates paid to the
skilled occupations within the non-operating group to be closer to
uniformity than is the case in the less-skilled categories. As a conse­
quence, between the South and the East there are greater differentials
in wage rates paid the less-skilled workers. For example, the pre­
dominant rate in the South and West paid to extra gangmen is 75%
cents per hour, whereas in the East the predominant rate is 83 %
cents per hour. The term “ predominant rate” means the rate paid
to the largest percentage of workers.
Section men also fall in the less-skilled class of nonoperating
employees. Their predominant rate in the South and West is 75%
cents per hour, as compared with 85% cents in the East.
By contrast there is very little variation in the hourly rates paid to
shop mechanics, who are members of highly skilled crafts. Shop
mechanics include blacksmiths, boilermakers, electricians, machinists,
sheetmetal workers, and carmen. The predominant rate for shop
mechanics in the South is $1.22% cents per hour as compared with
$1.23% in the East and the West. Thus, in this skilled group there
is only a 1-cent differential but in the less-skilled categories, the
differential between the South or West and the East is 8 to 10 cents
per hour.




VII.— The Fair Labor Standards Act and the South1
The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 has as its objective the
elimination “ in industries engaged in commerce or in the production
of goods for commerce, of labor conditions detrimental to the main­
tenance of the minimum standard o f living necessary for health,
efficiency, and general well-being of workers . . . without sub­
stantially curtailing employment or earning power.” Specifically,
the act seeks to protect workers engaged in interstate commerce by
fixing a minimum level of wages, and establishing a maximum work­
week beyond which overtime compensation is required. In addition,
provision is made for the elimination of oppressive child-labor
conditions.
W ith adoption of this legislation the Nation endorsed the general
principle that there are minimum labor standards to which workers
are entitled as a matter of social policy. Today the bitter contro­
versy which preceded the passage of the act is history and there is
widespread agreement on the desirability of minimum-wage and
maximum-hours requirements. Currently, attention centers on pro­
posals to liberalize the minimum wage provisions of the act and to
extend its coverage. That a minimum-wage for workers should be
guaranteed by law is no longer seriously questioned.
Because wages in the South at the time of the passage of the act
were relatively low, as compared with wages in other geographical
regions, southern workers as a group benefited particularly from the
wage provisions of the act. At the same time, the economic impact
of the act, at the outset, was felt particularly by southern industries.
Information is not available to appraise in precise terms the effect
of the act upon workers and industry in the South. Long before the
time specified by the act for the implementation of the 40-cent
minimum wage, other factors were exercising an upward pull on the
general wage level. The effect of defense and war production upon
employment and wage levels after the spring of 1941 substantially
minimized the economic significance of the legally established mini­
mum. For most covered industries in the South, as elsewhere,
minimum rates substantially above the level required by law were
voluntarily established. On the basis of available information,
however, an effort is made to appraise the significance of the act for
the South, following a review of its major provisions.

1 Prepared by Mary N. Hilton of the Bureau’s Labor Economics Staff.
96



FAIR STANDARDS LABOR ACT

97

The Provisions o f the F air Labor Standards A ct

The Fair Labor Standards Act, as approved on June 25, 1938,
established minimum-wage and maximum-hours requirements appli­
cable to all employees engaged in interstate commerce or in the
production of goods for interstate commerce, with certain specific
exemptions. T o implement these provisions, the act provided for the
creation within the Department of Labor of a Wage and Hour
Division which is under the direction of an Administrator appointed
by the President, by and with the consent of the Senate.
The act established a legal minimum wage of 40 cents an hour after
October 23, 1945, and set up a basic schedule for the gradual achieve­
ment of this goal. This schedule required payment of 25 cents an
hour from October 24, 1938, to October 23, 1939, and 30 cents an
hour from October 24, 1939, to October 23, 1945.
The basic schedule for the implementation of the 40-cent minimum
over a period of 7 years represented, in effect, the minimum statutory
requirement. W ith a view to achieving the 40-cent objective as
rapidly as was economically feasible, provision was made for the
appointment of tripartite industry committees who could recommend
for individual industries a minimum higher than that specified in
the schedule, but not in excess of 40 cents.2 The effect of this provi­
sion was to make the institution in any industry of a minimum rate
in excess of 30 cents during the period from October 1939 to October
1945 contingent upon the recommendation of an industry committee
representing labor, industry, and the public. Actually, through the
action of industry committees the 40-cent minimum wage for all
covered employees in the continental United States was achieved
late in July 1944, over a year in advance of the date when it would
have become effective automatically under the act.
The hours provisions of the act establish a maximum workweek
beyond which payment at time and a half the regular rate is required.
The maximum workweek schedule set up by the act provided for a
44-hour workweek from October 24, 1938, to October 23, 1939, a
42-hour workweek from October 24, 1939, to October 23, 1940, and
a 40-hour workweek thereafter.
The child labor provisions of the act make it illegal to ship or
deliver for shipment in commerce any goods produced in an establish­
ment employing “ oppressive child labor.” Oppressive child labor
is defined as the employment of any person under the age of 16, or
between the ages of 16 and 18 in any occupation found and by order
declared to be particularly hazardous for the employment of children*

* For a discussion of the working of the industry committees see Minimum Wage Fixing Under the United
States Fair Labor Standards Act, by Harry Weiss, in International Labour Review, January 194$.



98

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

between such ages or detrimental to their health or well-being.
The administration of the child labor provisions of the act rests
with the chief of the U. S. Children’s Bureau.
The Im portance o f the W age and H our Provisions
to Southern Workers

The economic situation has undergone marked changes since the
Fair Labor Standards A ct was enacted over 8 years ago. The wage
provisions of the act do not have the same economic significance today
that they had in 1938. During the war years the hours provisions
took on a new meaning. Consequently, the act needs to be viewed
in historical perspective.
A t the time the act was passed a substantial proportion of the
Nation’s labor force was unemployed and the earnings of many who
were employed stood at low levels. Viewed against this background
the broad social objectives of the Fair Labor Standards A ct at the
time of its passage are clear. Its most important purpose was to
assure workers engaged in interstate commerce a reasonable minimum
level of wages and to protect workers from excessively long hours
of labor. A t the same time, it sought through the minimum wage
provisions to increase purchasing power and through the overtime
pay requirement to create additional employment opportunities.
The minimum wage provisions had immediate importance in terms
of higher wage rates for many workers. In view of the fact that a
substantially greater proportion of southern workers were earning
less than the minimum wage than were workers in any other part
of the Nation, the act had particular significance for southern workers
in terms of the immediate wage increases which it required.
The only available estimate regarding the total number of workers
whose wages were immediately affected by the act relates to April
1939 and the probable impact of the 30-cent miniimim.3 This infor­
mation indicates that a total of 411,200 workers, or 18 percent of all
southern workers covered by the act, were receiving less than 30 cents
in the spring of 1939 (6 months prior to the effective date for the estab­
lishment of the 30-cent statutory minimum) as compared with
approximately 3 percent for the remainder of the country. The 13
Southern States accounted for over 50 percent of all covered workers
receiving less than 30 cents per hour as of that date.
Data affording some indication of the immediate significance of
the 25- and 30-cent minima to unskilled workers in the South and

3 Bureau of Labor Statistics: Estimated Number of Workers in April 1939, Subject to Provisions of the
Ffur Labor Standards Act Effective October 24, 1939. (Mimeographed report.) Washington, 1939,




99

FAIR STANDARDS LABOR ACT
T a b le 37.— Distribution o f Workers Receiving Less Than 30 Cents an Hour,

A ll Industries, A pril 1939

[Source: Department of Labor, Report of the Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division for 1939]
Region or State
Total, all States.___ ___________________ __________
All States except Southern States...................................
Total, Southern States.........................................................
Alabama..........................................................................
Arkansas_________________________________ ...
Florida______________________________________
Georgia________________________ ________ _____
Kentucky.................... ........................................... ......
Louisiana________ ____________________ ______
Mississippi_____ _____ _______________________
North Carolina_______________________________
Oklahoma______________________________ _____
South Carolina._____ ________________________
Tennessee____________________________________
Texas_______________________________________
Virginia----------------- ------------------------- ------------

Estimated
number of
workers
subject to
FLSA
112,652,700
10,367,300
2,285,400
173,300
66,600
102,700
215,000
181,500
136,500
71,400
322,200
104,600
156,200
212,000
330,000
213,400

Workers recei ving less than
30 cents an hour
Estimated
number
2 690,000
278,800
411,200
38,200
17,100
23,800
57,000
13,500
22,600
26,000
60,600
5,700
41,400
43,200
35,500
26,600

Percent of
covered
employees
5.5
2.7
18.0
22.0
25.7
23.2
26.5
7.4
16.6
36.4
18.8
5.4
26.5
20.4
10.8
12.5

1 The United States total includes 41,000 covered employees of mail-order houses. These employees are
not included in the State figures. The United States total also includes a roughly estimated total of 11,000
covered employees in the Territories of Alaska and Hawaii.
2 Does not include homeworkers, longshoremen, and employees of mail-order houses.
Southwest4 are also available. This information, which relates to
average hourly entrance rates for adult male common laborers in
July 1938 and July 1939, shows that in July 1938 the average hourly
entrance rate for 13 percent of the adult male common laborers in
the South and Southwest was under 25 cents as compared to less than
a tenth of 1 percent for the North and West.
By July 1939, following the establishment of the 25-cent minimum,
the percentage below 25 cents for the South and Southwest amounted
to less than a half of 1 percent while 34.6 percent were receiving less
than 30 cents an hour.5
The information summarized above provides an indication of the
importance, in terms of the number o f workers affected, of the 25-cent
minimum wage of 1938 and the 30-cent minimum of 1939 to wage
earners in the South. Comparable information is not available
regarding the number of workers who received direct pay increases as
a result of wage orders establishing minimum wages above 30 cents
an hour. The 40-cent minimum was reached at varying times in
different industries and in some instances involved a succession of*

4 The South and Southwest region includes the following States: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida,
Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina,
Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
* Entrance Rates of Common Laborers in July 1939, in Monthly Labor Review, December 1939.




100

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

intermediate steps. In the case of cotton textiles, for example, three
steps were required. For the Nation as a whole, an estimated 1,600,
000 workers received direct pay increases as a result of 40-cent wage
orders, while the total number of all wage increases resulting directly
from the issuance of wage orders is estimated at nearly 2,700,000.6
In addition, many other workers who were earning more than the
established minimum received indirect pay increases as a result of the
wage orders.
Today the 40-cent legal minimum applies to all workers covered by
the minimum wage provisions of the act, except, in some industries,
to workers classified as learners, apprentices, or handicapped. Indeed,
as has been pointed out, this goal was achieved more than a year in
advance of the October 24, 1945, deadline set by the act. In marked
contrast with the early years of the act, the legal minimum is presently
of relatively minor significance as a positive factor in the determina­
tion of wage rates. For most industries and areas, prevailing mini­
mum rates are well above the 40-cent hourly rate required by law.
In this connection if is of interest to consider the experience of the
National War Labor Board, the agency which administered the wage
stabilization program during the war years. One of the few grounds
on which the Board could approve or order wage increases was the
elimination of substandards of living. The Board at the outset
approached the question of the rate that could be approved on the
substandard criterion on a case by case basis. As experience accu­
mulated, however, the Board found it desirable to establish a definite
substandard rate up to which increases could be made without Board
approval. The details of the development of this policy will not be
traced here. The significant fact to be noted is that during the period
from 1943 through 1945 the Board gradually raised its substandard
minimum from 40 cents per hour to 55 cents per hour. Subsequently,
the National Wage Stabilization Board 7 early in 1946 increased the
substandard minimum to 65 cents.
The substandard minima established by the War Labor Board must
be carefully distinguished from the minimum wage provisions of the
Fair Labor Standards Act. The payment of the 40-cent minimum
set forth in the act is now compulsory for the employees covered;
the substandard minima established by the War Labor Board were
permissive. Employers could raise wages up to the substandard
level but were not required to do so. In dispute cases involving
substandards of living, the Board proceeded largely on a case-bycase basis in determining the appropriate minimum rate.

6 U. S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour and Public Contracts Divisions, Annual Report for the
Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1944.
7 Successor agency to the National War Labor Board.




FAIR STANDARDS LABOR ACT

101

The practical result of the War Labor Board’s substandard policy
was a widespread upward movement in prevailing minimum rates
in industries and areas where existing rates were below the substandard
minimum established by the Board. In the Board’s southern region,8
in particular, the substandard criteria provided an important basis
for wage increases. In many plants the common labor rate was
raised from the neighborhood of 40 cents an hour to 55 cents or more
under the stabilization program.
The history of the substandard policy of the War Labor Board con­
tributes to an understanding of the waning significance of the legal
minimum during the period when stabilization of wages was the es­
tablished Government policy. The increases permitted under the
Board’s substandard policy, together with post VJ-day wage-rate
advances, have greatly reduced the importance of the legal minimum
as an economic factor influencing the minimum wage level.
As indicated earlier, Congress in enacting the Fair Labor Standards
A ct sought to protect workers from wage rates so low that they would
not provide a reasonable minimum standard of living. The 40-cent
minimum which would provide an annual wage of $832 at full time—
40 hours a week for 52 weeks—was considered the best* approximation
to this goal that was practicable in the light of economic conditions in
1938. Even if this amount were considered adequate to meet the
minimum cost of living at prices which existed at that time, it is clear
that the statutory minimum does not at the present time serve to
protect workers from substandards of living. The rise in the cost of
living alone as measured by the Bureau’s consumers’ price index would
require a minimum of approximately 60 cents as of November 1946
as the equivalent of the 1938 objective.
As early as 1944 the Administrator of the Wage and Hour and
Public Contracts Divisions of the United States Department of Labor
recommended “ that the Congress consider raising the limit of the
wage which the industry committee may recommend to some higher
figure than 40 cents.” 9 When Congress in 1945 had under considera­
tion a bill to amend the Fair Labor Standards A ct to permit an im­
mediate upward revision of the statutory minimum to 65 cents, with
an ultimate adjustment to 75 cents, the Department of Labor favored
the adoption of these provisions.
Econom ic E ffect o f the W age Provisions on Southern Industries

In the foregoing section attention was focused upon the importance
of the Fair Labor Standards Act to southern workers in terms of the

8 The region included the following States: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi,
South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
«U. S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour and Public Contracts Divisions, Annual Report for the
Fiscal Year Ended June 30,1944 (p. 9.).



102

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

number who benefited as a result of the establishment of a legal mini­
mum wage. A question of equal importance concerns the economic
consequences of the wage provisions of the act to southern industries.
The establishment of a legal minimum wage represents both a social
and an economic judgment concerning the lowest wage for which labor
should be hired. An economically sound minimum wage level benefits
not only employees but industry and the economy as a whole. Ex­
perience reveals that a properly established minimum wage tends to
increase the productive capacity of workers as a result of the improve­
ments in physical well-being and morale that higher wages make
possible. Moreover, the imposition of a legal minimum wage may
serve to stimulate improvements in managerial efficiency and to give
impetus to the introduction of technological improvements that serve
to enhance labor output. Substantial increases in productivity thus
may result from lifting the wages of the workers at the low end of the
wage scale. From the standpoint of the economy as a whole, the
establishment of a minimum wage level is also beneficial to the extent
that aggregate purchasing power in the hands of employees is increased.
An indication of the economic impact of the Fair Labor Standards
A ct on wages and employment in the South for the period 1938-41—
that is, for the period prior to the great changes in wage and employ­
ment levels caused by the demands of the defense program and of the
war— is provided by studies which have been made of particular
industries.
Early wage orders under the Fair Labor Standards A ct established
a minimum rate of 32% cents an hour for a number of relatively lowwage industries, including seamless hosiery, cotton textiles, and men’s
cotton garments.1 1 Table 38 is designed to throw light on what hap­
0
pened to the general level of wages and the wage structures of these
industries in the South following the effective date of these orders.
The earnings data presented in table 38 for each of the two periods
shown relate to identical plants in the seamless hosiery and men’s
cotton garment industries, and the data for the two periods in the
cotton goods industry are generally comparable. For both cotton
textiles and seamless hosiery, wage studies were made by the Bureau
of Labor Statistics just prior to the effective date of the Fair Labor
Standards Act, and again in the fall of 1940, approximately a year
after the 32%-cent wage orders had been issued.1 For men’s cotton
1
garments, detailed wage data are available for the spring of 1939, when

10 The term “men’s cotton garment industries” as used in this discussion includes two industry groups:
dress and sport shirts, collars and nightwear; and cotton pants, overalls, and work shirts.
11 See Monthly Labor Review, June 1941, Earnings in Seamless-Hosiery Industry Under 32.5-Cent Mini­
mum Wage; and December 1941, Hours and Earnings in Manufacture of Cotton Goods, September 1940
and April 1941.




FAIR STANDARDS LABOR ACT

103

T a b l e 38.— Percentage. Distribution o f Workers in Specified Industries in the South,

by Average Hourly Earnings fo r Selected Periods

[Source: U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics]
Seamless hosiery
Average hourly earnings
Under 32.5 cents............................................
32.5 and under 35.0 cents..............................
35.0 and under 37.5 cents..............................
37.5 and under 40.0 cents..............................
40.0 and under 42.5 cents..............................
42.5 and under 47.5 cents..............................
47.5 and under 52.5 cents..............................
52.5 and under 57.5 cents..............................
57.5 and under 62.5 cents..............................
62.5 and under 67.5 cents..............................
67.5 and under 72.5 cents.............................
72.5 and under 77.5 cents..............................
77.5 and under 82.5 cents..............................
82.5 and under 87.5 cents.............................
87.5 and under 92.5 cents.. ...........................
92.5 and under 100.0 cents..........................
100.0 cents and over....... ...............................
Total.....................................................
Average hourly earnings..............................

Cotton goods

Men’s cotton gar­
ments

Septem­ Septem­ August Septem­ Spring
ber 1938 b e r ^
1938 ber 1940 1939
57.4
8.4
7.4
5.5
4.9
6.0
3.5
2.0
1.2
1.2
.7
.6
.4
.1
.3
.2
.2
100.0
$0,331

3.9
35.7
14.3
10.6
8.5
11.1
6.5
3.4
1.5
1.5
.7
.7
.4
.2
.5
.2
.3
100.0
$0,402

44.2
14.5
10.3
7.1
5.7
8.4
5.5
2.6
.9
.4
.2
.1
.1
0)
0)
1
(0
100.0
$0,348

1.3
47.4
12.6
9.1
6.9
9.7
6.6
3.6
1.6
.6
.2
.2
.1
.1
0)
0)
0)
100.0
$0,385

73.6
6.0
5.2
5.2
2.5
3.5
1.8
.8
.5
.3
.3
.1
.1
0) .1
0)
(0
100.0
$0,307

Spring
1941
2.9
48.8
8.5
20.9
4.8
6.6
2.9
1.3
1.1
.7
.5
.4
.1
.1
.2
.1
.1
100.0
$0,372

i Less than a tenth of 1 percent.
the 25-cent statutory rate was in effect, and for the spring of 1941,
about 9 months after 32%-cent wage orders were made effective in
these industries.1
2
It is clear that the establishment of the 32%-cent minimum exercis­
ed a decisive influence on the wage structures of these industries.
Immediately prior to the effective date of the Fair Labor Standards
A ct considerably over half (57.4 percent) of the seamless hosiery
workers in the South and over two-fifths (44.2 percent) of the cotton
goods workers were earning less than 32 % cents an hour. In the spring
of 1939 with the 25-cent statutory rate in effect, almost three-fourths
(73.6 percent) of the men's cotton garment employees had averaged
hourly earnings of less than 32% cents.
The effect of the wage orders was to compress the lower segments
of the old wage structures, with the result that customary differentials
in the lower wage brackets often were not maintained. Thus, in
the seamless-hosiery industry in September 1940 over a third of the
workers were earning between 32% and 35 cents an hour, while almost
half of the cotton-goods workers were found in the same interval.
Similarly, in the men's cotton garment industries about half of the
12

1941.

See Monthly Labor Review, August 1942, Earnings in the Men’s Cotton-Garment Industries, 1939 and




104

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

workers were in this wage bracket in the spring of 1941. Small pro­
portions of the workers in each industry were earning less than 32%
cents an hour. M ost of these workers were employed at subminimum
rates under the terms of learner or handicapped worker certificates.
A t the same time the wage adjustments which occurred were more
extensive than can be accounted for solely by the raising of the lowest
paid workers to 32% cents. For example, in each of the industries the
proportion of workers earning 40 cents an hour or more increased
appreciably after the introduction of the 32%-cent minimum. In
seamless hosiery, the proportion of workers earning 40 cents an hour
or more increased from 21.3 percent in September 1938 to 35.5 percent
after the introduction of the 32%-cent minimum.
B y September 1940, average hourly earnings in the seamless
hosiery industry had increased by 21 percent and in cotton goods by 11
percent over the levels prevailing just prior to the effective date of
the act. B y the spring of 1941, wages in the men’s cotton-garment
industries were 21 percent above the average for the spring of 1939
when the 25-ceut minimum was in effect. The extent of this latter
increase is partially accounted for by the fact that over the. 2-year
period the volume of public contracts, for which a 37%-cent or 40-cent
minimum wage was fixed, increased substantially.
Some information is also available on the employment experience
in these industries in the South, following the establishment of the
32%-cent minimum, and is summarized in table 39.
T a b l e 39.— Changes in Employment in Identical Plants in Specified Industries in the

South fo r Selected Periods

{Source: U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics]
Number of workers
Industry

Seamless hosiery

1938
13,<431
1939

Men's cotton garments ____ __

Dress and sport shirts, collars, and neck­
wear............................ .................... ..............
Cotton pants, overalls, and work shirts.........

8,597
2,901
5,696

1940
12,689
1941
9,741
2,890
6,851

Changes in employment
Number

Percent

1938 to 1940
—742

-5.52

1939 to 1941
+1,144
-11
+1,155

+13.3
- .4
+20.3

Employment in 61 identical seamless-hosiery establishments in
the South surveyed in both 1938 and 1940 fell from 13,431 to 12,689.
Analysis of changes in employment by plant wage groups indicates
that it was among the low-wage plants (those with plant average
hourly earnings of less than 32% cents prior to the effective date of



FAIR STANDARDS LABOR ACT

105

the Pair Labor Standards A ct) that worker displacement occurred.
Such plants were apparently forced to make the most drastic changes
in machinery and methods in adjusting to the legal minimum. On
the other hand, those plants in the South with plant average hourly
earnings o f more than 32K cents in 1938 employed 1.1 percent more
workers in 1940.1
3
In the men’s cotton garment industries, employment in 14 identical
plants in the dress-shirt industry in the South remained practically
unchanged between the spring of 1939 and the spring o f 1941. In
the work-clothing industry, employment in the South increased by 20
percent during the same period. In both of these industries, the
stimulus of the defense program was being widely felt by the spring of
1941.
A study of separations of subminimum workers in the cottongarment industry in the South between March 1939 and March 1941
indicates that for the 2-year period 29.7 percent of the workers earning
less than 30 cents an hour in the spring of 1939 were separated as
compared to 26.4 percent of the workers earning over 30 cents. The
conclusion is that “ the earnings of the workers exercised a constant
though moderate influence on separations.” 1
4
In the cotton-goods industry no data on employment changes in
identical establishments have been tabulated for this period.
In general, the available evidence regarding the impact of the
3 2 % -c e n t minimum on wages and employment in the seamless-hosiery,
the cotton-goods, and the men’s cotton-garment industries in the
South indicates that wage adjustments somewhat more extensive
than those required to raise subminimum wages to the minimum were
made without any substantial adverse effect on employment.
There were, of course, other types of adjustments concerning which
little information is obtainable. Undoubtedly the establishment of
minimum wage standards resulted, in many firms, in managerial
effort to increase labor efficiency and in the introduction of tech­
nological improvements.
E ffect o f the H ours Provisions on Southern Industries

The hours provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act, by requiring
the payment of time and a half for covered employees for weekly hours
in excess of 44 during the first year of the act, 42 during the second
year, and 40 hours thereafter, were designed to discourage the exis­
tence of a longer workweek. The act reflected the generally accepted

MU. 8. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, Minimum Wages in the Seamless-Hosiery
Industry (mimeographed, April 1941).
w Effects of a Minimum Wage in Cotton-Garment Industry 1939-41, in Monthly Labor Review, February
1942 (p. 327). Reprinted as Serial No. R. 1415.



LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

106

view that a maximum workweek of not more than 40 hours was socially
desirable, and that its widespread adoption would tend to increase
employment.
Available information regarding the impact of the hours provisions
upon southern industry is very limited. As of April 1939, 6 months
prior to the effective date for the 42-hour workweek, it was estimated
that of the 2,285,400 southern workers subject to the provisions of
the Fair Labor Standards Act, 560,100 or 24.5 percent were working
more than 42 hours per week. Of those persons who were working
more than 42 hours, 420,400 workers or 75.1 percent were receiving
less than time and a half for hours worked in excess of 42.
T a b l e 4 0 .— Distribution o f Workers Covered by FLSA Working M ore Than 42 Hours,
and Workers N ot Receiving Time and a H a lf fo r Hours Worked Over 42, A pril 1939

[Source: First Annual Report of the Administrator of the Wage and Hour Division, 1939]
Workers with work­
week of over 42 hours

Region and State

Estimated
number
of workers
subject
to FLSA Estimated
number

Total, all States. ............................................ 112,652,700 2 2,382,500
All States except Southern States.............. . 10,367,300 1,822,400
560,100
Total, Southern States................................. 2,285,400
45,100
Alabama.................................................... 173,300
66,600
Arkansas...................................................
20,500
102, 700
33,600
Florida................................................. .
55,700
Georgia...................................................... 215,000
Kentucky.................................................
181, 500
28,700
136,500
31,600
Louisiana-----------------------------------22, 700
Mississippi___________ ___________
71,400
71,100
North Carolina........................................ 322,200
Oklahoma................................................
104,600
20,500
South Carolina.......................................
156,200
25,700
212,000
59,400
Tennessee........•_.......................................
102,100
Texas. .....................................................
330,000
Virginia................................................... 213,400
43,400

Workers receiving less
than time and a half
for hours worked over
42

Percent
Percent
of total
of total Estimated working
subject number over 42
to FLSA
hours
18.8 3 1,663,500
17.6 1,243,100
24.5
420,400
26.0 ! 38,000
30.8
14,500
32.7
23,800
25.9
46,700
15.8
22,200
23.2
22,300
31.8
19,100
22.1
56,000
19.6
11,800
16.5
19,600
28.0
49,500
30.9
66,500
20.3
30,400

69.8
68.2
75.1
84.3
70.7
70.8
83.8
77.4
70.6
84.1
78.8
57.6
76.3
83.3
65.1
70.0

1Includes 41,000 covered employees in mail-order houses, not included in State figures, and a roughly esti­
mated total of 11,000 covered employees in the Territories of Alaska and Hawaii.
2 Does not include homeworkers, longshoremen, or covered employees in the Territories.
3 Does not include homeworkers, longshoremen, and covered employees in mail-order houses and in the
Territories.
It will be noted from table 40 that the impact of the overtime re­
quirement in relation to the 42-hour week was not markedly greater
in the South than in all other States combined.
W ith the coming of the war and the urgent necessity for the produc­
tion of war goods, the overtime provisions of the act ceased to serve
their peacetime purpose of discouraging work beyond 40 hours a week
and operated instead to enable war industries, in which production
needs required the establishment of a longer scheduled workweek, to
attract the needed manpower without making undue increases in



FAIR STANDARDS LABOR ACT

basic rates.
out:

107

On this point the Wage and Hour Division has pointed

The constructive part played by the Fair Labor Standards Act itself in the
shift over to war production has not been generally understood. In the first
place, as has been said, in the 4 years that the act has been in force, it led to the
use of new workers, providing a larger number of skilled hands than would other­
wise have been available when our war need for industrial expansion came upon
us. Industry committees under the act, bringing together employers, labor, and
the public with equal representation, charged with setting the highest minimum
wage up to 40 cents that would not substantially decrease employment, have
over the years helped to develop in leadership and mutual confidence many of
those who now have emerged to guide the national industrial effort. But the
greatest contribution has been made by the overtime provisions of the act in
attracting labor in a democratic way, without compulsion, to the war industries
where it was needed. 1
5

ENFORCEMENT

Between October 1938 and June 1946, over $18,000,000 in restitution
of wages illegally withheld under the Fair Labor Standards A ct had
been agreed to or ordered paid to over 570,000 workers in 28,070
establishments in the 13 Southern States. Over half of these cases
involved failure to pay the appropriate minimum wage.
Column 1 of table 41 summarizes the combined results of inspections
under the Fair Labor Standards Act from its enactment in 1938 and
under the Public Contracts A ct1 during the period from October
6
1942, when the Wage and Hour and Public Contracts Divisions were
consolidated to June 1946. Comparable information broken down
for three separate time periods is shown in columns 2, 3, and 4. It
should be noted that the information presented does not relate ex­
clusively to the enforcement of the Fair Labor Standards A ct al­
though that act, in view of its much broader coverage, accounts for
the bulk of the enforcement work.
During the period since the enactment of the Fair Labor Standards
Act the percentage of inspected establishments found to be in violation
of the minimum wage and/or overtime provisions was 45 percent for
the Southern States as compared with 49 percent for all other States
combined. For the most recent period for which information is
available, July 1945 to June 1946, the comparable percentages were
51 for the Southern States and 47 for all other States combined. It
is to be noted that violations of the minimum wage provisions are

U. S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour and Public Contracts Division, Annual Report for the
fiscal year ended June 30, 1942, (pp. 3-4).
16 The Public Contracts Act applies to all contracts made by the Government for the manufacture or the
furnishing of materials, etc., in the amount of more than $10,000. Certain prescribed labor standards must
be maintained by the contractor, including a basic 8-hour day and 40-hour week (overtime is permitted
provided time and a half the workers’ regular rate is paid for daily or weekly overtime, whichever results
in the greater compensation), and the maintenance of the prevailing minimum rate of wages in the locality
where the work is to be performed where such a minimum wage determination has been issued by the
Secretary of labor.
738211°— 47----------- $




T a b l e 41.— Results o f Inspection

Under the Fair Labor Standards A ct, October 1938-June 30, 1946, and Under the Public Contracts A ct,
October 1942-June 30, 1946 1

JzJ

§

[Source: Wage and Hour and Public Contracts Divisions, Economics Branch]
Results of inspection

(1)
October 1938-June 19468
Southern
States

Other
States

(2)
October 1938-June 1943
Southern
States

Other
States

(3)
July 1943-June 1945
Southern
States

Other
States

(4)
July 1945-June 1946
Southern
States

Other
States

IN
THE
SOUTH




LABOR

Estimated number of covered establishments,
April 1946__________________________________
114,350
442,680
114,350
114,350
442,680
114,350
442,680
442,680
Total number of establishments inspected________
90,704
56,909
35,057
25,020
73,682
8,775
245,415
136,676
Inspected covered establishments:«
Number.________________________ _______
8,389
33,673
49,359
23,469
70,322
81,217
226,381
122,386
Percent of total covered ___________________
21
7
8
43
16
28
Total establishments in violation of one or more
provisions:_____________ __________ ____ ____
64., 408
29,491
18,560
51,089
7,555
175,268
38,293
94,688
Establishments in violation of minimum wage
and/or overtime provisions:
40,904
35,711
4,463
16,588
Number______________________________
119,521
25,065
11,376
67,222
44
Percent of total inspected establishments....
49
45
51
47
45
49
48
In violation of minimum wage provisions:
1,470
Number.______ ______________________
4,963
8,396
3,206
(4)
(4)
(4)
(4)
9
Percent of total inspected establishments...
20
11
17
(4)
(4)
(4)
(4)
Establishments agreeing or ordered to pay restitu­
tion:
3,429
55,704
9,128
13,653
28,070
99,915
15,513
30,558
Number------- -------------------------------------62
80
77
82
84
83
86
Percent of total in monetary violation..........
69
In violation of minimum wage provisions:
1,150
3,892
9,988
7,243
15,030
35,662
25,666
2,753
Number_______________________________
Percent of establishments.paying restitu­
34
64
24
54
43
20
36
46
tion----------------------------------------:------804,656
570,444
172,282
49,608
2,099,715
348,554
1,073,189
221,870
Employees underpaid: Total number____________
Underpaid under minimum wage provisions:
11,401
58,379
125,137
26,633
Number...................................... ......................
(4)
(4)
(4)
(4)
34
23
16
12
Percent of total................................................
(4) '
(4)
(4)
(4)
$1,999,811
$5,541,765 $28,902,981
$11,361,015
Amount of restitution__________________________ $18,327,054 $80,530,706 $10,785,478 $40,266,710
Average per establishment agreeing or ordered
$583
$832
$695
$607
$946
to pay....................................... ..............................
$723
$653
$806
$40
$32
$51
$32
$31
$38
$36
Average per underpaid employee....................
$38
1The statistics include information on 35,000 establishments inspected under the Public Contracts Act since the consolidation of theWage and Hour and Public Contracts Divisions.
Most of these were inspected concurrently under both acts. The figures on violations and restitution represent the compliance record of these establishments under either or both acts.
2 Since some of the establishments were inspected more than once, the 336,119 establishments inspected represent a somewhat smaller number of separate establishments.
aExcludes establishments out of business or with no covered employees. Some of the inspected establishments are not represented in the estimates of total coverage, since many
have gone out of business since inspection.
4 Not available.

FAIR STANDARDS LABOR ACT

109

more widespread in the Southern States than elsewhere. Thus, for
the year ending July 1946, 17 percent of the establishments inspected
in the Southern States were found to be in violation of the minimum
wage provisions as compared with 9 percent for all other States
combined.
Of the establishments found to be in violation of the minimum wage
and/or hours provisions of the act during the period October 1938 to
June 1946, 69 percent of the establishment in the Southern States
agreed (or were ordered by the court in a few cases) to pay restitution
compared with 84 percent in other States. Comparable figures for
the year ending June 1946 show that 77 percent of the southern
establishments and 82 percent of the establishments in other States
found to be in monetary violation agreed or were ordered to pay
restitution. Thus, over the whole period there has been a marked
increase in the proportion of southern firms in monetary violation
that have agreed to restitution. This is important, since many
employees cannot risk or afford to bring suit against their employers
for back wages in accordance with their rights under the A ct.1
7
In considering the information presented in table 41 it should be
emphasized that there is no reason to believe that the compliance
conditions found upon inspection are representative of compliance
conditions generally, or that the inspected establishments are equally
representative of all establishments in a particular area. It should be
noted, in particular, that many inspections are made on specific com­
plaint and hence the proportion of violations to total inspections does
not accurately reflect compliance conditions in an industry or area.

17 The Administrator of the Wage and Hour and Public Contracts Divisions recommended to Congress
in his Annual Report for the fiscal year ended June 1946 that he be granted the power to bring suit on behalf
of underpaid employees.




VIII.— Living Costs in Large Cities in the South 1
From the outbreak of war in Europe until June 1946, retail prices
of goods and services used by moderate-income families rose more
rapidly in most large cities in the South 2 than the national average
for large cities in the United States. Increased industrial activity
and concentrations of military establishments in the South during the
war gave rise to sharp advances in consumers’ prices in southern cities,
large and small. Living costs are still somewhat lower in southern
cities, however, than costs in a number of northern cities, but the
differences are not as great as they were before the war.
Long before the United States entered World War II, the South
was beginning to assume a new role in the American economy. It
became evident after the beginning of the war that the South was to
become an important training center for the armies of the United
States and to contribute mightily to the rearming of the Nation. As
large military installations were established and production facilities
were multiplied many times over, families of soldiers and war workers
flocked into many southern cities. Population increases were tre­
mendous. Between 1940 and 1944, 313,000 additional residents
settled in the Hampton Roads area in Virginia, an increase of 91
percent over 1940; M obile’s population increased by 68 percent; and
Charleston’s, 57 percent. Communities that had but small excess
capacity to accommodate additional population found their normal
population increase of 10 years appearing overnight. Housing
shortages immediately became severe, vacancies disappeared, and the
pressures for higher rentals and prices of scarce goods accumulated
week by week. New residents had to have housing and household
goods, food, clothing, hospital care, dental services, and many other
living essentials. As areas became more congested 3 the prices of
living essentials rose sharply in both large and small southern cities.
Between August 1939 and June 1946, consumers’ prices of goods and
services used by moderate-income city families advanced more
rapidly in 7 of the 10 largest cities in the South than the national
average for the 34 large cities usually surveyed for this purpose by the
Bureau of Labor Statistics. Savannah, Jacksonville, New Orleans,*

1 Prepared by Floyd C. Mann, of the Bureau’s Prices and Cost of Living Branch.
* The South is defined here as including Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida,
Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.
* One measure of the impact of the war on southern cities is the number of southern cities designated as
“congested areas” by the President’s Committee for Congested Production Areas. Eight of the 15 produc­
tion areas defined as congested were in the South. These were Charleston, S. C.; Mobile, Ala.; Brunswick,
Ga.; Key West, Fla.; Hampton Roads, Va.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Pascagoula, Miss.; and Beaumont, Tex.
110




111

LIVING COSTS IN LARGE CITIES

and Norfolk—heavy shipbuilding centers— and Birmingham— the
steel city of the South— were among the cities showing the largest
increases. In Savannah and Jacksonville, consumers’ prices rose more
between the outset of war in Europe and June 1946 than in any other
city surveyed, 41.6 and 40.5 percent, respectively. Retail prices in
Memphis and Atlanta also advanced more rapidly than the national
average; prices in M obile increased only slightly less than the 34-city
average. In Houston and Richmond— two cities on the edge of the
South— the rises in prices were among the smallest for all large cities
in the United States between August 1939 and June 1946. Table 42
shows the rise in consumers’ prices in 34 large cities ranked by per­
centage change between August 1939 and June 1946. There is a
difference of 12 percentage points between the southern city having
the largest rise during this period and the southern city having the
smallest rise.
T a b l e 42.— Rise in Consumers’ Prices in Large Cities, Ranked by Percentage Change

Between August 1939 and June 1946

City

Savannah, 6a___________________ JftnkmnvillA, Fla
Portland, Oreg _
San Francisco, Calif.................... .....
Birmingham, Ala .. , . _
Detroit, Mich..................................
Wew Orleans, La .
llflrfollr, Fa
______
Manchester, N H .
\
Scranton, PaT
Memphis, Terni
Baltimore, Mri
Maw Vnrlr, M, V
Pittsburgh, Pa. .
Peettla, Wash. _ _ _ _
_
_ __
Atlanta, 6a
.
Cincinnati, Ohio
Cleveland, OhioWashington, D. C............................

Percent
increase,
August 1939
to June 1946
41.6
40.5
40.2
38.8
38.6
38.5
38.4
38.2
37.7
37.7
37.5
37.4
37.2
36.9
36.6
36.5
35.935.7
35.7

Percent
increase,
August 1939
to June 1946

City

Philadelphia, Pa Los Angolas, Calif .... . ....
Milwaukee, Wis ...

35.5
35.4
35.3

Average of 34 large cities: _

35.2

_ _.
Mobile, Ala ____
Buffalo, M Y
.
.....
Indianapolis, Tnd _ _ _
St. Louis, Mo
Denver, Colo _
Chicago, T
IL
Portland, Maine .
Boston, Mass
"Kansas City, Mo.„
Richmond, Va
Minneapolis, Minn _ .
_
_
Houston, Tex,,.____

34.8
34.6
34.6
33.7
33.6
32.6
32.5
31.7
31.2
30.8
29.8
29.6

__

Consumers’ prices have risen less in Houston than in other large
cities because of a smaller rise in the costs of food and clothing and a
decline of almost 7 percent in fuel, electricity, and ice costs. Gas
and electricity rates have dropped sharply in Houston since the fall of
1939. M eat prices have not risen as rapidly in Richmond as in most
other large cities. This, combined with a less than average rise in
residential rents, has resulted in Richmond being 1 of the 3 cities with
smallest increases during the period.
Further evidence of the rapid rise of consumers’ prices in the
South as compared with other areas can be obtained from special
surveys of prices in 13 small southern cities and war production
centers conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics during the war



112

LABOR IN TH E SOUTH

period. Between mid-1940 and early 1945, the earliest and latest
dates for which indexes are available for all 13 cities, prices advanced
more rapidly than the national average in all but 1, and in 8, prices
rose from 6 to 13 percentage points more than the average for the 34
large cities. Increases ranged from 25 percent in Stillwater, Okla.,
to 39 percent in Vicksburg, Miss., while during the same period—
June 15, 1940, to March 15, 1945— consumers’ prices rose only 26
percent on the average in 34 large cities throughout the United
States. The second part of table 43 shows percentage changes in
consumers’ prices in selected southern cities for all items combined
and each major group from mid-1940 to the spring of 1945.
Food prices, which represent approximately two-fifths of the
moderate-income city families’ budget, increased more rapidly in
most southern cities than the national average for 34 large cities.
Seven of the 10 largest cities had increases greater than the national
average for the 7-year period August 1939 to June 1946;. in 12 of the
13 selected southern cities and war production centers the increase in
food prices between 1940 and 1945 was more than the average rise for
all large cities.
Food prices in the South rose rapidly during the fall of 1941 and
the early months of 1942 prior to the establishment of the General
Maximum Price Regulation in M ay 1942. After that, further in­
creases in the prices of uncontrolled items pushed the level of food
prices to a wartime high in M ay 1940, before the President’s “ holdthe-line” order checked the advance. From that date through June
1946 food prices on the average remained stable. W ith the temporary
removal of subsidies and price controls in mid-1946, food prices rose
more in Atlanta and New Orleans between June 15 and July 15 than
the national advance of 13.8 percent. For the other 8 large southern
cities, the advance ranged from 9.3 percent in M obile to 13.7 percent
in Memphis.
Food shortages became progressively more severe in all large cities
in the fall of 1944, and in the spring months of 1945 and 1946, but
supplies in large southern cities were consistently smaller than in other
regions. To some extent these shortages reflected the failure of dis­
tributors to alter their distribution of supplies in accordance with the
shifts in population. From February 1943 through November 1945,
the Bureau of Labor Statistics made surveys of food supplies in inde­
pendent stores in 56 large cities. Throughout most of this period,
food supplies were less adequate in the large cities in the Southeastern
States than in any other region in the United States. In the spring
of 1945, it was not uncommon to find 85 to 90 percent or more of the
independent stores regularly visited without any meat.
The increase in clothing prices in southern cities, large and small,
was less than the average rise for 34 large cities during the war. In­



113

LIVING COSTS IN LARGE CITIES

creases ranged from 49 percent in Houston to 56 percent in New
Orleans between August 1939 and June 1946, as compared with a
national average of 57 percent. Between June 1940 and March 1945,
clothing costs in Vicksburg and Goldsboro advanced almost as much
as the national average (41 percent). In all other selected southern
cities and war production centers, clothing prices rose less rapidly.
About two-thirds of the rise in clothing prices in the South occurred
before M ay 1943. However, continued shortages and the disappear­
ance of lower price lines have been reflected in the steady advances
in clothing costs since M ay 1943.
Consumers* P rice Changes in Large and Small Southern Cities and War
*
Production Centers, August 1939 to June 1946 and June 1940 to M arch 1945

T a b l e 4 3 .—

City

All
items

Food

Clothing

Rent

Fuel,
electric­ House- Miscella­
ity, and furnish­ neous
ings
ice

Percent change, August 15, 1939, to June 15,1946
Large southern cities:
Savannah, Ga..........
Jacksonville, Fla___
Birmingham, A la New Orleans, La__
Norfolk, Va..............
Memphis, Tenn___
Atlanta, Ga..............
Mobile, Ala..............
Richmond, Va.........
Houston, Tex...........
Average of 34 large cities
Other selected southern cities
and war production centers:
Vicksburg, Miss..................
Gadsden, Ala.*.....................
Corpus Christi, Tex.*_____
Jonesboro, Ark.....................
Knoxville, Tenn.* *______
Chester, S. O...................... .
Goldsboro, N. C..................
Newport News, Va.«...........
Little Rock, Ark.*...............
Dallas, Tex.*_i.....................
Louisville, Ky.* *.................
Charleston, S. C.*................
Stillwater, Okla...................
Average of 34 large cities.

+41.6
+40.5
+38.6
+38.4
+38.2
+37.5
+36.5
+34.8
+30.8
+29.6
+35.2

+63.9
+57.4
+62.8
+61.5
+56.0
+71.2
+52.4
+56.9
+50.1
+47.2
+55.7

(-54.9 +11.3
H
H-49.5 * +10.5
(-53.1 +10.0
H
+4.8
-(-56.2
+7.7
(-52.0
- -53.5 1+10.5
H-53.5 1+3.2
H-52.6 *+9.8
(-50.9 1+1.5
H
(-48.9 1+2.2
H
+567
+4.0

+11.8
+22.6
+21.7
+7.7
+23.8
+12.1
+19.8
+9.6
+13.4
-6 .8
+13.3

+71.8
+51.5
+50.0
+41.2
+55.5
+38.9
+58.6
+43.4
+52.8
+46.9
+55.2

(-33.6
(-40.0
(-260
(-24.7
(-33.6
-20.2
-37.5
-20.8
(-22.1
1-26.4
+27.4

Percent change, June 15,1940, to March 15,1945
+38.8
+37.6
+36.5
+36.3
+34.0
+33.5
+32.8
+31.9
+28.3
+27.9
+27.0
+26.5
+25.0
+26.2

+73.4
+65.4
+61.0
+70.2
+62.8
+67.0
+47.3
+56.6
+42.8
+46.7
+37.2
+39.4
+47.3
+38.3

+40.4
+38.0
+34.9
+33.3
+35.7
+40.9
+32.4
+27.0
+37.0
+41.3

+6.8
+10.2
+6.8
+5.1
+3.5
+7.4
+5.1
+4.9
+12.4
+3.1
+8.4
+12.7
-1.4
+3.5

+12.7
+27.1
-3 .8
+8.0
+11.8
+8.6
+5.6
+11.4
+15.5
—1.5
+9.0
+11.8
0

+11.6

+24.1
+35.7
+46.2
+43.7
+37.2
+52.1
+30.2

+30.3
+29.0
+35.8
+30.1
+15.8
+34.7
+24.3

+16.4
+37.8
+44.4

+26.7
+19.8
+22.9

* Change to March 1946.
* Change to Miay 1946.
* Changes from June 15, 1940, to April 15,1945.
* Estimated, based on changes in food, rent, gas, and electricity costs in this city, and on changes in other
costs in large cities in U. S.
* Changes from October 15,1940, to March 15,1945.
* Changes from September 15,1940, to March 15,1945.
Residential rents rose more sharply in most large and small cities in
the South than in all large cities in the Nation. Rents in 34 large cities
combined advanced 4 percent on the average between the outset of
war in Europe and June 1945; increases were greater than this in 7
of the 10 large southern cities, and in the heavy industry cities of
Birmingham, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Savannah they advanced
more than 10 percent. In Atlanta, Houston, and Richmond the in


114

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

creases in rents were less than the national average. Ten of the thirteen
selected southern cities and war production centers had increases in
residential rents greater than the national average from mid-1940 to
March 1945. In Charleston, one of the most important shipbuilding
centers of the South, rents jumped 12.7 percent during the 5-year
period 1940 to 1945.
A t the outset of war in Europe, southern cities in comparison with
many large northern cities had a relatively small reserve of housing
to accommodate additional population. The tremendous influx of
war workers and their families in a wartime boom of employment
quickly exhausted the small excess capacity that was available and
augmented the pressures on already heavily strained facilities. The
characteristics of the population increase in southern cities during
the war were also significantly different from what would be expected
under normal conditions, and these differences tended to intensify
the congestion problem. Heavy Negro migration into urban areas
that lacked adequate housing accommodations in 1940 compounded
the overcrowding. A marked increase in the proportion of women in
the southern cities also caused a greater strain than would otherwise
have been the case. The range of housing accommodations acceptable
to women is narrower than it is for men.
Residential rents rose rapidly in the early part of the war until rentcontrols were imposed and rents were rolled back to their 1941 or 1942
maximum rent dates. Birmingham, Jacksonville, M obile, and the
Norfolk area— all shipbuilding centers—were among the first cities
in the Nation for which controls were established. Prior to the date
at which the areas were brought under control, rents rose sharply for
all types of housing, but the greatest increases were for those renting
to whites at less than $30 per month and for those occupied by non­
white tenants.
One measure of the severity of the housing shortage in the South
during the war was the amount of public and private construction of
housing for war workers that was allowed by a Nation conserving
building materials for only the most essential needs. Between July 1,
1940, and September 30, 1945, M obile and Norfolk increased their
total dwellings by about 45 and 37 percent, respectively. During the
same period, the total number of family accommodations completed
with priority assistance in Savannah and Jacksonville amounted to
19 and 13 percent of their prewar housing facilities. Relatively large
numbers of dwellings were also added in Atlanta, Houston, and New
Orleans.
Contract monthly rents for tenant-occupied, privately financed
residential dwellings rose sharply in many southern cities between
the Census of Housing in April 1940 and the National Housing Agency
dwelling surveys in 1945. The following tabulation shows the per­



LIVING COSTS IN LARGE CITIES

115

centage increase in average monthly contract rents between 1940
and 1945 for a selected list of southern cities.4
Survey dale

Pine Bluff, Ark___
Charleston, S. C___
Brownsville, Tex_ _
Mobile, Ala______
Little Rock, Ark__
Newport News, Va.
Portsmouth, Va—
Louisville, K y____
Knoxville, Tenn_
_
Dallas, Tex_______
Norfolk, Va_______
New Orleans, L a. _
Houston, T ex-------

May 1945_________
April 1946_________
August 1945_______
May 1945_________
April 1946_ ______
_
December 1945____
December 1945____
November 1945____
November 1945____
May 1945_________
December 1945____
June-July 1945____
November 1945____

Percent increase
A p ril 1940 to
survey date

,

136
131
130
66
46
46
38
33
28
24
22
17
16

These percentage changes are based on the average contract monthly
rent for rental dwellings at the time of each survey. They reflect in
addition to changes in rents shown in the consumers’ price index,
changes in the size and type of dwellings, and changes in the services
and household equipment included in the contract rent.
Statistics on the number of evictions from tenant dwellings show
that there was no significant difference between the South and North
in 1944 and June 1946. In spite of this fact, however, the problem
was more acute in the South because of the intensity of the congestion
in southern cities.
There were great increases in the number of dwellings occupied by
owners throughout the United States during the war but the largest
change in the proportion of owner-occupied dwellings between April
1940 and early 1945 occurred in the Southeastern States where the
increase was 34 percent compared with 28 percent for 122 cities
throughout the United States.
Changes in fuel, electricity, and ice costs varied sharply among the
large and small southern cities during the war. In general, gas and
electricity rates declined throughout the country and the South was
no exception. Gas and electricity costs, which have more than usual
importance in the budgets of families living in Houston, Corpus
Christi, and Dallas, declined enough to cause an average decrease for
the fuel, electricity, and ice group in these cities since the beginning of
the war. These costs, taken as a group, rose on the average for all
other cities surveyed except for Stillwater, Okla., where they remained
unchanged.

4 The rental data presented in this tabulation are not comparable with the figures on changes in rents
given in table 43 of this section. The figures given in table 43 are based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics
consumers’ price index which reflects changes in rent charged for the same dwelling with the same services
and facilities*




116

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

On the average, the cost of housefumishings in the southern cities
have risen less than the national average during the war, but the cost
of miscellaneous goods and services in the South increased more than
the average rise for 34 large cities combined.
C ity-to-C ity Comparisons

The over-all costs of equivalent goods, rents, and services important
in the budgets of moderate-income families are slightly lower on the
average in the large cities of the South than in other large cities
throughout the country. The differences, however, are not great.
Variations in costs among cities of the same size within the same
region are greater than any differences found between regions.
Relative differences in the cost of equivalent goods and services in the
33 large cities for which comparable figures are available for March
1945 are shown in table 44.
Living costs in the large cities in the South ranged from 88 to 95
percent as great as in Washington, D . C. (taken as the base or 100).
Food prices were generally higher in southern cities than in Washing­
ton, but the cost of clothing, miscellaneous goods and services, and
particularly housing was considerably lower in the southern cities
than in Washington. Variations in requirements owing to climate
were taken into account in making these comparisons. Thus, lower
housing costs in southern cities are attributable in part to the smaller
quantities of fuel needed for house heating and differences in require­
ments of heavy and fight clothing also have some effect on comparative
clothing costs.
Comparisons of March 1945 and prewar living costs show that the
relative differences in the costs of equivalent goods, rents, and services
in large cities in the South and in other large cities of the United States
have been reduced.
The March 1945 comparisons show smaller percentage differences in
costs among individual cities than indicated by estimates for the
prewar years. Costs in nearly all of the large southern cities have
moved up in relation to costs in Washington during this period. In
the 8 southern cities for which data are available costs were 5 to 12
percent lower than in Washington; whereas in 1939 costs in these
cities were from 10 to 15 percent below Washington. This tendency
toward equalizing differences in costs is consistent with the greater
rise in wartime prices in cities— particularly in the South—where
costs were relatively low before the war.
The cost of identical food items in southern cities ranged from 98
percent of the Washington cost in Houston to 104 percent in Jackson­
ville and New Orleans. With the exception of Houston, where food
costs were 2 percent lower, retail prices of identical foods were higher
in all of the southern cities surveyed than in Washington in March



117

LIVING COSTS IN LARGE CITIES

T a b l e 44.— Relative Differences in Cost o f Equivalent Goods, Rents, and Services in Large

Cities in the South and Other Selected Large Cities, March 1945

[Costs in Washington, D. C.=100l

City

Washington, D. C.................................................
Large cities in the South:
Houston, Tex__..............................................
New Orleans, La.............................................
Savanah, Ga....................................................
Birmingham, Ala...........................................
Norfolk, Va......................................................
Memphis, Tenn..............................................
Jacksonville, Fla............................................
Atlanta, Ga.....................................................
Richmond, Va.................................................
Other large cities surveyed:
Scranton, P a ..................................................
Kansas City, Mo............................................
Buffalo, N. Y ..................................................
Indianapolis, Ind............................................
Baltimore, Md................................................
Cincinnati, Ohio.............................................
Denver, Colo...................................................
Manchester, N. H..........................................
Los Angeles, Calif...........................................
Minneapolis, Minn........................................
Philadelphia, Pa.............................................
Cleveland, Ohio.............................................
St. Louis, Mo..................................................
Boston, Mass..................................................
Detroit, Mich..................................................
Milwaukee, Wis..............................................
Pittsburgh, Pa.........................................
Portland, Maine............................................
Portland, Oreg......................... ......................
Chicago, Ill-_..................................................
San Francisco, Calif.......................................
New York, N. Y.............................................
Seattle, Wash..................................................

Housing: Aver­
age rental for
4- and 5-room
with
Identical Equiv­ dwellings facil­ Other
Total foods
alent standard
clothing ities; fuel,
utilities, and
housefumish­
ings 1
10
0

10
0

10
0

8
8

98
104
106

8
6

91
92
92
93
93
‘93
93
95
90
91
92
92
93
93
93
93
94
94
94
95
95
96
97
97
97
97
97
98

10
0
12
0

103

12
0
12
0
11
0
104
11
0
10
0
10
0
12
0
12
0

99
103

10
0
12
0
12
0
11
0
103
11
0
12
0
104
12
0
10
0
12
0

103

103
103
103
105
104
109

89
90
89
94
91
90
92
93
97
97
95
87
97
99
93
96
90
96
96
10
0
89
91
96
93
104
95
90
96
97
97
96

10
0

10
0

6
8
6
6

94
96
96
99
97
96
95
94
97
97
97
94
96
99
98
98
107
96
98
103
98
98
105
104

73
75
73
80
76
78
87
67
71
71
79
76
74
76
73
71
81
77
75
83
84
79
85
81
83
75
84
80
93
83

11
0

12
0
11
0
11
1
104
12
1

106
117

i Includes rents for 4- and 6-room dwellings with standard facilities—kitchen with sink, hot and cold
running water, private bath, electric lighting, and installed heating equipment—and relative costs of fuel,
utilities, and housefumishings. Dwellings reported as needing major repairs or located in neighborhoods
containing specified hazards or nuisances were not included in the comparisons. This concept of comparable
rental costs does not take account of differences in the supply of rental housing that would meet these stand­
ard specifications or in the availability of such housing for rent. Thus, in some cities there are many homes
without indoor plumbing, and the proportion of homes with standard facilities is small. No account is
taken of this fact.
*Medical care, personal care, recreation, transportation, automobiles, and durable goods. The effect of
differences in prices of automobiles, mechanical refrigerators, and other durable equipment not available
for pricing in March 1945 is estimated by assuming a continuation of prewar differentials in costs of these
items.
1945. Costs of equivalent clothing, however, ranged from 6 to 14
percent lower in the cities in the South than in Washington.
Housing costs, which are based on average rents for dwellings with
standard facilities and relative costs of fuel, utilities, and housefumish­
ings, were below the Washington level in all southern cities surveyed.
Housing costs were lowest in New Orleans, where they were 34 percent
below Washington in March 1945; they were 32 percent lower in
Houston, and 23 percent lower in Savannah and Norfolk.
Other costs, which include medical care, personal care, recreation,
transportation, automobiles, and durable goods, were below those in
Washington in practically all southern cities.



IX.— State Labor Legislation in the South 1
The purpose of this summary is to give briefly the principal
provisions of labor laws now on the statute books of 13 Southern
States.* No effort has been made to trace historically the develop­
i
2
ment of labor* legislation in the South. However, State action in this
field did not become a vital issue in the region until about 1900, when
interest in child labor legislation began to develop. The first child
labor laws in the South were passed in 1903. Laws limiting the hours
of labor of women in industry date, roughly, from 1909, and the
beginnings of workmen’s compensation legislation are found a few
years later.
For many years, private organizations, groups of officials charged
with administration of labor laws, and trade-unions have worked
toward securing agreement on what constitutes adequate protection
under labor laws. One of these groups is the International Associa­
tion of Governmental Labor Officials— an organization of State
administrators of labor law. A second is the International Associa­
tion of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions, which gives
consideration to problems in the field of workmen’s compensation.
A third group, composed of labor law administrators and representa­
tives of labor organizations appointed by the Governors of the States,
called into annual conference by the United States Secretary of Labor
for the past 12 years, has reached agreement on matters of policy and
administration of labor laws.
The general thinking of these various groups is represented in a
declaration of the Fifth National Conference on Labor Legislation.
Every State, according to the recommendation of the conference,
should have a department of labor under a full-time commissioner or
commission to enforce its labor laws properly. The administration
of all laws relating to labor should be centralized in such a depart­
ment; its administrator should have authority to protect the safety
and health of workers. The labor department should be provided
with an adequate appropriation and with a trained and competent
inspection staff selected on a merit basis to administer all its laws.
The report further recommended that the labor laws of every State
should make provision for at least the following: For all workers,
compulsory workmen’s compensation for accidents and occupational

i Prepared by Charles F. Sharkey and Marian L. Mel, of the Division of Labor Standards, TJ. S. Depart­
ment of Labor.
i The States are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Caro­
lina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
118



STATE LABOR LEGISLATION

119

diseases; unemployment insurance; wage and hour standards; pro­
vision for prompt and regular wage payment and for the collection
of unpaid wages by the labor department; and adequate child labor
standards. In addition, the suggested labor code should make pro­
vision for public employment agencies and for the regulation of
private employment agencies; for the control of industrial home work;
and for machinery to handle industrial disputes by State mediation
and voluntary arbitration boards and by State labor relations boards.
No State fully meets these recommendations. Over the entire
country there is the widest possible variation in the number and
effectiveness of the labor laws which have been adopted. The recom­
mended standards are here included because they provide, in a sense,
a model code against which the actual development of labor legislation
in these or in any other States may be examined.
State Labor Departments

All the Southern States, except Mississippi, have labor departments.
In most of these States, however, some labor laws are administered
by agencies outside such departments. In Alabama and Louisiana,
for example, the workmen’s compensation acts are administered by
the courts. Agencies separate from the labor departments also
administer workmen’s compensation in Arkansas, North Carolina,
Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia. In this same group
of States and in Tennessee, unemployment compensation is adminis­
tered by separate agencies. The employment service is within the
departments of labor only in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia,
Kentucky, and Louisiana. Coordination of administrative activity
in the field of labor legislation clearly has not been fully achieved in
the group of States under consideration.
No picture of the protection offered workers is complete without
including the facts as to the size of the labor department appropria­
tions, the extent of its staff, and other matters concerning adminis­
tration which are not included in this article. Nevertheless, as the
enactment of laws is basic in the protection of workers, a general
picture of the status of labor legislation in any State may be gained
by the following discussion of specific types of labor laws.
H ours o f W ork

The National Conferences on Labor Legislation recommend that all
workers be protected as to working hours, suggesting, as a reasonable
standard, an 8-hour day and a 40-hour week. Even in the war period of
urgently needed production, nine Government agencies, including the
War and N avy Departments, recommended that hours of work be
kept as far as possible to 8 a day, 48 a week, and 6 days a week, as a



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LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

means of insuring maximum efficiency. Limiting hours of work by
requiring that increased hourly rates be paid after a basic number
(daily and weekly) is the method employed not only in the Fair Labor
Standards (Wage and-Hour) A ct and in the Public Contracts (WalshHealey) Act, but also in some State laws and in orders issued under
authority of minimum wage acts.
None of the 13 Southern States has legislation for an 8-hour day,
48-hour, 6-day week with a broad coverage. Here, as in other sections
o f the country, limitations of hours for men are applied most commonly
to occupations in which danger either to the worker or to the public
is involved, as in the case of miners, railroad employees, or motorbus
drivers. The employment of women is more generally covered.
Alabama does not regulate the hours of adults. An Arkansas law
fixes a basic 8-hour day and 6-day week, with a requirement for over­
time pay for women over 16 in practically all occupations. In Florida,
any employee, in the absence of a written contract, is entitled to
extra pay for all hours hi excess of 10 a day. A Georgia law limits the
hours of employees In cotton and woolen manufacturing establish­
ments to 10 a day and 60 a week, with the exception of specific occupa­
tions. In Kentucky, a 10-hour day, 60-hour week applies to females in
a fairly comprehensive list of employments, and the same standard
covers all females under 21 in any gainful occupation except domestic
service and nursing. A basic 8-hour day, 40-hour week on public
works, with time and a half the prevailing wage rate for overtime, is
the only regulation of hours applying to men. A Louisiana act of
1942 has an 8-hour day, 48-hour, 6-day week for females in a compre­
hensive list of industries; women in occupations not covered by this
act are limited to a 9-hour day, 54-hour week.
In Mississippi, a 10-hour day, 60-hour week is the standard for
females in any occupation, and the same provision exists for persons
16 years of age and over in mills and factories; in both cases over­
time is permitted in case of emergency. A lim it of 9 hours in 12,
48 hours a week, and 6 days a week in North Carolina protects only
female workers of employers of more than 8 persons in any occupa­
tion; specifically exempted, however, are a large number of employ­
ments. Men are quite comprehensively covered by a 10-hour day,
56-hour week.
In Oklahoma, a 9-hour day, 54-hour week is limited to females in a
comprehensive list of employments, with exemption of establishments
employing less than 5 such workers in towns of less than 5,000.
South Carolina limits hours of females in mercantile establishments
to 12 a day, 60 a week. Employees of cotton, silk, ra yon /or woolen
textile mills (with a number of exceptions) are covered by an 8-hour
day, 40-hour, 5-day week. Enforcement of this law was at one time



STATE LABOR LEGISLATION

121

enjoined; but according to the commissioner of labor, the injunction
has been dissolved, Tennessee limits women's hours in a number of
occupations to 57 a week; Texas, to 9 a day, 54 a week. In Virginia,
a 9-hour day, 48-hour week is limited to women in laundries, restau­
rants, and mercantile and manufacturing establishments.

DAY OF REST
Louisiana and North Carolina have laws requiring a weekly day of
rest limited to women in enumerated industries. The South Carolina
act establishes a 5-day week for employees in textile mills, and in
Arkansas a permit must be obtained from the labor commissioner to
work on the seventh day. Meal or rest periods of varying lengths are
found in Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, and North Carolina, ap­
plying generally to women or to women and minors.
M in im u m W age

Since the first minimum wage law was passed 34 years ago (1912),
State minimum wage legislation has been enacted in 26 States, Alaska,
the District of Columbia, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. In only 4 States
(Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island) and in
Hawaii and Puerto R ico does the legislation cover men.
Minimum wage laws are of three types. One authorizes the de­
partment o f labor, or a specified agency within it, to establish minimum wage rates recommended by wage boards. The second type
establishes a minimum wage in the law itself. A third kind, an
example of which is the law of Hawaii, follows the pattern of the
Fair Labor Standards A ct; the law establishes a specific minimum
hourly rate and basic hours, with provision for increased hourly
overtime rates, and provides for subsequent increases of the statutory
minimum, based on wage-board action.
Traditionally, workers in service industries have been among the
lower paid groups. As these are intrastate employments, no relief
is offered by the Fair Labor Standards Act. On this situation, the
Commissioner of Labor and Industry of Virginia commented in the
biennial report issued in 1944:
The adoption of minimum wage legislation on State level will prove of untold
benefit in the postwar period to workers who do not have the protection of the
Federal Fair Labor Standards Act. The responsibility for the protection of
workers in intrastate occupations is with the State, and if this reponsibility
is not assumed through State legislation their well-being will be seriously jeopard­
ized. By neglecting to provide this protection for its citizens who are working
without any protective wage contracts, the State will retard its social and economic
progress, as employment under substandard remuneration reduces the standards
of living and tends to involve the entire commonwealth in a downward spiral.
Employees of industries engaged in interstate commerce have Federal legisla­




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LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

tive protection which prevents their wages being cut below a certain minimum
standard, Why should not intrastate occupations be covered by wage orders?
It can be expected that the transition from a war to a peace economy will be
accompanied by a critical unemployment figure which will reduce the standard
of living and decreasfe the demands for consumer goods. When this economic
calamity attacks our wage structure, the States with minimum wage laws will
be able to throw a life preserver to the marginal workers and will thus prevent
wage cutting below health subsistence. Virginia should have a minimum wage
law of general coverage.

Four, among the Southern States studied— Arkansas, Kentucky,
Louisiana, and Oklahoma—have enacted minimum wage laws, and
they apply to women or to women and minors. The Arkansas law,
passed in 1915, applicable to women only, with specific industry
coverage, establishes a statutory minimum wage of $1.25 a day for
experienced workers. The minimum rate for workers with less than
6 months’ experience is $1.00 a day. Time and a half pay is required
after a basic 8-hour day and basic 6-day week.
In Kentucky, a minimum wage law of the wage-board type applies
to women and minors. Under this authority a blanket order,
covering all industries except laundry and dry cleaning and dyeing,
provides for minimum wage rates ranging from 20 to 25 cents an
hour, according to zone. A separate laundry, dry cleaning, and
dyeing order establishes rates ranging, according to zone, from 20
to 28 cents an hour. A hotel and restaurant order passed subse­
quently to the blanket order provides for rates ranging from 20 to
30 cents an hour. Each order provides for payment of overtime
rates.
The Louisiana law, which is also of the wage-board type, applies
to women and girls. Although the legislation was enacted in 1938,
no minimum wage orders have been issued to put the law into effect.
The Oklahoma law, also of the wage-board type, was written to
cover men, women, and minors. The law has been declared uncon­
stitutional as to its coverage of men and boys, owing to a defect in the
title. Enforcement of the orders for women is prevented by injunction,
so that the law is inoperative.
All four laws exclude agriculture; the Kentucky and Louisiana laws
exclude domestic service. In Kentucky, persons subject to regula­
tion by the public service commission, and in Louisiana, municipal­
ities having a population of 10,000 or less, are not covered by the
minimum wage acts.
Industrial H om e W ork

Only two States— Tennessee and Texas— in this group have home­
work laws.
Tennessee’s law neither prohibits home work nor authorizes the
department of labor to do so. Homes where specified kinds of work



STATE LABOR LEGISLATION

123

are performed must be reported to the board of health. Certain re­
quirements are established with respect to cleanliness, light, and venti­
lation, and workplaces are subject to the supervision of the bureau
of workshop and factory inspection. No licensing of employers is
required, nor of home workers except in the case of minors under 16
years. Without licensing, enforcement is impossible.
Texas has a home-work law, though hot under the jurisdiction of
the department o f labor. Authority is given to the State Board o f
Health to investigate any industry, and upon finding that industrial
home work cannot be continued without injuring the health and wel­
fare o f the home workers, the board may prohibit home work in the
industry. This law was passed in 1937, but by September 1946 no
steps had been taken by the health department to put it into effect.
Under the home-work system, goods are given out by an employer
to workers who perform one or more processes in their own homes and
return the finished goods to the employer. The home worker usually
furnishes the sewing machine or other equipment, collects and returns
the materials, and is sometimes even charged for spoilage. The piecerate method of payment prevails and low wages are universal. Long
hours, night work, and the use of children of all ages are characteristic
of industrial home work. Under these conditions, wage and hour and
child labor laws become meaningless. Home work, therefore, re­
presents an unfair type of competition to be met by the enlightened
employer who has all his work performed in the factory, meets the
obligations of law, and pays all overhead costs of production.
Conferences of home-work administrators have repeatedly recom­
mended one of two courses of action: First, that States which do not
have home work should, by law, make it impossible for the system to
be introduced; in other States, legislation should empower the depart­
ment of labor to prohibit home work, industry by industry. The few
workers who, on account of age or disability, could never adjust them­
selves to factory work, may be permitted to continue working under
certification by the proper administrative agency.
W age P aym ent and W age Collection Laws

Florida and Mississippi have no wage payment laws. A semi­
monthly pay day in Alabama applies only to employees of public serv­
ice corporations engaged in transportation and employing 50 or
more persons.
An Arkansas law requires a semimonthly pay day for employees of
corporations; a second law forbids use of scrip or other token not pay­
able on the next regular pay day; a third statute provides that em­
ployees of every company and corporation shall be paid on the day of
discharge.
738211°— 47----- 9




124

LABOR I1S TH E SOUTH
T

In Georgia, wages must be paid semimonthly in lawful money or
check; excepted from the law are farming and sawmill and turpen­
tine industries. The Kentucky semimonthly pay-day law applies to
employees of corporations organized for profit; wages must be paid
within 3 days to workers who are discharged or who quit. Another
law requires employers of 20 or more persons to redeem scrip or other
evidence of debt in legal tender at face value at least once a month on
a regular pay day. A third measure, requiring payment in lawful
money, applies only to wage earners employed by corporations or in
factories, mines, or workshops.
In Louisiana, a semimonthly pay day is required for all employees
(except the clerical and sales force) in manufacturing, mining, and oil
boring, where 10 or more are employed, and in public service corpora­
tions. A second law, applying to all workers, requires that checks or
other tokens be redeemed at face value, on demand, on the pay day
following issuance; those employees discharged and quitting must
be paid within 24 hours; if not, their wages continue until paid or
payment is tendered.
In North Carolina, a law applying only to railroad-shop and round­
house employees requires a semimonthly pay day and payment in
lawful money or check. In Oklahoma, compulsory payment in law­
ful money is required for employees in mining, quarrying, manufac­
turing, and transmission and transportation of passengers or freight
and, if demanded, a semimonthly pay day. In South Carolina, a
weekly pay requirement applies to textile manufacturing and a semi­
monthly one to shop employees of certain railroads; nonnegotiable
pay orders are prohibited except for agricultural employees under
contract. Tennessee private employers of 20 or more must pay semi­
monthly in lawful money or check. A Texas law with broad but by
no means complete coverage requires a semimonthly pay day, and
payment within 6 days after demand for discharged or quitting work­
ers and those absent on pay day. In Virginia, certain railroad em­
ployees and employees in mining and- manufacturing are entitled to
a semimonthly pay day and payment in lawful money or check or
cash order. Employees of sawmills and excelsior mills must be paid
monthly.
In the States covered, as in many others, the absence of a protective
law on wage payment or the existence of a poor one makes workers
the victims of financially irresponsible or careless or, in some cases,
dishonest employers. The recognized standard for wage payment
and wage collection laws includes the following guarantees: The work­
er must be able to count on the payment of his wages in full, in actual
money (not scrip or other substitute), on regular pay days. The pay
period should be short enough so that living expenses can be met on



STATE LABOR LEGISLATION

125

a cash, not a credit, basis. Prompt payment of wages due should be
guaranteed to a worker who is separated from the pay roll. The
State labor department should be authorized to help a worker collect
wages due, if his employer fails or refuses to pay him.
Industrial Safety and Health

At conferences dealing with labor legislation it has been agreed that
safety of workers is the responsibility of the employer and it has been
recommended that he should be required by law to furnish a safe
workplace. For many years, labor laws attempted to spell out the
specific standards which would safeguard workers against industrial
accidents and diseases. It is now generally agreed that because
changing methods of production bring about changing hazards, a
different approach is needed.
The Second National Conference on Labor Legislation, held in
North Carolina more than 10 years ago, advocated that “ the State
department administering the labor laws should have authority to
formulate industrial rules or codes, preferably with the assistance of
advisory committees, including representatives of employers, employ­
ees, and experts, for the protection of the health and safety of employ­
ees. Such rules or codes should conform substantially to nationally
approved standards.”
Many States in preparing safety and health standards have adopted
in whole or in part the safety codes promulgated by the American
Standards Association.

STATUTES AND REGULATIONS
In all the States covered in this article, except Mississippi, the
departments of labor have definite responsibility under law for insur­
ing the safety of workers. The labor departments of Alabama, Arkan­
sas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Okla­
homa have statutory authority to issue regulations for the safety and
health of workers. In Tennessee, the department has such authority
for industrial safety only. In South Carolina, as in Mississippi, rulemaking authority is given to the department of health. In Texas
and Virginia, although limited statutory standards exist, no general
power to issue safety and health regulations exists in any agency.
As of 1946, action had been taken under such authority as follows:
The Alabama Department of Industrial Relations has issued a basic
safety manual which includes, together with rules dealing with com­
mon accident hazards, basic information on accident prevention. In
addition, other rules cover mine safety and open pits and quarries.
The Arkansas Commissioner of Labor has issued a basic safety
manual, covering practically the same subjects as those in the Ala­



126

LABOR IN TH E SOUTH

bama manual, and five additional codes dealing with special subjects.
The Alabama and Arkansas codes follow the American Standards
codes very closely.
Under the authority of the Florida Industrial Commission, five codes
dealing with various branches of the lumber and woodworking indus­
tries and also with boiler safety have been adopted.
In addition to the adoption of certain safety rules by the Kentucky
Department of Industrial Relations, a comprehensive list of safety
codes promulgated by the American Standards Association has been
recommended to employers.
No rules have been issued in Georgia or in Louisiana under the
authority of the commissioners of labor.
Under authority of the commissioner of labor, North Carolina has
issued a basic safety code and 10 or more special codes. Oklahoma
has adopted safety rules on 15 subjects.
The Tennessee Division of Factory Inspection, in carrying out its
authority to prescribe safety devices and safeguards, has issued more
than 40 rules covering various subjects. A 1945 act of the State
Legislature transferred the functions of the department of labor, with
respect to conditions injurious to the health of industrial workers, to
the department of public health.
In Mississippi and South Carolina, rule-making authority is vested
in the State Board of Health.
W orkm en's Compensation

Workmen’s compensation laws are designed to assure prompt
payment of benefits to injured employees or to the dependents of
those killed in industry, regardless of fault. In the early days, if an
injured worker sued his employer for damages, he had to prove that
the employer was negligent. Under the compensation law the ques­
tion of fault or blame for the accident is not raised, as the cost of
work injuries.is considered part of production costs.
Workmen’s compensation laws are of two types— compulsory and
elective. A compulsory statute is one whereby every employer
within the scope of the compensation law is required to accept the
act and pay the compensation specified. An elective act is one in
which the employer has the option of either accepting or rejecting
the act, but in case he rejects it he loses the customary common law
defenses— assumed risk of the employment, negligence of fellow serv­
ants, and contributory negligence. The compulsory type of law
has been recommended by the several National Conferences on Labor
Legislation.
All the States in the group considered, with the exception of Mis­
sissippi, have enacted workmen’s compensation laws. Of these



STATE LABOR LEGISLATION

127

States, only four—Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Virginia
have compulsory laws; however, the Kentucky and-Oklahoma laws
cover only hazardous employments. The laws of the other States
are elective. In Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina the
laws are compulsory for public employees, and in Texas for operators
of motorbusses.
The employer is required in each of these States to obtain insurance
with private insurance companies, or to give proof of his ability to
carry his own risk (self-insurance). In Oklahoma, employers may
insure their risks in the State insurance fund or with private carriers.

COVERAGE
None of the 47 States conform entirely to the suggested standards
with respect to coverage as recommended by the National Conferences
on Labor Legislation.
The suggested standards for workmen's compensation acts include
total coverage of workers regardless of the type of industry or the
number of employees and require the payment of benefits not only
in the case of an accidental injury, but also for disabilities resulting
from an occupational disease.
All of this group (except Louisiana) provide that employers of fewer
than a stipulated number of employees are exempted from compensa­
tion-coverage requirements. Although the Louisiana act does not
have a numerical exemption, coverage is limited in this State because
the law applies mainly to listed “ hazardous" or “ extra-hazardous"
employments. None of these States covers agricultural or domestic
service. However, most of the acts permit voluntary acceptance by
the employer in these fields, and also in instances in which there is a
numerical exemption or in which the law applies only to hazardous
employments.

OCCUPATIONAL DISEASE

The National Conference on Labor Legislation has frequently
recommended “ general” coverage of occupational disease instead of
“ schedule” coverage under which compensation is paid only for
specifically listed diseases. A similar recommendation was made by
the International Association of Accident Boards and Commissions
in 1944. Occupational disease legislation has been enacted in six of
the States in this group-—Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky,
North Carolina, and Virginia—but only Florida provides general
coverage. The Kentucky law is limited to silicosis and injuries or
death by gas or smoke in mines and by poisonous gas in any
occupation*

BENEFITS

The compensation benefits are based on proportion of wages
received by the injured worker. In death cases, these percentages



128

LABOR IN TH E SOUTH

sometimes vary and depend on the number of children. The sug­
gested standard as recommended by the National Conference on
Labor Legislation proposes that in disability cases not less than 66%
percent of the employee’s wages should be paid as compensation,
and that the maximum weeldy compensation should be based on a
standard of living above the subsistence level. In the group of 13
States the maximum percentage of wages in disabilities ranges from
50 to 66^ percent, although in recent years there has been some
improvement in the maximum weekly payments permitted by these
laws. These payments still do not take into consideration the
higher wages now paid. The maximum weekly payments vary
from $18 in Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee to $25 in South
Carolina. In Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, and Virginia the
maximum is $20, in North Carolina and Oklahoma $21, and in Florida
$

22 .

The National Conferences on Labor Legislation have recom­
mended that death benefits be paid to the widow for life, (or until
remarriage), and to children until they reach the age of 18. How­
ever, none of the listed States has such provisions. In all these
States the death benefits are limited to payments for a specified
period ranging from 300 to 450 weeks. Oklahoma pays no death
benefits. Some of these States also fix a total maximum for death
benefits ranging from $5,000 to $7,200. With respect to permanent
total disability, it has been recommended that benefits be paid during
the period of disability, but in the States under consideration, such
benefits are limited as to time and amount, or both. The time
periods range from 350 to 550 weeks, and the money limits from $5,000
to $10,500.
Permanent partial disabilities are classified as specific or schedule
injuries, such as the loss or loss of use of a member, and “ nonschedule”
injuries, which are those of a more general nature, as, for example,
disability caused by injury to the head or back. The measure of
such compensation is usually a stated number of weeks. In Arkan­
sas, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina, the compensation for
permanent partial disability is in addition to the period of total dis­
ability or healing period. In Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana,
Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia, on the
other hand, the schedule payments are exclusive; in other words, the
temporary total benefit payments are subtracted from the amount
due from permanent partial disability. In either event, there may
be money or period limitations.

MEDICAL CARE
In all workmen’s compensation acts, medical care is required to be
furnished to injured employees. In early legislation the provision



STATE LABOR LEGISLATION

129

for medical aid was narrowly restricted as to monetary cost, period
of treatment, or both. In the later development of the acts such
absolute restrictions have been changed in many cases either by
providing for unlimited benefits or by authorizing benefits in addi­
tion to the initial maximum upon the approval of the administrative
authority. In Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Okla­
homa, and South Carolina, medical benefits are virtually unlimited
because the administrative agency can extend such services indefi­
nitely. In Arkansas, however, there are arbitrary limitations upon
the medical aid for occupational diseases. In Alabama, Kentucky,
Louisiana, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia, there are period or cost
limitations. Extensions are permitted in Tennessee, Texas, and
Virginia, but these are restricted to specified periods or amounts, or
both.

WAITING PERIOD
All the States in this group provide for a specified waiting period
immediately following the injury during which compensation shall
not be paid. This “ waiting time” is 3 days in South Carolina, 4 in
Florida, 5 in Oklahoma, and 7 days in the other States. The justi­
fication for the waiting period is the cost and administrative burden
of bookkeeping in setting up claim files and accounts where but a
few dollars are involved. The waiting period relates only to com­
pensation. Medical and hospital care are provided immediately,
regardless of the fact that compensation is not paid for a specified
period. Most of the laws provide that if the disability continues
for a certain number of weeks the payment of compensation is
retroactive to the date of injury. In Arkansas, Kentucky, North
Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas, if the disability lasts for 4 weeks,
compensation is paid from the date of disability. In South Carolina,
the retroactive period is 2 weeks; in Louisiana and in Virginia it is 6
weeks. There is no retroactive period in Alabama, Florida, Georgia,
and Oklahoma.

SECOND-INJURY FUNDS
In recent years, a new type of provision establishing “ second-injury
funds” has been included in workmen’s compensation laws. When an
employee has sustained an injury involving the loss of a member of
the body and then loses another as a result of an industrial injury, he
may become permanently and totally disabled. If the total cost of
compensation is imposed on the latest employer, physically handi­
capped persons are apt to be refused employment. To meet such
problems second-injury funds were created, so that when a second
injury occurs the employer has to pay only for the last injury, yet the
employee is compensated for the disability resulting from the combined
injuries, the remainder of the award being paid from the fund.



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LABOR IN TH E SOUTH

State workmen’s compensation commissioners, employer and em­
ployee groups, and veterans’ organizations have agreed that secondinjury funds offer the best means of facilitating the employment of
disabled veterans and other handicapped persons. The International
Association of‘ Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions, at its
meeting in September 1944, recommended a draft bill relating to
second injuries and the establishment of a second-injury fund. The
draft bill provides that, if an employee who has sustained one of certain
specified losses (i. e., the loss, or loss of use, of one hand, one arm,
one foot, one leg, or one eye) becomes permanently and totally inca­
pacitated through the loss, or loss of use, of another member or organ,
the employer shall be liable only for the compensation payable for the
second injury, and the balance of the compensation shall be paid out
of the second-injury fund. The fund is financed by payments of $500
by the employer in each case of death if there are no dependents.
Second-injury funds have been established in Arkansas, Kentucky,
North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The
laws of Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee
conform to the standards proposed by the draft bill with respect to the
injuries covered, although differences exist in the methods of financing
the fund. The Kentucky law applies in the case of an employee who
previously was permanently partially disabled, and who receives a
second injury whereby the combined disabilities are greater than that
which would have resulted from the second injury alone. In Okla­
homa, the law applies to-“ physically impaired persons” who receive a
second injury which results in additional permanent disability.

MINORS
All workmen’s compensation laws cover minors legally employed.
In Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina,
Texas, and Virginia, compensation is paid to minors illegally employed
on the same basis as if they were legally employed. In Alabama and
Florida, the laws provide extra compensation in such cases. On the
other hand, the laws of Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Tennessee do not
cover minors illegally employed.

ADMINISTRATION
In establishing the workmen’s compensation system the principal
objective was to provide a simple, convenient, and inexpensive
method of settling the claims of injured workers. Both the National
Conferences on Labor Legislation and the International Association
of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions have recommended
administration by a commission or board rather than by the courts.
In most of the Southern States having workmen’s compensation laws,




STATE LABOR LEGISLATION

131

special agencies have been formed to administer the acts. However,
in Alabama, Louisiana, and Tennessee, court procedure remains as a
survival of early practice.
Industrial Relations

Industrial-relations legislation in the group of Southern States has
been limited generally to the fields of conciliation, mediation, and
arbitration of industrial disputes, and to the regulation of unions and
labor-organization activity.

CONCILIATION. MEDIATION, AND ARBITRATION
Most of the Southern States are authorized by law to endeavor to
settle disputes through the use of conciliation, mediation, or arbitration
machinery.
Conciliation and mediation services are provided through special
permanent agencies in two State labor departments— in North Caro­
lina, the division of conciliation, and in Oklahoma, the board of arbi­
tration and conciliation.
In six other States, authority to mediate or to promote voluntary
conciliation or mediation is vested in a designated government official.
This official is the labor commissioner in Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana,
and South Carolina, and the commissioner of industrial relations in
Kentucky. In Alabama, the Governor is empowered to appoint
mediation boards, and the department of industrial relations is also
authorized to promote mediation.
Five States— Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia—
have no machinery for conciliation and mediation of labor disputes.
Arbitration under special procedures for labor disputes is provided
for in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Okla­
homa, South Carolina, and Texas. Permanent arbitration agencies
are established in the labor departments of two of these States— the
North Carolina Arbitration Service and the Oklahoma Board of
Arbitration and Conciliation.

PROTECTION OF LABOR’S RIGHTS
There is a limited amount of legislation, in these 13 States, protect­
ing labor’s right to organize and bargain collectively.
The right of organization and collective bargaining is recognized by
law in Alabama, Florida, and Kentucky. The Alabama law, however,
also specifies the right of employees to refrain from such activities.
One State, Louisiana, has an anti-injunction law modeled after the
Federal Norris-LaGuardia Act, and an Oklahoma law places limited
restrictions on the courts in labor disputes.




132

LABOR IN TH E SOUTH

Blacklisting of employees is forbidden by law in seven States—
Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, and
Virginia; and “ yellow dog” contracts are outlawed in Louisiana.

UNION REGULATION
Over the past 5 or 6 years, there has been a decided increase in
State legislation restricting or regulating union activity. At present,
all these States except five— Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma,
South Carolina, and Tennessee—have union regulatory laws. Many
of these laws have been held invalid, and others are in process of appeal
in the courts, so that the constitutionality of much of this legislation
is still in doubt. The main provisions of those laws still in effect are
summarized as follows.
Internal Union Organization

Alabama, Florida, and Texas adopted legislation in 1943 which
regulates internal union organization. The Alabama act requires
every labor organization to file with the State department of labor
copies of its constitution and bylaws, and the secretary and business
agent of every local union with 25 members to make annual verified
reports to its ipembers and to the labor department, containing data
on its officers, membership, elections, and property holdings, and a
complete financial statement. It also prohibits membership of
professional or supervisory employees in labor organizations which
admit or are affiliated with unions admitting nonsupervisory employ­
ees, and forbids collection by a labor union of any fee for a work
permit.
The Florida Union Regulatory Act prohibits interference with the
right of franchise of any union member and solicitation of membership
without authority of that organization. With regard to union
finances, the law limits union initiation fees not in effect in 1940 to $15,
requires unions to keep itemized financial accounts open to the mem­
bership, and prohibits unions from requiring payment of back dues of
returning servicemen.
The Texas Union Regulatory Act requires every union to file with
the secretary of state copies of its constitution and organization
records and to make annual verified reports to the secretary of state
containing data on the organization, its affiliates and locals, its
local officials, its property holdings, and a complete financial state­
ment.
The Texas law also establishes citizenship requirement for union
officials, provides that union members may be expelled only for good
cause and after public hearing, and directs the courts to intervene to
reinstate any member expelled in violation of these provisions.




STATE LABOR LEGISLATION

133

Unions are forbidden to collect fees for work permits, to make political
contributions, or to require returning servicemen to pay back dues,
and are required to keep itemized financial accounts open to the
membership and to legal proceedings. The legal requirement that
union organizers secure a registration card from the secretary of state
was held unconstitutional in a case appealed to the United States
Supreme Court.
Right to Work

So-called “ right to work” constitutional amendments have been
adopted in Arkansas and Florida. The Florida amendment makes
unlawful the denial of the “ right to work” on account of membership or
nonmembership in any labor organization. The Arkansas amend­
ment authorizes legislation of this type.
Strike, Picketing , and Organization A ctivity

Eight States—Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana,
Mississippi, Texas, and Virginia—have laws directly regulating unions
during strikes, picketing, or other organizational activity.
Participation in “ wildcat” strikes is outlawed in Alabama. Florida
forbids strikes unless authorized by majority vote in a secret ballot
and prohibits seizure or unlawful occupation of property during a labor
dispute. It also forbids strikes caused by jurisdictional disputes.
A Georgia law requires 30 days' written strike notice of all employees
except seasonal and railroad workers. Louisiana in 1946 adopted
legislation providing that “ wildcat” strikes in violation of collective­
bargaining agreements are against public policy.
So-called “ anti-violence” legislation, recently adopted in Alabama,
Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas, outlaw’s assemblage near the place
where a labor dispute exists and forbids the use or threat of force to
prevent any person from engaging in a lawful vocation. The Alabama
law also outlaws the use of threats, force, or coercion to prevent an
employer's use of materials, equipment, or service. Violation of this
legislation in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas is made a felony.
A Florida law outlaws picketing the home of an employee, picketing
beyond the area of the industry in which a dispute arises, picketing
by force or violence or in such manner as to prevent entrance to or
exit from any premises, or picketing “ other than in a reasonable and
peaceable manner.”
The following acts are prohibited by Virginia law: Interference
with the right of another to work; use of force, threats or intimidation,
or insulting language to induce any person to quit his employment or
to refrain from seeking employment; picketing by force or violence;
picketing so as to interfere with the entrance or exit of any premises




134

LABOR IN TH E SOUTH

or of the free use of public streets; and picketing by any person not
employed by the business picketed, either at that time or immedi­
ately prior to the strike.
Unem ployment Insurance

In the Southern States studied the unemployment-insurance laws
differ considerably as to coverage and amount of benefits, the duration
of unemployment, and other factors. Ten States—Alabama, Florida,
Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina,
Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia— provide that employers of 8 or more
employees in 20 weeks are covered by the legislation. Arkansas
specifies 1 or more employees in 10 days, Kentucky 4 or more employ­
ees in 3 quarters of a preceding year, and Louisiana 4 or more employ­
ees in 20 weeks.
After an unemployed worker has filed a claim and before benefit
payments begin, a waiting period of 1 or 2 weeks is usually required.
All the States in this group have 1-week waiting periods except
Georgia and Mississippi, which require a 2-week period before benefits
begin.
In order to be entitled to benefits, a worker must have earned a
specified amount in covered employments. The amount of the bene­
fit to be paid is determined by the worker’s wages or employment
during a “ base period.” This period, generally 1 of the 4 quarters
of the year (13 weeks), is used to determine a worker’s earnings for
eligibility, weekly benefits, and the duration of benefits. Under most
laws the worker receives approximately 50 percent of his full-time
weekly wage. All States limit the maximum and the minimum
amount of weekly benefits.
In this group, the top limit on benefit payments ranges from $15
to $20 a week. Alabama, North Carolina, and South Carolina pay
a maximum of $20; Georgia, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas, $18;
Kentucky, $16; and in Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee,
and Virginia, the maximum is fixed at $15 a week. Minimum pay­
ments range from $3 to $6 a week. The maximum number of weeks
in which unemployment-compensation benefits are paid ranges from
14 to 20. Benefits are limited to 14 weeks in Mississippi, to 16 in
Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennes­
see, and Virginia; and to 20 weeks in Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana,
and Oklahoma. Texas alone has specified that instead of a definite
number of weeks the payment should be 9 times the benefit allowed
for a 2-week period.




STATE LABOR LEGISLATION

135

Child Labor

The following review of the major provisions of the child labor
laws shows the existing standards.

MINIMUM AGE
North and South Carolina, in 1937, became the first of the Southern
States to incorporate a 16-year minimum age standard in their child
labor laws. FJorida followed in 1941, Louisiana in 1942, and Georgia
in 1946. Four of these five States— Georgia, Louisiana, North
Carolina, and South Carolina—have a 16-year minimum age for
employment in factories at any time and for any employment during
school hours except in agriculture and domestic service. The fifth
State— Florida— also has a 16-year minimum age for factory employ­
ment at any time, but requires a minimum age of 14 for all other
employment during school hours.
A 15-year minimum age requirement obtains in factory and related
employment in Texas. A 14-year minimum age standard applies
to factory employment at any time in the remaining seven States
(in Kentucky only during school hours), and to all other work during
school hours, except in Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Virginia. In
Virginia, work in agriculture and, in Mississippi and Oklahoma, work
in agriculture and certain other occupations are not covered.
For work outside school hours most of these States set a minimum
age of 14 but usually exempt agriculture and domestic service, and
some permit employment at the age of 12 in certain other occupations.
A few establish no minimum age for nonfactory employment outside
school hours or cover no work outside school hours.

EMPLOYMENT CERTIFICATES
Because the employment certificate shows that the minor for
whom it is issued has reached the minimum age for work and has
met the other requirements fixed by law for his protection, an employ­
ment certificate system is a safeguard against illegal employment
and an essential support of child labor standards. Ten States in
this group require employment certificates as a condition for the
employment of minors under 16 years of age, and seven States require
either employment certificates or age certificates for minors above
this age (Alabama to 17, and to 19 for work in certain hazardous
employments; Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and North Carolina to 18;
Oklahoma to 18 where continuation schools are established; and
Tennessee to 18 in certain hazardous occupations).
The child labor laws of three of the States, however, do not provide
for an employment certificate system (Mississippi, South Carolina,




136

LABOR IN TH E SOUTH

and Texas). To supply the need for proof of legal employment
under the child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act in
these States, certificates of age are issued by the U. S. Department
of Labor in cooperation with State and local officials. Moreover, in
all 13 States, age certificates are issued for minors who have passed
the age when* certificates are required, on request of the minor or
the employer.

HAZARDOUS OCCUPATIONS

In general, *the protection from hazardous employment afforded
minors under age 18 in the listed States is inadequate, particularly
as to minors 16 and 17 years of age. Only three States (Louisiana,
North Carolina, and Virginia) now prohibit employment of minors
of 16 and 17 in any considerable number of dangerous occupations.
Greater protection is afforded children under 16 from hazardous
work, more than half the States prohibiting their employment in
many hazardous occupations. Little or no such protection, however,
is given in several States.

MAXIMUM HOURS AND NIGHT WORK
None of the 13 States protects minors up to 18 years of age from
excessive hours of work to the extent recommended by the Inter­
national Association of Governmental Labor Officials— a maximum
8-hour day, 40-hour week, and 6-day week. Louisiana, which has
an 8-hour day, 44-hour week, and 6-day week for minors under 18,
comes nearest. Few of the other States have limited maximum
hour^for both boys and girls of 16 and 17.
Five States, in addition to Louisiana, have adopted for children
under age 16 a maximum workweek standard of less than 48 hours.
These are Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina, with an 8-hour
day, 40-hour week for children under 16, and Mississippi and Virginia
with an 8-hour day, 44-hour week, for such children. Except for
South Carolina, the remaining States have an 8-hour day, 48-hour
week, applicable to children under 16 (in Texas to children under
15). South Carolina has no maximum hours of work provisions
applicable to minors only, but has an 8-hour day, 40-hour week,
5-day week3 for most employees of any age in silk, rayon, cotton,
and woolen mills. For girls in stores the maximum is a 12-hour
day, 60-hour week.
All 13 States have prohibited night work of minors under 16 years
of age, but only 4 (Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, and North Carolina)
have such a prohibition for both boys and girls 16 and 17 years of age.1

1 See comment under Hours of Work (p. 119).




STATE LABOR LEGISLATION

137

STANDARDS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Looking at the child labor laws in the States analyzed as a whole,
the most serious weaknesses are the frequent exemptions of agriculture
and domestic-service occupations, in which large numbers of children
are employed; the lack of protection afforded minors 16 and 17 years
of age, both in respect to hours of employment and to hazardous work;
the limited coverage of some of the older laws; and the lack of certificate
systems in three of the States.
In the South, as in the entire country, war labor needs brought
about an unprecedented demand for the employment of young workers.
This demand is reflected in the large increases in the number of employ­
ment and age certificates issued for children between 14 and 18 years
of age during the war years, although these certificates do not tell
the whole story. They do not cover children going to work in all
industries, they are not required for all young workers of these ages,
and they do not, of course, reflect illegal employment.
Even with these limitations, the figures are striking. In 11 of this
group o f States for which reports are available for both 1940 and
1945, the number of young persons between 14 and 18 years of age
obtaining employment or age certificates for work (full time or part
time) increased more than sevenfold. About 17 percent of these boys
and girls going to work in 1945 were 14 or 15 years of age. Available
figures for 1946 indicate a decided drop, as would be expected with
the cessation of war demands, but in general the totals for the first
5 months of 1946 are considerably above those for the entire year 1940.
Although child labor legislation has developed slowly in this
region, noteworthy advances have been made in the past decade
in the laws of a number of the Southern States. These gains meet
or approach standards urged as desirable for the employment of
young persons by the International Association of Governmental
Labor Officials and other groups interested in the protection of young
workers from harmful child labor and reflect a sincere recognition of
the needs of the young people of this region. The standards recom­
mended by the International Association of Governmental Labor
Officials are a 16-year minimum age for factory employment at any
time, 16 for all employment during school hours, 14 outside school
hours for all nonfactory employment, and for minors under 18 years
of age a maximum 8-hour day, 40-hour week, and 6-day week; pro­
hibition of night work; a requirement of employment certificates;
and prohibition of work in hazardous occupations.




X.— Social Security in the South1
Social security, in the broad sense, lias become a recognized respon­
sibility of the Federal Government. The tremendous number of
persons in need during the depression following 1929 demonstrated
the inability of the average individual to provide against prolonged
economic adversity, as well as the inability of most States to meet
adequately the situation created by the depression. Under the
Social Security Act, passed in 1935, two general systems of benefit
payments were authorized, one based on insurance contributions and
the other on the need of the beneficiaries.
Insurance against certain economic hazards can be based on past
earnings in industry. Monthly benefits (as well as lump-sum pay­
ments) were provided under the act and the 1939 amendments thereto
by the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance program for persons 65
years of age or over (and for certain of their dependents) who have
worked in covered industry and have qualified for the payments.
This is a wholly federally operated undertaking. An unemployment
insurance system was set up as a joint Federal-State program pro­
viding unemployment benefits to those workers who have qualified
while working in covered employment. There are other government
operated or supervised social insurance systems, as well as staff re­
tirement programs which are not operated under the Federal Social
Security Act. These include the retirement systems of the Federal,
State, and local governments, the workmen’s compensation laws of
the Federal and State governments, and the various insurance pro­
grams for railroad workers administered by the Railroad Retirement
Board.
The programs of public aid in which the Federal Government
participates are based on the need of the recipients and are adminis­
tered by the States with grants-in-aid from the Federal Government
for three types of needy persons: (1) Those over 65 who pass the
State tests of need; (2) children, living with relatives, deprived of
parental support as a result of death or incapacity of one or both
parents; and (3) the needy blind. Other types of needy persons
must be cared for wholly by State or local funds.
While present programs of social security are limited in terms of
benefits provided and coverage, a genuine beginning has been made
in giving some protection to substantial segments of the population
against important economic dangers in modern industrial society.
This is perhaps particularly noteworthy with respect to the Southern
1 Prepared by Solomon Shapiro of the Bureau’s Labor Economics Staff. The social security data used
in this article have been previously published or were made available by the Social Security Adminis­
tration of the Federal Security Agency. The cooperation of this Agency is gratefully acknowledged.

138



139

SOCIAL SECURITY

States, where per capita incomes are relatively low and the social
security increment has been a significant addition. It is the purpose
of this section to describe the operation in the South of the two insur­
ance programs established under the Social Security Act.
Operation o f the O ld-A ge and Survivors Insurance Program

COVERAGE
Under the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance program persons aged
65 or over, who have qualified by working for certain periods in em­
ployment covered by the law, may retire and receive monthly bene­
fits. The worker’s wife if aged 65 or over and/or his dependent
children under age 18 may also receive monthly benefits. Lump-sum
payments or monthly benefits are also provided for certain dependent
survivors of insured workers. Generally, persons working for wages
or salaries are covered by the act, with a number of important ex­
ceptions. The major exceptions are agricultural labor; domestic
service; casual labor not in the course of the employer’s business;
service performed for the worker’s child, spouse, or parent; certain
maritime service performed on vessels of foreign countries; employ­
ment for Federal, State, and local governments; employment for
religious, charitable, and certain other nonprofit organizations; rail­
road employment; and self-employment.
From its inception until June 1945, over 82 million persons, repre­
senting 62 percent of the population on July 1, 1945, had established
accounts with the Bureau^ of Old Age and Survivors Insurance of the
Federal Security Agency.* Of this number, about 21 million, or ap­
proximately 55 percent of the population, were in the Southern States.
The following tabulation shows the number of accounts established by
employees under old-age and survivors insurance, cumulative from
November 1936 through June 1945, and the percentage these em­
ployees formed (July 1, 1945) of the total population of the United
States and of the southern regions.
A ccou n ts
established
(in th o u sa n d s )

P ercen t o f
p o p u la t i o n 2

Total, United States-- _____________ ____________

82,229

62. 3

Southern States_____ _ ___________ ____________
Southeastern States. _
________ ____________
Southwestern States_____ _________________
____________
All other States _ _
__ _

20,701
13,205
7,496
61,528

55. 2
54. 1
57.4
65. 1

1

1 Federal Security Agency, Social Security Bulletin, August 1945 (p. 33).
Population data from Bureau of Census, Special Reports, Series P-46, No. 3. These percentages are
somewhat overstated because the data do not eliminate duplicate account numbers, nor have adjustments
been made for deaths of account holders. These percentages are not the proportions of the population
covered by the act at any particular time because account numbers are issued to all workers who apply,
regardless of whether their employment is covered under the act. As a result, the number of persons actually
covered is considerably less than the number of accounts, since many workers with account numbers and at
some time in covered employment are not presently so engaged, while others with account numbers have
never worked in covered employment.
2

738211°— 47----------- 10




140

LABOR IN TH E SOUTH

Of the 46.3 million persons who worked in covered employment at
some time during 1944, 9.5 million were in the South (table 45). The
South's proportion of covered workers was therefore considerably
smaller than its share of the country's population. This relatively
smaller coverage of workers is a reflection of the greater proportions of
persons in noncovered employments— agriculture, domestic service,
and self-employment, including farming.
During 1940, the first year that monthly benefits were awarded,
43,338 persons in the Southern States and 211,646 in the remainder of
the country were awarded benefits. As of June 30, 1946, there were
1,700,696 monthly beneficiaries in the whole country, of whom 300,228
were in the South. The southern proportion of the total number of
beneficiaries (17 percent in 1940 and 18 percent in 1946) was somewhat
smaller than that of workers in covered employment. This reflects,
partly, the younger median age of the population in these States,2 but,
to a greater extent, the fact that in these States covered employment
constitutes a smaller proportion of total employment and consequently
relatively fewer workers are insured.
T

able

45.— O ld-Age and Survivors Insurance: Workers in Covered Em ploym ent,
United States and Southern Regions 1
Number of workers (thousands)2
Region
1939

1940

1941

1942

1943

33,751 j

35,393

40,976

46,363

47,656

46,296

6,651

7,018

8,423

9,624

9,659

9,480

Southeastern States. ............................
Virginia______ _______ _________
North Carolina......................... .
South Carolina...........................
Georgia_____________ ____ _____
Florida_____ __________________
Kentucky......... ............................
Tennessee______ _______________
Alabama_____________________
Mississippi......... ...........................

4,318
559
720
352
598
475
420
519
439
237

4,603
612
751
375
647
504
432
568
484
232

5,594
776
876
467
789
569
502
686
619
309

6,214
865
954
490
853
641
567
765
734
345

6,190
778
880
478
891
697
551
841
739
336

6,083
738
905
451
855
696
568
844
705
321

Southwestern States............................
Arkansas_______________ ____ _
Louisiana...................................... .
Oklahoma______________ ____ _
Texas........................................ .

2,333
226
454
351
1,303

2,415
240
482
353
1,340

2,830
288
565
402
1,576

3,410
403
637
485
1,885

3,469
340
634
528
1,967

3,397
329
636
522
1,910

All other States...........................................

27,100

28,375

32,553

36,739

37,997

36,816

United States...____ _____________ _____
Southern States...................................... .

1944

1 Source: Federal Security Agency, Social Security Administration. Workers are reported by State
of last employment in year.
2 Figures do not necessarily add to totals because of rounding.
BENEFITS

To be eligible for benefits a worker must have worked in covered
employment for certain periods, with earnings of at least $50 in each
2 In 1940, 7.4 percent of the population of the non-Southern States were 65 years or older, while only 5.4
percent of the people of the 13 Southern States were that old.




SOCIAL SECURITY

141

period, prior to his death or his attaining the age of 65.3 Under cer­
tain conditions of eligibility the wife and children of an insured
worker and certain surviving dependents may draw benefits. The
amount of each type of benefit4 is obtained by applying appropriate
fractions to the wage earner’s primary benefit amount. This latter
amount is based on the worker’s wage history and is derived by using
a single benefit formula.
In measuring the regional differentials in average benefits each type
of benefit should be studied separately, since the difference in average
total benefits is distorted by the dissimilarity between the South and
the rest of the country in the proportions of the various types of
benefits. The greater prevalence of large families in the Southern
States leads to a much higher proportion of child’s benefits in this
region than in the rest of the country. On the other hand, primary
benefits are considerably less important in relation to total benefits
than in the other States.
The average monthly amount of benefits in force in the South,
June 30, 1946, ranged from $10.62 for a child to $21.63 for the primary
beneficiary. At that date the average child’s benefit in the rest of
the country was $13.15 and the average primary benefit was $24.94.
(See table 46.) There have been no marked changes in the differentials
in types of benefit payments during the past few years.
Adequacy o f O ld-A ge and Survivors Insurance in the South

The benefits paid out under the old-age and survivors insurance pro­
gram have brought real economic relief to aged workers and their
families and to surviving dependents. This is particularly true in
areas where incomes are meager and the old-age benefit is often the
only source of income. Nevertheless, the operation of the program*
3 In general, a worker is fully insured if he has received $50 or more in wages for covered employment in
half the quarters elapsing after 1936 (or his twenty-first birthday if it is later) and up to the quarter in which
he reaches age 65 or dies. A minimum of 6 quarters is necessary. After a worker has 40 quarters of coverage
he is permanently fully insured, regardless of whether he is in covered employment thereafter. Prior to
1947 a worker was currently insured if he had wage credits of not less than $50 for each of not less than 6
of the 12 quarters immediately preceding the quarter in which he died. For claims applications filed after
1946, a worker is currently insured if he received $50 or more in wages for covered employment in 6 quarters,
of the period consisting of the quarter of death and the 12 preceding quarters.
* The primary benefit is paid to a fully insured retired wage earner aged 65 or over. The wife’s benefit,
equal to one-half the primary benefit amount, is paid under certain conditions to the wife, aged 65 or over,
of a primary beneficiary.
The child’s benefit, equal to one-half the primary benefit amount, is paid under certain conditions to
the child of a primary beneficiary or a fully or currently insured deceased worker.
The widow’s benefit, equal to three-fourths the primary benefit amount, is paid under certain conditions
to the widow, aged 65 or over, of a fully insured worker.

The widow’s current benefit, equal to three-fourths the primary benefit amount, is paid under certain
conditions to the widow of a fully or currently insured worker, provided she has in her care a child of he'
deceased husband entitled to child’s benefits.
The parent’s benefit, equal to one-half the primary benefit amount, is paid under certain conditions to
the dependent parent of a fully insured deceased worker.




142
T

able

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH
46.— O ld-Age and Survivors Insurance: Average M onthly Am ount o f Benefits
in Force,1 by T ype o f Benefit, June 30 , 1946 2
Average monthly amount oi benefits in force
Region
Total

Primary

Wife’s

ChUd’s

Widow’s Widow’s Parent’s
current

United States________________

$18.97

$24.48

$12.92

$12.49

$20. 20

$19.93

$13.05

Southern States ____________
Southeastern States______
Southwestern States______
All other States 3
_____________

15. 59
15.42
15.97
19.70

21.63
21.56
21.78
24.94

11.30
11.33
11.21
13.15

10.62
10.47
10.96
13.15

18.40
18.30
18.65
20.43

17.40
17.13
17.98
20.63

11.76
11.51
12.48
13.45

1 Represents total benefits awarded after adjustment for subsequent changes in number and amount of
benefits and terminations, cumulative from January 19403 Source: Federal Security Agency, Social Security Administration.
3 Includes Alaska, Hawaii, and Foreign.

falls far short of the good it could accomplish if its benefits were
increased and its coverage extended Such extensions would have
particular significance in the Southern States, where State and local
finances are often insufficient to care adequately for aged workers
and their dependents.
In 1940 the number of beneficiaries under OASI represented 0.12
percent of the total population in the South as compared with 0.22
percent in the rest of the country. As of June 30, 1945, 0.61 percent
of the population in the South were monthly beneficiaries, compared
with 1.12 percent in the rest of the country. Conceivably, with an
increasingly older population, about 8 to 12 percent of the population
of the non-Southern States may become recipients of benefits under
OASI. Without an extension of coverage, however, not much more
than about 4 to 6 percent will receive benefits in the South.
Only about 1.2 percent of the people aged 65 or over in the South
were beneficiaries in 1940. This compared with 1.9 percent in the
country as a whole. As of June 30, 1946, the aged beneficiaries in
the Southern States were 6.3 percent of the population aged 65 and
over as compared with 10.4 percent for the country as a whole. If
no extension of coverage is enacted, eventually, when at least half
the aged population in the country is receiving benefits, perhaps a
fourth in the South may be doing so.
Even though the average wage benefit formula has been devised to
give greater relative benefits to those whose wages during employ­
ment were in the lower brackets, primary benefit amounts are lower
in the South then in the rest of the country. This is so not only
because wage rates are lower but also because a greater proportion
of all covered workers have worked part of the time in noncovered
employment and thus cannot have all their earnings counted in the
computations of their benefits.
An extension of coverage to farm workers, domestic servants, and
the self-employed (the latter would cover the numerous farm owners



SOCIAL SECURITY

143

or tenants in the South) would go far to remove the differential in
coverage between the South and the other States.5 The differential
in benefits due to lower earnings will not change as long as earnings
are lower in the South. There is sufficient justification, however,
for increasing the level for the whole country. The increase in cost
of living has made the problem one of pressing importance.
Operation o f Unem ploym ent Compensation Laws
COVERAGE

The Social Security Act imposed a national pay-roll tax of 3.0 per­
cent on most commercial and industrial employers, but it permitted
90 percent of the tax to be offset by employers who paid an unemploy­
ment compensation tax to a State with an approved unemployment
compensation law. The Federal tax encouraged the passage of State
laws which are the basis for the administration of unemployment com­
pensation. All States but one have set the tax on employers at 2.7
percent— 90 percent of the Federal tax—while a few States have a
tax on the wages of employees. Forty-five States have adopted ex­
perience ratings which reduce the tax for many employers, chiefly on
the basis of their experience in payments of benefits to former em­
ployees. Since 1939 the Federal tax has been applied only to the
first $3,000 paid by an employer to any one individual, and the States
have also limited their tax to this amount.
The Federal unemployment tax applies to employers of 8 or more
persons in at least 20 weeks during a calendar year, and does not cover
certain categories of workers— those engaged in agriculture, domestic
service, government, nonprofit organizations, and railroads.6 Many
of the State laws exclude the same employers as the Federal law; but
more than half the States cover smaller business, and some cover a
few kinds of work not subject to the Federal tax.
The cost of administering the various unemployment laws is borne
by the Federal Government and is covered by the excess of the pay­
roll tax above the credit allowed the States. Under the provisions
of the Federal law the States have had wide latitude in the administra­
tion of the unemployment compensation laws. They determine the
coverage of the laws, the amounts of benefits to be paid, the conditions
for the payment of benefits, and the general policies of administration.
The Federal law imposes certain responsibilities on the Federal Gov­
ernment and sets forth certain requirements which the State systems
must meet.*
•
* In 1940, 36.5 percent of the labor force in the South were farmers, farm workers, or domestic servants.
In the other States only 14.1 percent were in these occupations.

• Unemployment compensation for railroad employees is administered separately under the Railroad
Act.

Retirement




144

LABOR IN TH E SOUTH

During 1945, 42.5 million persons worked at some time in employ­
ment covered by State unemployment laws; for the 13 Southern
States combined the comparable total was 9.1 million (but this latter
figure includes some duplication because of persons earning wages in
more than one Southern State during the year). This coverage, for
the country as a whole, increased from 31.9 million in 1940, with 6.7
million (including duplication) in the South (table 47). These
figures, however, include many persons who worked for only short
periods in covered employment and failed to earn sufficient wages to
qualify for benefits.
The figures on average employment covered by State unemploy­
ment laws are somewhat closer to the number of persons who would
qualify for unemployment compensation by reason of meeting the
requirements with respect to the amount of earnings. (In the United
States as a whole, average covered employment is estimated to be
about 10 percent below the number of “ insured” workers.) Average
monthly employment in covered industry in the United States rose
from 23.1 million in 1940 to a peak of 30.0 million in 1944. The pro­
portion of this employment in the Southern States remained fairly
constant, about 17 percent, over the period, rising from 3.9 million
in 1940 to 5.3 million in 1944 (table 48).
Considerably fewer persons qualify as eligible for unemployment
benefits because of failure to meet all the State eligibility and qualify­
ing requirements. The number of beneficiaries depends not only on
the number who earn sufficient wages in covered employment in the
base period, but also on the workers being actually fully or partially
T a b l e 47.— Unemployment Compensation: Workers With Wage Credits, United States

and Southern Regions, 1940-451

Number of workers with wage credits (thousands)

1 Source: Federal Security Agency, Social Security Yearbooks, and unpublished data. Estimated num­
ber of different workers in each State who have earned wages in covered employment during some period
of year,
2 Total adjusted to eliminate duplication due to shifting of workers between States during year.



SOCIAL SECURITY

145

T a ble 48.— Unemployment Compensation: Average M onthly E m ploym ent1 in Industries
Covered by State Unemployment Compensation Laws, United States and Southern
Regions, 1 9 4 0 -4 6 2
Average monthly employment (thousands)
Region

1946
(first 6
months)3

1940

1941

1942

1943

1944

1945 3

Total, United States.................

23,096

26,814

29, 350

30,818

30,026

27,994

28,046

Southern States.........................
Southeastern States______
Southwestern States______

3,941
2,649
1,292

4,705
3,188
1,517

5,308
3,523
1,785

5,478
3, 559
1,919

5,334
3,468
1,866

5,030
3,281
1,749

4,993
3,275
1,719

All other States.........................

19,155

22,109

24,042

25,340

24,692

22,964

23,053

1 Source: From data in Social Security Yearbooks for 1940-44; Employment Security Activities, March
1946, for preliminary estimates for 1945; and September 1946, for preliminary estimates for the first 6 months
of 1946.
2 Average number of workers in covered employment in last pay period of each type (weekly, semi­
monthly, etc.) ended in month for 1940-44. For 1945 and 1946 the pay period ending nearest the 15th of the
month was used.
3 Preliminary.

unemployed, being “ able and available for work,” registering for
work, filing a claim for benefits, and serving tbe required waiting
period. The number of beneficiaries will, of course, fluctuate with
the volume of unemployment. Table 49 shows the number of bene­
ficiaries in the United States and in the Southern States in the week
ended December 14, 1946, and the number and month of highest and
of lowest number from the beginning of the program until December
1946.1
2
T a ble 49.— Unemployment Compensation: Beneficiaries in W eek Ended D ec . 14, 1946 ,
and in High and Low M onth Since Beginning o f the Program to December 1946 ,
United States and Southern States 1
Number of beneficiaries in—

Region and State

High month 1
Week end­
ed Dec.
14, 1946 Number
Date

Total, United States...................................... 2 798,000 1,641,732 Jan. 1946
Southeastern States____________________
56,310
Virginia_________ __________*_____
3,982
31,359 July 1938
North Carolina..........................................
37,072 June 1938
6,900
South Carolina..........................................
2,400
10,465 Mar. 1939
Georgia......................................................
5,231
19,109 Aug. 1940
Florida. ......................................................
4,401
20,656 Aug. 1940
Kentucky. .................................................
6,264
20,858 May 1939
Tennessee......... .................................. ......
13,055
33,194 Feb. 1946
Alabama............................................... ...
11,513
32,814 May 1938
Mississippi........................................... .
2,564
11,023 Mar. 1940
Southwestern States.......................................
27,339
Arkansas...............................................
4,378
12,628 May 1940
Louisiana...................................................
8,237
24,178 Feb. 1946
Oklahoma....... ..........................................
5,296
19,133 Feb. 1946
Texas.........................................................
9,428
30,911 Mar. 1939

Low month i
Number

Date

56,354

Nov. 1943

212
466
268
405
532
946
1,218
649
212

Nov.
Dec.
Oct.
Oct.
Apr.
Aug.
May
May
Nov.

1944
1944
1944
1944
1944
1944
1945
1944
1944

180
526
220
592

July
Nov.
Apr.
July

1944
1943
1945
1944

1 Source: Federal Security Agency, Social Security Administration. For years prior to 1940, data are
average weekly number of payments during month. For the years 1940 through June 1946, data are average
weekly number of beneficiaries. From July 1946 through December 1946, data are average number of
beneficiaries during weeks ended in month.

2 Includes estimates for California and South Dakota.




LABOR IN TH E SOUTH

146

Benefit rights may be canceled or reduced by certain disqualifica­
tions for workers who might otherwise be eligible to receive them.
For voluntarily quitting, for discharge for misconduct, for refusal to
accept suitable work, and for stoppage of work due to labor disputes,
benefits may be denied from 1 week to the duration of the unemploy­
ment, or they may be reduced for all or part of the duration.
The various eligibility and qualification requirements result in the
disapproval of a considerable number of claims. Many other claim­
ants return to work before receiving a single benefit payment. While
only 63.8 percent of new claimants in 1946 ever became beneficiaries,
the 13 States in the South show a still stricter record: with 11 of
these States below the national average, 5 had less than 50 percent
of the new claims approved (table 50).

T able

50 .— Unemployment Compensation: Proportion o f N eiv Claimants W ho Became
Beneficiaries, >1946, United States and Southern States 1

New claim­
ants, total

State

Beneficiaries receiving first
payment
Number

United States_______ _________________________ _____
Virginia________________________ ____ ____ _____ ____
North Carolina...................... .............. i ______________
South Carolina______ _______ _____ ________ _____ ____
Georgia.............................— ................................... .........
Florida........................ ........................................... ...........
Kentucky. ____ _________________ ________________
Tennessee-------- ------------- ----------------------------------------Alabama---- --------- ---------- --------------------------- --------- Mississippi________________________________________
Arkansas____ _________________________ ____________
Louisiana__________________________________________
Oklahoma______________________________ ____ ______
Texas..---------------------- --------------------------------------------

7,003,924
68,366
59,605
31,243
53,351
71,852
86,138
101,452
95,173
32,809
70,525
98, 754
77,256
166,939

Percent of new
claimants

4,468,300

63.8

48,711
33,392
12,184
29,064
36,444
35,317
66, 789
54,961
12,919
35,770
45,480
40,385
77,408

71.3
56.0
39.0
54.5
50.7
41.0
65.8
57.7
39.4
50.7
46.1
52.3
46.4

i Source: Federal Security Agency, Social Security Administration.
BENEFITS
By December 31, 1946, over 10 billion dollars had been paid into
the State accounts of the unemployment trust fund held by the
Federal Treasury, representing contributions collected and interest
accumulated. Of the total fund, 1,383 million dollars was in the
accounts of the 13 Southern States. By that date 3,716 million
dollars had been paid out in benefits of which 406 million was for the
13 Southern States. In these States the ratio of benefits to collec­
tions plus interest was 29.3, while in-the other States it was 36.0.
The somewhat smaller ratio of benefits to collections and interest in
the Southern States reflects the fact that these States generally have
greater restrictions in the payment of benefits and that the average
benefit is smaller in amount and duration.




147

SOCIAL SECURITY

The conditions under which workers may receive benefits and the
amounts they may receive are specified by the various State laws.7
A worker’s eligibility for benefits and the amount which he may receive
in a 12-month period is determined by his record of employment and
wages during a past period. Table 51 shows, for the Southern States,
the maximum duration and maximum amount of benefits in effect
at the end of 1945 as well as the average weekly benefit for total
unemployment in 1940 and in September 1946. In no case does the
average benefit equal that for the country as a whole. Increases in
benefits during the period were roughly equivalent to increased
earnings.
Adequacy o f Unem ploym ent Compensation in the South

Only 10.7 percent of the civilian population in the South was
employed in covered industry in an average week in 1940, compared
with 20.2 percent in the rest of the country. By 1944 these propor­
tions had increased to 15.5 percent and 26.6 percent, respectively.
The greater relative increase in the South results from the greater
relative increase in manufacturing employment in that area, along
with a greater decrease in farm population.
T a b l e 51 .— Unemployment Compensation: Selected Data on Benefits,

United States

and Southern States 1
Average
weekly benefit
for total
unemployment

Maximum
benefits2
Region and State

Statutory minimum number of
workers for employer coverage2

Dura­
tion in
weeks

Weekly
benefit
amount

United States________
Southeastern States:
8 or more in 20 weeks__________ _ _
Virginia. _
North Carolina___ 8 or more in 20 weeks...........................
South Carolina___ 8 or more in 20 weeks----------------------Georgia
8 or more in 20 weeks_______________
Florida................... 8 or more in 20 weeks or $5,000 quar­
terly pay roll.
Kentucky.............. 4 or more in 3 quarters of preceding
year to each of whom $50 is payable
in each such quarter; or 8 or more in
20 weeks.
Tennessee..........
8 or more in 20 weeks______
Alabama........... . 8 or more in 20 weeks
Mississippi........... 8 or more in 20 weeks
Southwestern States:
Arkansas________ 1 or more in 10 days........ ...... ......... .
Louisiana_____ _ 4 or more in 20 weeks
Oklahoma
8 or more in 20 weeks_______________
T exas................... 8 or more in 20 weeks............. ..............

1940

Septem­
ber 1946

$10.56

$18.27

16
816
816
3 16
16

$15
20
20
18
15

7.68
4.68
6.71
6.56
9.72

13.42
12.41
14.16
13.63
13.62

320

16

7.88

11.46

3 16
20
3 14

15
20
15

7.48
6.52
6.03

12.81
15.75
12.39

16
20
20
18

15
18
18
18

6.36
8.02
9.84
8.07

13.12
15.29
16.37
14.81

1 Source: Federal Security Agency, Social Security Bulletin, August 1945 and November 1946.
2 Coverage in effect on June 30,1945. An employer becomes subject to the State unemployment insurance
law when he has employed the specified minimum number of workers on at least 1 day in each of the specified
number of weeks within the current or preceding calendar year.
8 Uniform duration of benefits.
7 See Unemployment Insurance in section on State Labor Legislation in the South, p. 134of this bulletin.



148

LABOR IN TH E SOUTH

The exclusion of farmers and workers in agriculture as well as
domestic service from the State unemployment compensation laws
is the most important reason for the relatively smaller coverage in the
South. Other exclusions (principally railroad workers, employees
of the various governments, maritime workers, and employees of
small employers) brought the percentage of the total labor force
covered by unemployment compensation to 31.6 in the South in 1940
as compared with 49.0 for the country as a whole.8
An estimated 2 million workers were excluded from coverage in the
country in 1944 owing to the exclusion of small employers.9 This
restriction was particularly important in the South, where 10 of the
13 States covered only firms with 8 or more workers. Only 13 of the
remaining 35 States have such a high size-of-firm requirement. The
presence of numerous firms of fewer than 8 employees complicates
the administration of the law in the cases of workers who change
from employers who are not covered to those who are.
Of the 27 States which provide maximum benefits of $20 or more per
week, only 3 are in the South, while of the 22 States which provide
a minimum of $6 or more per week, only 1 is in the South. Likewise,
as to the duration of benefits, 32 States provide duration of benefits
for 20 weeks or more, but only 4 are in the South. Only 3 of the
Southern States had average benefits in September 1946 of $15 or
more, while 29 of the remaining 38 States had average benefits of this
amount.

s Federal Security Agency, Social Security Bulletin, July 1945, p. 7.
9 Issues in Social Security, A report to the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representa­
tives, 1946 (p. 397).




XI.— Development of Trade-Unionism in the South 1
There has been a measure of trade-union activity in the South since
the 1880’s, and there were isolated instances of the existence of labor
organizations prior to that time. During the past 60 years, union
organization and membership in the South has risen with every major
upsurge of organized labor activity nationally. Since 1900 a con­
tinuous labor movement, confined during much of the time to certain
of the skilled crafts, has functioned in the region. After more than a
decade of effort beginning with the N RA period, union organization
has established itself in the southern iron and steel, coal mining,
shipbuilding, petroleum refining, pulp and paper, and tobacco indus­
tries, and has penetrated cotton textiles, hosiery, and furniture.
Lumber workers remain largely unorganized. The more traditional
areas of organization, in construction, printing, railroading, longshore
work, and the like, have been materially strengthened.
No complete account of the development of the labor movement in
the South has been written; indeed, much basic research remains to be
done before a definitive history can be prepared. The purpose of this
section is to present the main outline of the story as an aid to perspec­
tive in viewing current developments in labor organization in the
region.
The Knights o f Labor in the South

The Noble Order of the Knights of Labor was founded in Phila­
delphia in 1869 by an obscure group of garment workers. Its member­
ship climbed slowly to 71,000 in 1884 and skyrocketed to 730,000 two
years later. The organization became, for a brief period, the chief
vehicle of labor protest against the conditions that attended the rapid
spread of industrial capitalism in the United States during the latter
part of the nineteenth century.
Assemblies i of the Knights were organized in Alabama and Ken­
2
tucky as early as 1879, but membership was not appreciable, in the
region until 1884.3 During the next 4 years, the movement spread
rapidly. The first assembly in North Carolina was formed in June
1884;4 by 1887 assemblies had been organized in most of the counties

i Prepared by H. M. Douty, Chief of the Bureau’s Labor Economics Staff.
3 The “assembly” was the unit of organization. Assemblies were composed of workers in one calling or
els e were “mixed”; i. e., composed of workers in various occupations and industries. Most of the assemblies
in the South were of the latter type.
3 Frederic Meyers: The Knights of Labor in the South (in Southern Economic Journal, April 1940, p. 483).
« H. M. Douty: Early Labor Organization in North Carolina, 1880-1900 (in South Atlantic Quarterly,
July 1935).



149

150

LABOR I N TH E SOUTH

of the State.5 Incomplete data for 1888 show 487 assemblies in 10
Southern States, including 101 in North Carolina, 65 in Louisiana, 64
in Alabama, 56 in Kentucky, and 54 in Virginia.6 Meyers estimates
that the membership of the Knights in 10 Southern States was about
30,000 in 1886.7
Although the strength of the organization was most pronounced
in the larger cities, local assemblies were scattered throughout the
region. The poorer farmers contributed substantially to the member­
ship of the Knights. Mitchell writes that of “ 112 assemblies in Ala­
bama, Georgia, North and South Carolina which wrote in to the
weekly journal [of the Knights] in 1888, 47 said their members were
mainly farmers, 3 had mostly cotton mill hands, and 62 either had a
mixture of farmers and artisans or did not state the composition.” 8
Some effort was made to reach colored workers: there were a number
of Negro assemblies in the South and some assemblies included both
Negroes and whites. The Order was officially opposed to race
discrimination.
According to its minute book,9 Local Assembly No. 3606 in Raleigh,
N. C., agitated for the 10-hour day, helped to conduct national
boycotts, brought in speakers on labor subjects, encouraged study
among its members, aided financially distressed brothers, and at­
tempted to influence legislation. The movement touched many
people with its message of the worth and dignity of labor and of the
benefits of solidarity.
In a number of communities, cotton-mill operatives were organized.
A long work stoppage took place at Augusta, Ga., where some 4,000
mill workers were out for about 2 months in an unsuccessful wage
dispute. Other disputes involving cotton-mill workers occurred at
Cottondale, Ala., Greenville, S. C., Maryville, Tenn., and Roswell,
Ga. There were coal strikes in 1888 at Whiteside, Tenn., and at
Pratt Mines, Ala. Sugar workers struck at Schriever, La., in 1887
and lumber workers at Ray, Ala., in 1890. The Knights also started
many cooperative enterprises 1 in the South and participated actively
0
in politics in some areas.
The Knights of Labor reached its greatest strength nationally in
1886, and thereafter declined rapidly. The peak in the South came
a year or so later, but the decline was equally sharp. The town ele­
ments drifted away, and the remnants of the farm membership were
attracted by the great Populist movement that developed in the region
during the 1890’s.

*North Carolina Bureau of Labor Statistics, Annual Report, 1887 (p. 224).
• Meyers, op. cit. The 10 States are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North
Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
7 See footnote 6.
8 George S. Mitchell: Textile Unionism and the South (Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press,
1931) pp. 23-24.
9 This minute book has been preserved in the North Carolina Historical Commission Library in Raleigh.
Most of these enterprises were short-lived, but some lasted for a number of years.




DEVELOPMENT OF TRADE-UNIONISM

151

Beginnings o f Permanent Unionism Under Am erican Federation
o f Labor

Almost a decade passed between the flurry of organization under
the Knights of Labor and the second period of active union effort
in the South. The American Federation of Labor, completely over­
shadowed by the Knights in the 1880’s, managed to survive the deep
depression of the nineties. Its membership was about 272,000 in
1897; under the stimulus of rising prices and generally prosperous
business conditions, membership expanded to 1,556,000 in 1903.
During this period, the Federation established a narrow base in the
South.
Samuel Gompers became interested in the organization of southern
workers as early as 1894.1 At the American Federation of Labor
1
convention in 1898, the executive council was instructed to place
organizers in the southern area. Mr. Gompers was able to report to
the 1899 convention that the “ workers of the South are manifesting
their appreciation of our efforts by forming unions, and uniting with
our fellow workers in all parts of the country.” * The convention
1
i2
instructed the executive council to take additional measures to stim­
ulate organization in the South.1
3
For 3 or 4 years following 1898 labor activity was substantial in
the South. Many groups of skilled workers formed local unions and
affiliated with the national union of their craft.1 The movement on
4
the railroads, among the building trades, and in printing was highly
significant. Some of these locals survived the decline in activity that
occurred after 1902, combined into State federations of labor, and
formed a permanent base for the labor movement in the region.
While skilled workers were rapidly forming unions, organization
reached the factory employees and the Alabama coal miners. Little
headway was made in the tobacco manufacturing industry. Locals
of the International Tobacco Workers’ Union were formed in North
Carolina, Kentucky, and perhaps elsewhere in the South, but most of
these locals quickly disintegrated. The union complained bitterly of
the opposition of the “ Tobacco Trust.” 1
5
The movement in cotton textiles was more vigorous and appeared
first in Augusta, Ga., where the mills, late in 1898, announced a wage
cut. The workers formed local unions and affiliated with the National
Union of Textile Workers. This union had so few northern members

n Samuel Gompers: Severity Years of Life and Labor (New York, Dutton, 1925), I (p. 419).
A. F. of L. Proceedings, 1899 (p. 9).
n Idem (p. 65).
ii In North Carolina in 1901, for example, there were 26 locals of building trades workers, 13 of railroad
workers, 8 in printing, and 11 locals of other types of skilled workers. See North Carolina Bureau of Labor
and Printing, Annual Report, 1901 (pp. 386 ff.).
i« E. Lewis Evans; Tobacco Workers (in American Federationist, September 1903).
12




152

LABOR I N TH E SOUTH

that the southern workers found themselves in a majority. Prince
Greene of Columbus, Ga., was president from 1898 to 1900, and
secretary-treasurer from 1900 until the next year, when the United
Textile Workers’ Union was formed.
When the wage cut was made effective in Augusta, the operatives
in 8 mills struck. The workers eventually returned at the lower
rate, but on the basis of no discrimination against the strike leadership
and with several minor concessions from the employers. Moreover,
the union was able to maintain itself in the Augusta area.1
6
In the meantime, textile locals appeared in North and South
Carolina, with the employers resorting to lock-outs to destroy union
organization.1 The decisive test in North Carolina occurred in the
7
fall of 1900, when a strike lasting more than a month affected all of
the mills in Alamance County. The strike, which had its origin in a
minor incident, developed into a major fight for the right to organize.
Evictions, the lack of adequate relief, and a slow market for cotton
goods caused the strike to collapse.1 The defeat broke the back of
8
cotton-mill unionism in the Carolinas.
On April 1, 1901, President Gompers of the American Federation
of Labor arrived in Danville, Va. The textile local there had decided
to attempt to gain the 10-hour day.1 When shorter hours were
9
refused, the operatives walked out. The strike lasted for a number
of weeks, but ended in defeat for the men. After the Danville defeat,
union membership in the South was again confined to the Augusta
district. In the fall of 1901, the Augusta locals attempted to obtain
a 10-percent wage increase. Ultimately, about 7,000 operatives were
directly involved. The newly organized United Textile Workers
contributed funds for the relief of the strikers and aided in other
ways. The strike was unsuccessful, the Augusta locals were broken,
and thus ended the first substantial movement for cotton-mill union­
ism in the South.
The United Mine Workers entered the^ Alabama coal fields not
long after its formation in 1890. By 1902, some 65 percent of the
Alabama miners were organized. Many of the operators entered
into collective-bargaining agreements with the union. A strike
occurred in 1904 when some of the companies refused to deal with
the union.
The real test of union strength came 4 years later, when the re­
mainder of the operators refused to renew the union agreement.

w Mitchell, op. cit. (pp. 27 ff.).
17 It is known that lock-outs occurred in Greenwood, Abbeville, and Bath, S. C., and at Greensboro and
Fayetteville, N. O.
18 Holland Thompson: From Cotton Field to Cotton Mill (New York, Macmillan Co., 1906) pp. 193-195.
*• Apparently as a result of union agitation, the mill, which had been operating 12 hours daily, had an­
nounced late in 1900 that from January 1 to April 1 the schedule would be 10 hours, with 11 hours for the
remainder of the year. The workers wanted a flat 10-hour schedule.



DEVELOPMENT OF TRADE-UNIONISM

153

The union struck on July 6, 1908, and the stoppage lasted for about 2
months. Negro miners made up a substantial proportion of union
membership in Alabama. White and colored miners exhibited marked
solidarity during the struggle, but the race issue, raised by the
companies, contributed greatly to the defeat of the strike.2
0
Quiescent Years

, 1 9 0 2 -1 4

Union activity in the South between 1902 and the World War I
period was confined largely, although not entirely, to the skilled
trades. The period was not spectacular. There were many minor
victories and numerous minor defeats for the skilled workers in
unions. No major disputes occurred. Tangible improvement in
economic position was secured in many situations as the result of
persuasion or strike.
An indication of what happened may be furnished by random
instances in North Carolina in 1906 and 1907. In the former year,
the clerks of Salisbury organized and secured the earlier closing of
stores; tinners in Charlotte won the 9-hour day; the printers in Wil­
mington gained an 8-hour day; a wage increase of 10 percent was
secured by the machinists of Goldsboro. In 1907, the Asheville
plumbers struck for the 8-hour day and compromised on .9 hours;
the carpenters in Canton won the 9-hour day; in Wilmington, a
cotton mill reduced hours from 11 to 10 when the employees, with
the support of the local craft unions, asked for the reduction; the
carpenters in Raleigh struck unsuccessfully for the 9-hour day.
These instances of union effort could be multiplied many times for
the South as a whole. Taken together, their effect was not incon­
siderable in the gradual improvement in labor standards that occurred
in the region and in the remainder of the country during the decade
preceding World War I.2 There are no reliable estimates of union
1
membership in the South during this period. It is certain that
membership was relatively small.
A short but dramatic union episode during this period involved
the lumber workers of the Southwest. The Brotherhood of Timber
Workers, an independent union, was formed in 1910.2 At the peak
2
of its activity, this union had a membership of about 35,000 m the
lumber industry of Texas, Louisana, and Arkansas. About half of
the members were Negroes. In 1912 the union affiliated with the

» Sterling D. Spero and Abram L. Harris: The Black Worker (New York, Columbia University Press,
1931), pp. 356-359.
m The improvement reflected gains made through collective bargaining and through State labor legis­
lation. Between 1903 and 1909, for example, every State in the South passed child labor laws.
« The formation of the Brotherhood of Timber Workers had been preceded by a largely spontaneous
strike over wages in 1907 among the timber workers of Louisiana and eastern Texas. Industrial Workers
of the World, The Lumber Industry and Its Workers (p. 76).



LABOR IN TH E SOUTH

154

Industrial Workers of the World. Employer opposition was bitter,
and the efforts of the union to secure improvements in wages and
working conditions were punctuated by lock-outs, strikes, and vio­
lence against union members. Jensen writes: “ The union began to
crack when some of the most obnoxious causes of dissatisfaction,
such as payment in scrip and forced use of company stores and
monthly payment of wages, were modified and small wage increases
and shorter hours were granted. At the same time, the strain of
blacklisting, discrimination, and fomenting of racial conflict had an
effect. After 3 years of struggle, the union had been completely
destroyed.” 2
3
There was also a measure of organization during this period; some
desperate strikes occurred among the cigar workers of Tampa; and,
toward the end of the period, signs of restiveness among the textile
workers began to appear. In 1912, the American Federation of
Labor held its convention at Atlanta, which had the effect of stimu­
lating interest in unionism in the South. In cotton textiles, locals
were formed during 1912 at Danville and Lynchburg, Va., and at
Knoxville, Tenn. A long stoppage in Atlanta in 1914 gave the move­
ment valuable publicity, and an excursion during the same year by
the IW W into the industry at Greenville, S. C., served to point up
the workers’ grievances.2
4

,

W ar B oom and Postwar Collapse 1 9 1 4 -2 2
During World War I, manpower shortages, rising prices, and a
governmental policy favorable, on the whole, to the labor movement
lent impetus to the growth of union organization. Conditions were
generally conducive to the extension of unionism until the sharp
depression beginning in mid-1920.
The economic impact of the war upon the United States was felt
long before the country entered the conflict. Unionization, especially
among skilled workers, increased at a rapid rate from 1915 onward
The movement among factory workers did not get under way sig­
nificantly in the South until a year or two later.
The marked increase in organization among craft groups in the
South was accompanied by numerous strikes. Most of these stoppages
were on a small scale, but some, as in the case of the street-railway
employees in Charlotte and Winston-Salem, N. C., and Greenville,
S. C., developed into long and bitter struggles. Many of the strikes
during the early part of the period were over the 8-hour day issue;
later, as living costs began to rise, wage disputes were frequent
Union recognition was often one of the points at issue.

83 Vernon H. Jensen: Lumber and Labor (New York, Farrar & Rinehart, 1945), p. 91. See also Spero
and Harris, op. cit. (pp. 332-333).
24Mitchell, op. cit. (pp. 32-35).



DEVELOPMENT OF TRADE-UNIONISM

155

Aside from lumber and furniture, which remained relatively
untouched, union activity penetrated deeply into the industrial life
of the South during the First World War. Organization was extensive
in tobacco, textiles, iron and steel, coal mining, and other industries.

TOBACCO INDUSTRY
In 1915, 3,245 members voted in a referendum to elect officers of
the International Tobacco Workers’ Union.2 The only strength
5
possessed by the union at this time was in a number of small factories
(some of which were located in Kentucky) that catered to the unionlabel trade. The union had no influence among the workers in the
m ajor companies. Indeed, the union at this time was completely
dependent upon the union label for tobacco products for its existence.
Beginning in 1916, locals of the union were formed in plants of the
major companies, largely in the metropolitan New York area. Some
of these locals were established during the course of unorganized strikes
for wage increases and shorter hours.2 Successful strikes and increased
6
membership affected the character of the union. The use of the union
label as an organizing device was largely discarded in favor of direct
appeals to the workers to organize to improve their living standards.
In 1918, a number of short, spontaneous strikes occurred at the
Durham, N. C., plants of the American Tobacco Co. and Liggett &
Myers. A few of the workers sent for a union organizer. As a result,
“ a union was formed for the fy*st time among the tobacco workers of
Durham.” 2 The companies resisted vigorously, however, and the
7
union local was short-lived.
In Winston-Salem, N. C., the union met with greater success.
In March 1919, the employees of the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.,
began to organize. Membership increased rapidly. Despite some
opposition from the Negro middle class of the community, colored
workers joined in large numbers. By early summer, six large locals of
tobacco workers had been established. On August 4, 1919, after much
negotiation and the threat of a strike, R. J. Reynolds, Brown &
Williamson, Bailey Bros., and Taylor Bros, signed an agreement
providing for the 48-hour week, a 20-percent wage increase, and time
and a half for overtime.2 This union agreement represented the
8
first ever signed by a m ajor tobacco company in the South.
On the basis of its Winston-Salem success, the union reentered
Durham and reached into Reidsville, where the American Tobacco
Co. had a plant. In both cities, an appreciable membership was built
up. Organizing activity was carried on for brief periods in other

28 Tobacco Worker, November 1915.
26Idem, October 1916.
22Idem, March 1918.
28Idem, August 1919.
738211°— 47------11



156

LABOR IN TH E SOUTH

southern communities. The Winston-Salem victory was not repeated,
however, and even in Winston-Salem the union’s efforts to hold its
membership were ineffective. By 1922, the membership of the union
had been reduced to its prewar level.

COTTON-TEXTILE INDUSTRY
During the war and postwar boom, a very substantial union move­
ment developed in the cotton-textile industry. Large numbers of
workers were recruited and many strikes and some lock-outs occurred.
The union was able to secure concessions at some mills and undoubtedly
exerted material influence on conditions of work within the industry
during this period. The vigorous unionism that developed, however,
failed to survive the sharp collapse in business activity in 1920-21.
The United Textile Workers was active among the South Carolina
cotton-mill operatives during 1915 and 1916. M ills in Greenville
County were especially well organized and an appreciable member­
ship was built up at other points in the State. The discharge of union
members was the immediate point at issue in some of the disputes
that took place at Greenville, Anderson, Columbia, and Westminster
during this period. In 1917, major activity shifted to Georgia. The
most noteworthy event was the organization of the industry in Colum­
bus. A strike in this city resulted in a partial victory for the union in
a settlement finally effected through the War Labor Board.
M itchell writes of the period 1913-14:
Early in 1919 the union’s [United Textile Workers] activity in the South under­
went so many changes that it is well to regard the years from 1913 to the end of
1918 as forming a distinct period in the development of the movement. Perhaps
.the chief characteristic of these 5 years was the confinement of unionism to the
immediate vicinity of the places in which disputes concentrated the union’s forces.
The union did not have enough outside financial assistance to enable it to throw
a network of organizers through the region. Possibly its strategy was to give its
entire attention to each strike situation, in the hope that one substantial victory
would make the union’s position stronger than many quick failures. As for
membership, it signed the workers by hundreds, and sometimes, as at Greenville
and Anderson and Columbus, by thousands in the particular places in which it
happened to be engaged; but at no time did the movement show a disposition to
extend beyond the areas within easy reach of the organizers who were leading
strikes.2
9

In the sense that textile union activity penetrated wider areas, 1919
appears to differ from 1918 and earlier years. Organization reached
North Carolina and spread rapidly there, and South Carolina and
Georgia continued to be centers of union activity. The 48-hour week
had become a crucial demand. Early in 1919, strikes over the 48hour issue took place at widely scattered points in the South; in

» Mitchell, op. cit. (pp. 40-41). During the 1913-18 period, according to Mitchell, the United Textile
Workers chartered about 40 locals in the South.



DEVELOPMENT OF TRADE-UNIONISM

157

several of these cases the workweek was reduced from 60 hours to 55
hours and other mills made this same reduction voluntarily.
Union membership increased rapidly in North Carolina during 1919.
At the convention of the State Federation of Labor in August, the
claim was made that 30,000 workers had joined the union during the
preceding few months.3 B y September, 43 locals had been chartered
0
by the United Textile Workers in North Carolina.3 The impetus to
1
organization in North Carolina apparently came from a relatively
successful strike growing out of local issues in Charlotte. In February
1919, a number of North Charlotte mills removed a wartime bonus of
35 percent of wages. Operatives in the weave room of one of the mills
walked out and called in union organizers.3 The strike spread.
2
Finally, a settlement was negotiated which provided for the reinstate­
ment of all workers without discrimination as to union affiliation; the
55-hour week; incorporation of the bonus in the wage bill; and free
house rent for the duration of the strike. Union recognition was not
achieved. A similar settlement was made after a lock-out of 1,500
workers in East Charlotte.3
3
The settlement made in Charlotte was satisfactory enough to those
involved to enable the union to hold its membership. Indeed, the
union obtained members at other mills in the Charlotte area not
affected by the dispute, and the gains made in Charlotte were broad­
cast in mill communities throughout the State. The growth of the
movement in North Carolina was accompanied by a whole series of
strikes, many of which resulted in improved conditions for the strikers.
Organization flowed over into the hosiery industry in High Point. In
addition to Charlotte, stoppages occurred in cotton mills in Concord,
McAdensville, Albemarle, Mooresville, Salisbury, Raleigh, Gastonia,
and elsewhere in the State during 1919.
It was during this period that the United Textile Workers, for the
first time, was able to point to substantial achievements in the form of
reductions in hours, increases in wages, and some improvements in
working conditions. Had the prosperity of the textile industry
continued for a period of years, the union might possibly have en­
trenched itself strongly in the South. However, it is not at all certain
that this would have happened, even if prosperous conditions had
continued, because employer opposition was vigorous and many of
the workers, who rushed into the union under the spur of specific
grievances, tended to lose interest when these grievances were adjusted.
In North Carolina, for example, the declining vitality of the movement
was apparent in 1920. Membership slowly dropped away, despite

so News and Observer (Raleigh, N. C.), August 12,1919.
Mitchell, op. cit. (p. 47).
32 Observer (Charlotte, N. C.), February 26-28,1919.
33 Idem, May 31,1919.



LABOR IN TH E SOUTH

158

the persistent efforts of a corps of organizers. The sharp depression
beginning in 1920 and continuing through 1921 provided the occasion
for the virtual disappearance of union strength.
The union in the South did not break before a final struggle centering
in and around Charlotte, N. C., where the union had retained a con­
siderable membership. With the advent of the business depression
in 1920, the mills began to reduce wages. By the spring of 1921,
daily wages had been cut between 30 and 50 percent and the mills were
running part time. The national officials of the United Textile
Workers were extremely reluctant to sanction a strike, as requested
by the North Carolina locals. Business conditions made a successful
outcome doubtful; moreover, union funds were so low as to preclude
the payment of strike benefits. However, a conference of representa­
tives of 40 North Carolina locals was held at Concord on April 30,
1921. At this conference, the United Textile Workers agreed to lead
the strike, and the representatives of the local unions agreed to waive
their right to strike benefits. The national union promised such
financial assistance as its funds would permit.3
4
About 9,000 workers answered the strike call on June 1, 1921.
M ills in Charlotte, Rock Hill, Huntersville, Concord, and Kannap­
olis were affected. The mills were under no pressure to reopen.
After the strike had continued for some weeks, an antiunion pub­
licity campaign was inaugurated. For over 2 months, however, the
strikers stood firm. Then the Governor dispatched troops to Con­
cord and Kannapolis to restrain picketing, although no violence had
occurred. The workers drifted back to the struck mills. B y the
end of August the strike was completely over. The workers went
back under the wage rates prevailing when the strike was called.
The union lost most of its membership. Thus ended the war and
postwar boom period of textile unionism in the South.

COAL MINING, STEEL, AND OTHER INDUSTRIES
The W orld War I period provided a fresh opportunity for the
United Mine Workers in the Alabama coal fields. In 1917, the
union reentered the district. After building an appreciable member­
ship, the union secured wage increases through strike action. Union
recognition was not obtained.
Alabama miners participated in the national coal strike that began
on November 1, 1919. A commission, appointed by President Wilson
to study the situation and make an award, granted an increase in
wages and urged the Alabama operators to “ arrange to meet with
representatives of the miners and put into effect the award.” Ap­
parently, most of the operators were willing to grant the wage increase,

34 Mitchell, op. cit. (pp. 51-52),



DEVELOPMENT OF TRADE-UNIONISM

159

but they were not willing to establish contractual relations with the
union. The United Mine Workers, however, insisted upon the crea­
tion of joint machinery for the settlement of disputes. The national
officers of the union ordered a State-wide strike for September 7,1920.
About 12,000 of the 27,000 coal miners in Alabama at that time
walked out. About three-fourths of the strikers were Negroes.
There was a good deal of disorder, and the National Guard was sent
into the fields shortly after the dispute began. “ The Alabama
scene,” according to Spero and Harris, “ was as primitive and brutal
as any of the earlier coal tragedies in which white men had been the
sole participants.” 8
6
After 5 months, the strike began to weaken, although most of the
men still held out. A t this point, the union and the operators agreed
to arbitrate the issues in dispute: (1) union recognition; (2) abolition
of subcontract system; (3) reemployment of strikers; (4) readjust­
ment of the day wage rate; (5) machiiiery for the settlement of dis­
putes. The. Governor of Alabama, who served as sole arbitrator,
ruled against the union on every point. He held that the operators
were under no obligation to reemploy striking miners. This award
spelled temporarily the end of organization among the Alabama coal
miners. After having spent 3 million dollars in Alabama, the United
Mine Workers found itself with only a handful of determined unionists
retaining membership cards.
Unionism also appeared during this period in the Alabama iron
and steel industry. Unions of skilled craftsmen—machinists, sheetmetal workers, electricians, and others— entered the steel mills and
metal working shops of the Birmingham district, and obtained a
substantial membership. The International Union of Mine, M ill,
and Smelter Workers organized the ore mines and also enrolled
those workers in the mills who were not included in the various
metal-trades unions.
When the companies refused the 8-hour day and other demands put
forward by the workers, a general metal-trades strike was called.
The strike was not successful. As a result of this defeat, Birmingham
took little part in the great steel strike of 1919.3
6
In 1919, two American Federation of Labor unions— the Inter­
national Timber Workers Union and the United Brotherhood of
Carpenters and Joiners—recruited members among southern logging
and sawmill workers. Union activity centered in Bogalusa, La.,
which was then among the largest lumber centers in the world. The
Timber Workers were active at other points as well. Company op­
position was bitter, and union members, both white and Negro, were*

* Spero and Harris, op. cit. (p. 361).
» Idem (pp. 247-249).



160

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

subject to discrimination. A vigilante group was formed by the
anti-union forces. On November 22, 1919, this group entered the
union office in Bogalusa, killing Lum Williams of Mississippi, leader
of the lumber workers in the Bogalusa area, and two other union men.3
7
The episode effectively ended organizing efforts in the lumber in­
dustry in the South at that time.
Clearly, a fairly extensive labor movement existed in the South
during the World W ar I period. B y 1922 or earlier, however, union­
ism had been liquidated in many of the industries m which substantial
strength had been built up during the preceding 6 or 7 years. Cotton
textiles, tobacco, iron and steel, and coal mining could muster, at
best, a mere handful of xmion members, and unionism as a positive
force had ceased to be of any importance in these industries. A
measure of organization which had been built up in the petroleum
industry in Texas had evaporated. Furniture and lumber had
scarcely been touched by the wartime development. The southern
labor movement by 1922 was again composed overwhelmingly of locals
of skilled workers, although a residue of influence of factory unionism
remained.

,

Upsurge in Textiles 1 9 2 2 -2 9

Union activity in the southern textile industry did not entirely
cease after the collapse of the movement in 1921. In a number of
places in the South, local labor people managed to keep the spark of
unionism alive in the cotton industry. Some help was obtained
from the American Federation of Hosiery Workers.3 This union
8
became concerned about 1925 with the development of the fullfashioned hosiery industry in the South.3 After that year, “ the
9
union has kept organizers in the South continuously, meeting the
industry as it expanded in that section. It has not been content
with sending organizers from the North, but has developed a southern
leadership which now [1938] makes up the great m ajority of the
southern organizing staff of the Federation.” 4
0
The textile industry in the South, in contrast with the New Eng­
land industry, was relatively prosperous during the years following
1922. Union activity reappeared on a small scale in North Carolina.
Textile locals were reorganized in Charlotte, Salisbury, and a number
o f other towns during 1922 and 1923. Several small strikes occurred
in the Charlotte area and in the spring of 1923 many mills raised*

37 Jensen, op. cit. (pp. 91-94).
33 Prior to 1933, when it assumed jurisdiction over seamless hosiery workers, this union was known as the
American Federation of Full-Fashioned Hosiery Workers.
33 George W. Taylor: The Full-Fashioned Hosiery Worker (Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania
Press, 1931), p. 83.
* Laurence Rogin: Making History in Hosiery (Philadelphia, American Federation of Hosiery Workers,
1938), p. 15.



DEVELOPMENT OF TRADE-UNIONISM

161

wages 10 percent or more.4 In the fall of 1924 the workers in a Lex­
1
ington, N. C., mill conducted a successful 1-week strike against a
wage reduction.4 Some gains were made through a strike of unor­
2
ganized workers in the spring of 1925 at a cotton mill in Wilmington,
N. C.4 There were several other small strikes in North Carolina
3
in 1925 and 1926.
An important dispute began on August 4,1927, when the unorgan­
ized employees of a cotton mill in Henderson, N. C., walked out.
These workers were attempting to obtain restoration of a wage cut
made in 1924; they complained also about the condition of the mill
houses and other matters. The strikers were aided by an organizer
for the hosiery workers, and aroused the interest of officials of the
State Federation of Labor. The walk-out lasted for about a month.
Under threat of eviction from company houses, the workers returned
to their jobs.4 The dispute revived the whole question of textile
4
unionism in the Upper Piedmont, and led to the formation late in
1927 of the Piedmont Organizing Council under the leadership of
Alfred Hoffman of the hosiery workers. This group, in cooperation
with local unions and city central bodies, conducted general union pro­
paganda. Southern delegates to the 1928 convention of the American
Federation of Labor laid plans for a union drive. Thus, toward the
end of the decade, signs pointed to an expansion of union activity.
In the meantime, a new grievance had developed. In New England,
industrial rationalization was being utilized in an effort to arrest the
decline in cotton manufacturing in that area.4 Southern mill manage­
5
ment could not be indifferent to this new development. Consequently,
the installation of efficiency systems in the South became widespread.
The new production methods frequently were introduced quite
abruptly, often without adequate technical preparation. Little effort
was made to enlist the cooperation of the mill workers. The opera­
tives themselves called the new techniques the “ stretch-out” and
added another grievance to the list that included low wages and long
hours. The “ stretch-out” was a contributing factor of considerable
importance in the series of explosive strikes in 1929.
In 1929 cotton-mill strikes occurred in Gastonia and Marion, N. C.,
and at a number of places in South Carolina-—Ware Shoals, Green­
ville, Woodruff, Central, Anderson, and Union. In addition, a bitter
dispute in the rayon industry took place at Elizabeth ton, Tenn.

4* American Federationist, July 1923 (p. 593); Mitchell, op. cit. (pp. 57-58).
« Idem, December 1924 (p. 1001).
« Idem, April 1925 (pp. 268-269).
« News and Observer (Raleigh, N. C.), August 11-September 10,1927; Mitchell, op. cit. (pp. 61-62).
4« During the 1920% the cotton manufacturing industry in New England was cut down by bankruptcy
and voluntary liquidation. On the other hand, well over a million spindles, with a proportionate amount
of complementary machinery, were added to southern equipment between 1923 and 1929. During the
latter year, southern mills accounted for 76.3 percent of total cotton consumption in the United States.



162

LABOR IN TH E SOUTH

These stoppages cannot be described in detail, owing to space limita­
tions, but their chief characteristics should be briefly noted.
The Loray mill in Gastonia, N. C., was selected by the National
Textile Workers’ Union, a Communist-controlled organization affiliated
with the Trade Union Unity League,4 as the first objective in a drive
6
for southern membership. Organization work began in January 1929.
In this mill, an intensive drive to lower production costs had begun
in 1927, with the result that “ although expenses decreased and pro­
duction mounted, to the great satisfaction of the board of directors,
the operatives reacted violently against the new system and the man
who inaugurated it.” 4 Worker discontent became so great that
7
the company in late 1928 replaced its resident manager and promised
to lessen the intensity of the efficiency program.
The National Textile Workers’ Union apparently was able to recruit
membership rapidly in this situation. On March 25, 1929, five active
unionists were discharged. The strike began on April 1, when approxi­
mately 1,800 of the 2,000 workers left the mill. The strike did not
last effectively for much more than 2 weeks. After the first few days,
the workers began to drift back to the mill, although the mill remained
somewhat handicapped in its operations until the latter part of M ay.
The economic demands of the strikers received no consideration.4
8
The political beliefs of the strike leadership were made the central
issue and the State militia was sent into the community. Strikers
were roughly handled, union headquarters were wrecked, workers
were evicted from company-owned houses, and the dispute ended in
a paroxysm of violence.
In Marion, N. C., another bitter dispute occurred, under the leader­
ship of the United Textile Workers of the American Federation of
Labor.4 The strike began on July 11, when 650 operatives of the
9
East Marion Manufacturing Co. walked out. For a time, the workers
of the nearby Clinchfield Manufacturing Co. were also involved.
This strike was related directly to the “ stretch-out.” When the
superintendent of the East Marion mill added 20 minutes to the
10-hour work-shift to recoup installation losses for which the manage­
ment was responsible, a committee of operatives sought union assist­
ance. As in Gastonia, the strike was called when the mill began

The Trade Union Unity League and the unions affiliated with it were later disbanded after a change in
Communist Party lines on trade-union tactics.
Robin Hood: The Loray Mill Strike (unpublished M. A. thesis, University of North Carolina, 1932,
p. 25). This thesis contains perhaps the best account of the Gastonia strike. See also B. U. Ratchford:
Economic Aspects of the Gastonia Situation (in Social Forces, March 1930); Tom Tippett: When Southern
Labor Stirs (New York, Jonathan Cape and Harrison Smith, 1931), chapter 6; and Mitchell, op. cit. (pp.
70-75).
<8The union demands included (1) a minimum wage of $20 per week, (2) the 40-hour week, (3) better
working conditions, (4) the addition of screens and bathrooms to the company houses, and (5) union recogni­
tion.
49 see Tippett, op. cit., chapters 7-8.



DEVELOPMENT OF TRADE-UNIONISM

163

discharging active unionists. A month later, workers at the two
Clinchfield mills were locked out. The lock-out was converted into
a strike.
The strike lasted for 3 months. It was called off after troops had
stopped all forms of union activity and after a conference had been
arranged to work out a settlement. A “ gentlemen’s agreement” was
reached at the conference for (1) a trial reduction in the length of
the workweek (to 55 hours); (2) the reemployment of all but a few
of the strikers; and (3) the election of worker committees to deal with
management. The reemployment provisions of this agreement were
not kept. The situation was particularly bad at the East Marion
plant. On October 1, the night shift walked out. When the day
shift appeared, armed deputies inside the mill released tear gas and
fired at the workers. Six strikers were killed and 30 wounded. Seven
deputies were tried for murder; all were acquitted; four union men,
on the basis of an earlier minor incident, were subsequently convicted
of rioting. This ended the union effort at Marion.6
0
The 1929 stoppages in South Carolina were largely spontaneous
and in some instances the workers indicated that they did not desire
union participation. About 1,200 workers quit successfully at Ware
Shoals in March in protest against a recently installed efficiency
system. A short strike at Pelzer was settled at a conference of the
strike committee and the mill management. A long dispute in four
plants of the same company in Greenville and Woodruff ended without
substantial gain for the workers. A 1-day strike against the “ stretch­
out” ♦
was settled favorably at Central. Other strikes occurred at
Anderson and Union.
There were no union organizers on the scene on March 12, 1929,
when 5,000 employees of the Bemberg-Glanzstoff rayon companies
in the mountain town of Elizabethton, Tenn.,'"began their walk-out.
N ot until the dispute got under way were requests for organizers sent
to the American Federation of Labor. Low wages, long hours,5 and
1
the stretch-out were among the causes of discontent. The strikers
demanded a 25-percent wage increase and union recognition. Injunc­
tions were issued against the strikers and troops were sent in.
The strike ended after 11 days. The companies agreed to equalize
the wages of men in the two plants, to raise the wages of women by
about 20 percent, and to meet with employee committees over griev­
ances. The union was not recognized.
Shortly after the end of the strike, many active unionists were dis­
charged. On April 3, two union men, including the personal repre­
sentative of President Green of the American Federation of Labor,

w As a result of the strike, hours were reduced. A sewer system and plumbing were installed in the East
Marion village. The Olinchfield mills granted a small wage increase.
« Average weekly wages were about $15 for males and $10 to $11 for females for a 56-hour week.



164

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

were kidnapped in Elizabethton and carried from the State. They
returned several days later accompanied by President Green. A mass
discharge of unionists occurred on April 15 and 4,000 workers walked
out in a second strike. Again troops were brought in and a considera­
ble amount of violence developed. The union’s funds were not ade­
quate for the relief problem created by the strike. The strikers began
drifting back to work and on M ay 25 a settlement was negotiated.
This settlement again did not include union recognition.
After the strike, a company union was installed and an elaborate
company welfare program inaugurated. The United Textile Workers
tried unsuccessfully to hold its membership. An abortive strike took
place in March 1930, marking the final collapse of the union in
Elizabethton.
The 1930 Organizing Campaign

Tremendous enthusiasm for a southern organizing campaign was
displayed at the 1929 convention of the American Federation of
Labor.6 The executive council of the Federation reported: “ These
2
workers in the South are poor and they have suffered much by the
recent strikes. It will take time to develop self-supporting unions.
Responsibility for establishing higher wages and better conditions of
employment must rest with the national and international unions.” 6
8
A resolution for an organizing campaign introduced by the United
Textile Workers was adopted.
The drive got under way on January 6, 1930, at a large conference
in Charlotte, N. C. Among those at the conference were 229 dele­
gates from southern unions, organizers from 26 national unions and
the Federation, delegates from seven State federations and from a
number of city central bodies, and local workers from 95 different
crafts. It was decided to establish headquarters at Birmingham, and
a coordinating committee of three was selected. A t the height of
the drive, more than 50 organizers were in the field.5
4
Part of the initial strategy of the campaign was to convince em­
ployers of the advantages of trade-unionism. During the years of
relative economic stability following 1922, the labor movement had
become increasingly interested in union-management cooperation and
in production problems. The United Textile Workers itself had par­
ticipated in a union-management cooperation effort since 1924 in the
Naumkeag Steam Cotton Mills at Salem, Mass.6 *
5
8
4

A F. of L. Proceedings, 1929 (pp. 225-283).
MIdem (p. 60).
84 Idem, 1930 (pp. 85-86).
»«See Richmond C. Nyman and Elliott Dunlap Smith: Union-Management Cooperation in the “StretchOut” (New Haven, Yale University Press, 1934) for a detailed account of the Naumkeag experiment.
«2




DEVELOPMENT OF TRADE-UNIONISM

165

A t least at this time the union-management cooperation idea failed
to appeal to either employers or workers in the South.5 Therefore,
6
a more militant approach was adopted. Two factors served as barriers
to success. The first was the general business depression beginning in
the fall of 1929. In the second place, the union resources available
for the campaign were not large. Despite these obstacles, 112 new
local unions had been organized in the South by September 1930; 81
of these locals were in industries other than textiles.5 The 31 new
7
locals of the United Textile Workers were found in Virginia, North
and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee.
The strength of cotton unionism was in the upper Piedmont. In
North Carolina, the union signed up large numbers of workers at the
Marshall Field mills in Leaksville-Spray and Draper, and at the great
Cone mills in Greensboro. In Danville, Va., the union built up a
substantial membership at the Riverside and Dan River Cotton
Mills.
The test came at Danville, where the unqualified refusal of the
company to deal with the union made a stoppage almost inevitable.
For months, the mill refused to meet with union representatives;
during the same period active union workers were being discharged.
The national convention of the United Textile Workers authorized a
strike and 95 percent of the union members in Danville voted for a
walk-out. The strike of 4,000 workers began on September 29, 1930.
The strike had substantial support from the community at large.
All offers of mediation were refused by the company. Injunctions
restrained effective picketing. Strikebreakers were imported. Minor
acts of violence occurred and State troops were sent in. Eviction
notices were issued. The relief problem faced by the union increased
in seriousness as the months passed.
The strike was broken after 5 months. The Danville defeat
marked the end o f the southern organizing campaign.6 Textile-union
8
membership elsewhere in the South melted away, although the United
Textile Workers retained a small following in the region.5 The
8
5
9
deepening economic depression provided poor soil for new union
growth.
Labor Unrest in D epression

The depression did provide the occasion for two instances of largely
unorganized labor revolt in the South. During the summer and fall
m Jean Carol Trepp: Union-Management Cooperation and the Southern Organizing Campaign (in
Journal of Political Economy, October 1933).
« A. F. of L. Proceedings, 1930 (p. 86).
58 See Tippett, op. cit., chapter 10; Herbert J. Lahne: The Cotton Mill Worker (New York, Farrar &
Rinehart, 1944, pp. 221-224.)
» See reports in the Textile Worker, 1932.




166

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

of 1932, a series of strikes swept over North Carolina.6 The ranks
0
of the strikers were composed of seamless-hosiery workers, fullfashioned hosiery workers, silk workers, cotton-mill operatives, and
furniture workers.
On July 18, 1932, a few hundred stocking boarders walked out of
six hosiery mills at High Point, N. C. The walk-out was in protest
against a drastic wage reduction, the second of the year. The move­
ment spread until 24 hosiery mills employing 5,000 seamless-hosiery
workers were closed.6 After 10 days, the dispute was settled by the
1
restoration of the wage cut and certain other concessions.
On August 23, workers in three cotton mills in Rockingham walked
out. The demands included restoration of two wage cuts made dur­
ing the year, the 10-hour day, and a reduction in the rent of companyowned houses. Railroad union locals in Spencer and Hamlet, textile
workers in Salisbury, and farmers from the surrounding countryside
provided food for the strikers. The stoppage lasted for almost 2
months. None of the strikers1 objectives were gained except the
reinstatement of all employees. Other North Carolina strikes during
this period involved 600 full-fashioned hosiery workers in High Point,
about the same number of cotton-mill workers in a mill village near
High Point, 500 employees of a silk works in High Point, and a
thousand furniture workers in Thomasville.
Walk-outs during 1932 were largely spontaneous. The seamlesshosiery workers in High Point formed an independent union during
their strike; this unaffiliated union had a checkered career for several
years and then expired. In Rockingham, an independent union was
formed just prior to the strike and collapsed when the walk-out failed.
Some workers in High Point joined the American Federation of FullFashioned Hosiery Workers and the American Federation of Silk
Workers.
In the Kentucky coal country, where unionism had never de­
veloped, revolt also flared over the conditions produced by wage cuts
and part-time work during the depression. Discharges for union
activity accompanied the beginnings of unionization. In April 1931,
18,000 miners walked out under the leadership of the United Mine
Workers. After a gun battle between miners and deputies at Evarts,
the militia was sent into Harlan County. The leadership of the
strike shifted to the Industrial Workers of the World. The strike
was broken. An attempt by the Communist National Miners'
Union to call a strike in neighboring Bell County on January 1, 1932,
failed.

60 For a detailed account of these stoppages see H. M. Douty: Labor Unrest in North Carolina, 1932 (in
Social Forces, May 1933).
61 Owing mainly to the action of roving bands of unemployed workers, over 150 industrial plants in and
around High Point were closed for a few days.



DEVELOPMENT OF TRADE-UNIONISM

167

The N R A Period

These labor disputes, and others of lesser significance, revealed the
existence of deep unrest. With the passage in 1933 of the National
Industrial Recovery Act, which guaranteed to labor in section 7 (a),
the right to bargain collectively through representatives o f its own
choosing, large numbers of workers in the South and elsewhere crowded
into unions. As it turned out, the labor provisions of the Recovery
Act were not highly effective because of the lack of adequate enforce­
ment machinery. However, the collective-bargaining clause of the
act, together with a measure of industrial recovery, unquestionably
gave rise to a great upsurge of union activity.
Some unions were more active during the N RA period than others.
The United Mine Workers, for example, sent a corps of organizers
into the coal country. The third major attempt to organize the Ala­
bama field began in the summer of 1933. By 1935 the union had
more than 23,000 members in Alabama, more than half of whom were
colored. On M ay 26, 1937, the United Mine Workers signed con­
tracts with every mine in the State.6 The miners' union also ob­
2
tained a large membership in Tennessee. In August 1938, the
Harlan County Coal O p era tor Association signed the standard
Appalachian agreement, thus ending an era in the history o f “ bloody
Harlan.” 6
3
The tobacco workers' union extended its influence during this pe­
riod. As early as November 1933, the union reported that 90 per­
cent of the white workers in the cigarette department of the American
Tobacco Co. in Durham, N. C., had joined the organization.6 B y
4
the summer of 1934, the white employees of Liggett and Myers in
Durham had also organized, and there was union membership in
Reidsville and Winston-Salem. The union also established locals in
Virginia. Negro tobacco workers were drawn into the movement,
but were not at this time effectively integrated into the union. By
the end of the N RA period, the union had a contract with the Brown
and Williamson Tobacco Co. and with a number of smaller firms,6
5
and apparently exerted some influence on them ajor companies.
Although some unionism developed in the southern iron and steel
industry during the N RA period, the movement was not strong
enough to exert much influence on labor relations. Some union locals
were formed among Alabama ore miners. The petroleum industry
in the Southwest was penetrated for the first time since the W orld

« United Mine Workers Journal, June and July 1937.
« idem, October 1938.
w Union Herald (Raleigh, N. 0.), November 2,1933.
MHerbert R. Northrop: The Tobacco Workers International Union (Quarterly Journal of Economics,
August 1942). This article contains an excellent account of the development of the union, including an
analysis of the internal straggle that resulted in a change in national leadership in 1939.



168

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

War I period. Union activity in the southern lumber and furniture
industries was meager. On the other hand, many of the workers in
the semiskilled and skilled trades were organized in most of the south­
ern cities, some for the first time. M any city central bodies were
revived, some new ones organized, and functioning city centrals
greatly strengthened.
The most spectacular development in southern unionism during
the N RA period occurred in cotton textiles. The United Textile
Workers quickly gained a substantial membership in cotton mills
throughout the region; the hosiery workers’ union also w;as active.
Discharges for union activity and other violations of the labor pro­
visions of the N RA were numerous. The “ stretch-out” problem was
intensified by the efforts of mill managements to cut costs in face of
the minimum-wage and maximum-hour provisions of the cottontextile code. Scattered local strikes did not prove effective in improv­
ing conditions in the industry. A t the union convention in August
1934, delegates from the South joined with delegates from New
England in calling for a general strike. The convention fixed Septem­
ber 1 as the date for the stoppage.
Unsuccessful efforts were made to forestall the strike. On Septem­
ber 1, about 100,000 cotton operatives in the South walked out. A t
its peak, the workers on strike in the South numbered about 170,000.6
6
Shortly after the beginning of the strike, President Roosevelt appointed
a board of inquiry. This board recommended: (1) that a new
textile labor relations board be appointed; (2) that the Federal Trade
Commission investigate the ability of the industry to support a higher
wage structure; (3) that the cotton, wool, and silk codes be amended
to permit the functioning of a special committee to regulate the
“ stretch-out” ; (4) that a study be made by the U. S. Department of
Labor of occupational wage rates in the industry.
On the basis of these recommendations, the United Textile Workers
called off the strike on September 22. Subsequently, President
Roosevelt appointed a textile labor relations board to investigate al­
leged violations of section 7 (a) of the NRA, to arbitrate questions
voluntarily submitted, and to exercise such functions as might be
granted by code provision. This board appointed a special committee
to investigate the subject of the “ stretch-out.” The Bureau of Labor
Statistics initiated a survey of hours and earnings in the principal
textile industries and the Federal Trade Commission began a survey
of the financial condition of textile enterprises.

66 The vast majority of those on strike in the South were cotton-textile workers. The strike was extended
to the wool and worsted, silk, hosiery, and miscellaneous textile industries, but these industries (except
hosiery) were very thinly represented in the South.




DEVELOPMENT OF TRADE-UNIONISM

169

This greatest of all textile strikes brought few tangible or immediate
gains to the workers. The companies did not recognize the union, wages
remained unchanged, and, as it turned out, the new textile board was
no more effective than the old in protecting the right of workers to or­
ganize and bargain collectively. The use of the “ stretch out” was ap­
parently tempered. The workers themselves interpreted the result as
a defeat. M any were refused employment at the end of the strike, and
union membership declined sharply during the months that followed.
The textile strike marked the high tide of unionism in the South
during the N RA period. Loss of the strike had unfavorable reper­
cussions upon union organization in other industries. In textiles,
however, the union retained part of its membership, and gains in
other industries by no means disappeared. When the N RA (in M ay
1935) was declared unconstitutional, the labor m ovem ent-in the
South was considerably stronger than it had been 2 years earlier.6
7

,

N ational Labor Relations A ct Union Rivalry
1 9 3 5 -4 5 6
8

, and

W a r Years

Two developments in 1935 were to have great significance for the
labor movement in the South and elsewhere.
Less than 2 months after the invalidation of N RA, the National
Labor Relations A ct became law. One of the purposes of this act
was to continue and strengthen the collective-bargaining provisions
of section 7 (a) of the National Recovery Act. The act asserted that
employees in industries under its jurisdiction had the right to self­
organization, and employers were forbidden to engage in certain
“ unfair labor practices” that tended to discourage union membership.
The act also placed upon employers the duty to bargain collectively
with representatives freely chosen by their employees. The effective
administration of the act was initially hampered by the question of
constitutionality; this question was resolved in April 1937.6
9
Shortly after the 1935 convention of the American Federation of
Labor, a group of union leaders formed the Committee for Industrial
Organization (CIO). This action represented almost the last stage

Labor organization in southern agriculture is not covered in this article. It should be noted, however,
that the Southern Tenant Farmers Union (now the National Farm Labor Union affiliated with the Ameri­
can Federation of Labor) was formed in 1934. For an exhaustive account of farm labor unionism in the
South see Bureau of Labor Statistics Bulletin No. 836, Labor Unionism in American Agriculture (pp.
256-356).
68 The writer is indebted to the Union and Management Research Division of the Bureau’s Industrial
Relations Branch for assistance with this section.
69 Associated P rm v. National Labor Relations Board, 301 U. S. 103; National Labor Relations Board v.
Jones F . Laughlin Steel C orp., 301U. S. 1; National Labor Relations Board v. Fruehavf, Trailer Co., 301U. S.
49; N ational Labor Relations Board v. Friedman-Harry M arks Clothing Co., 301U. 8.58; Washington, Virginia
& M aryland Coach Co, v. N ational Labor Relations Board, 301U. S. 142.




170

LABOR IN TH E SOUTH

in a long conflict within the Federation over the appropriate form of
union organization for the mass-production industries. Involved
were the jurisdictional claims of the craft unions in the steel, auto­
motive, rubber, and similar industries. A substantial minority
opinion within the Federation held that such industries could only
be effectively organized on an industrial basis.
Almost immediately after the organization of the Committee,
requests for organizing assistance began to pour in from workers in
many industries, and the Committee was soon carrying on a tremen­
dous organizing campaign. In 1938, the Committee became the
Congress of Industrial Organizations, thus creating a rival to the
existing labor federation.7
0
In terms of the southern labor movement, the most outstanding
action of the CIO was the creation, in March 1937, of the Textile
Workers Organizing Committee in agreement with the United Textile
Workers.7 In the organizing campaign that followed, the TWOC
1
proceeded cautiously, utilizing fully the procedures of the National
Labor Relations Act. Strikes were avoided wherever possible. A
recession in business activity, beginning in the fall of 1937 and lasting
into 1938, tended to slow the drive.
As of M ay 31, 1941, the Textile Workers Union (CIO ), which had
grown out of the Organizing Committee,7 had won National Labor
2
Relations Board representation elections in 46 southern cotton mills
employing over 32,000 workers; in addition, the union had been certi­
fied without elections as collective-bargaining agent in five southern
mills. In these 51 mills, however, the union had been able to secure
actual collective-bargaining agreements in only 29. As of M ay 31,
1941, the union had 23 collective agreements covering over 17,000
workers with southern cotton mills.7
3
After 1941, the union advance continued slowly. Contracts were
signed with a number of the larger mills, including the Erwin Cotton
M ills and the Kendall Mills. An important election, and subsequently
an agreement, was won at the Riverside and Dan River Cotton M ills.7
4
The tempo of the union’s activity in the South during 1943-46 can be
gaged from the report of its executive council to the fourth biennial

70 An excellent brief account of the formation of the CIO may be found in Harry A. Millis and Royal E.
Montgomery: The Economics of Labor: Organized Labor (New York, McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1945), III
(pp. 201-242).
71 In 1939, a group of locals of the United Textile Workers was reinvested with the charter of that organi­
zation by the American Federation of Labor. In the same year the Textile Workers Organization Commit­
tee and the majority group in the United Textile Workers united to form the Textile Workers Union of
America (CIO). Thus, at the present time both the AFL and the CIO have unions competing for member­
ship in the textile industry. See Herbert J. Lahne: The Cotton Mill Worker (New York, Farrar & Rine­
hart, 1944), pp. 262-269, 273-277.
72 See preceding footnote.
78 Lahne, op. cit. (pp. 270-271).
t* Textile Workers Union of America, Third Biennial Convention, 1943, Proceedings (pp. 121-122).



DEVELOPMENT OF TRADE-UNIONISM

171

convention: “ The union’s organizational progress in the South con­
tinued slowly but certainly. From Virginia to Alabama we picked
up mill after mill during the 3 years, all but a few of them cotton
mills. TW UA also invaded Texas for the first time, winning elections
in 11 mills in the eastern part of the State. . . . In point of numbers,
workers organized during the 3 years in the South were principally
concentrated in North Carolina and Georgia.” 7 It was stated that
6
20 percent of the southern cotton and rayon workers were represented
by the Textile Workers Union.7
6
Meantime, the United Textile Workers (AFL), which was recon­
stituted in 1939, also made some progress in the South. B y Septem­
ber 30, 1942, the U TW had won bargaining rights in nine southern
cotton mills employing almost 6,000 workers 7 and additional gains
7
were made later.7 Membership in the United Textile Workers
8
nationally has increased rapidly from a very small number in 1939.7
9
The bulk of the membership in both AFL and CIO unions at present
is in branches of the industry other than cotton.
W ith respect to the South, the existing situation is different from
any existing in the past. Cotton unionism is functioning in the
South; a number of mills, including some very large units, are under
contract.8 Nationally, textile unionism has never been -stronger.
0
However, the bulk of the industry in the South remains unorganized.
As previously stated, the Tobacco Workers International Union
(AFL) concluded collective-bargaining agreements with a number of
companies in the industry during the N RA period. In 1937, after
the validation of the National Labor Relations A ct by the Supreme
Court, the union negotiated agreements with Liggett and Myers,
American Tobacco Co., and Philip Morris covering workers in their
North Carolina and Virginia plants. In 1940,. after a hard fight,
agreements were signed with P. Lorillard Co. for employees in Louis­
ville, Ky., and in New Jersey.8 * The Food, Tobacco, Agricultural and
1
Allied Workers Union (CIO) has some membership in the industry,
notably at the large Winston-Salem, N. C., plant of theR . J. Reynolds
Tobacco Co.

78Idem, Fourth Biennial Convention, 1946, Executive Council Report (pp. 46-47)*
78Idem (p. 49).
77 Lahne, op. cit. (p. 275).
78 See the Textile Challenger, official organ of the union.
78 When rechartered in 1939 by the American Federation of Labor, membership in the United Textile
Workers was only 1,500. See Anthony Valente: Let's Talk About Textiles (in American Federationist,
April 1946, pp. 16-17).
80 For an analysis of union agreements in cotton manufacturing in 1945, see Rose Theodore: Union Agreements in the Cotton Textile Industry (in Monthly Labor Review, March 1946, pp. 413-423).
81John O'Hare: The Tobacco Worker (in American Federationist, June 1946, p. 22). See also Herbert
R. Northup: Tobacco Workers International Union (in Quarterly Journal of Economics, August 1942,
pp. 615-616).
738211°— 47------12




172

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

B y the close of 1944, approximately 90 percent of the workers in
the industry (cigarettes, chewing and smoking tobacco, and snuff)
were employed in plants which had trade-union agreements. Agree­
ments negotiated by the Tobacco Workers International Union
covered almost three-fourths of the organized workers. In the cigar
industry, about half the workers were organized in 1944. The
Cigar Makers’ International Union (AFL) had its major strength in
the Florida area; most of the cigar workers under agreement with the
Food, Tobacco, Agricultural and Allied Workers (CIO) were em­
ployed outside the region.8
2
Possibly the most dramatic of all the CIO organizing campaigns—
in the steel industry8 — started in 1936. In March 1937, a formal
3
agreement was signed between the Steel Workers Organizing Com­
mittee and various subsidiaries of the United States Steel Corp.,
including the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Co. in Birmingham.
B y this agreement the union was recognized as the collective-bar­
gaining agent only for those employees who were its members. In
Birmingham, about 5 years elapsed before the union, in a series of
representation elections under the National Labor Relations Act,
obtained sole bargaining rights. By 1943, however, steel unionism
was well established in Birmingham. In addition to Tennessee Coal
and Iron, the union (now the United Steel Workers) has won bargain­
ing rights in other iron and steel plants in Alabama and in metal
fabricating plants, as well. Iron-ore miners in the Birmingham area
are represented by the International Union of Mine, M ill and Smelter
Workers (CIO).
The union situation in other industries is briefly noted. A very
substantial organization has been built up in the southern pulp and
paper industry by the Pulp, Sulphite and Paper M ill Workers (AFL).
M ost employees of the Tennessee Valley Authority work under agree­
ments negotiated with the Authority by various unions affiliated
with the AFL.8 In 1944, the United Rubber Workers (CIO) had
4
11 agreements and 9 locals in the South.8 The locals were situated
5
in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, and
Kentucky. B y 1942, the Oil Workers International Union (CIO)
had 28 working agreements in the petroleum industry in Louisiana
and Texas.8 In 1943, the organizing work of the union was revital­
6

« Eleanor T. Royer: Union Agreements in the Tobacco Industry (U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,
Bulletin No. 847, 1945), pp. 1-2, 13-14.
m A good account of the organizing campaign in steel may be found in Frederick H. Harbison’s “Steel,”
in Harry A. Millis (ed.): How Collective Bargaining Works (New York, Twentieth Century Fund, 1942),
pp. 510-534.
84 American Federationist, January 1943 (p. 21).
85 United Rubber Workers, Officers’ Report, Ninth Annual Convention, 1944 (pp. 29-31,40-43).
86 Oil Workers’ International Union, Reports of the Executive Council, Thirteenth Convention, 1942
(pp. 10-17).



DEVELOPMENT OF TRADE-UNIONISM

173

ized, and material progress was reported at subsequent conventions.
It is now (1946) estimated that over 60 percent of the workers in the
refining branch of the industry are working under the terms of
collective bargaining agreements, largely with the Oil Workers Inter­
national Union.
The National Federation of Telephone Workers (independent)
had more than 13,000 members in 1944 in its Southern Federation of
Telephone Workers (covering the territory of Southern Bell in 9
Southeastern States, including Louisiana).8 The union also had
7
members in Texas. For a decade, the Amalgamated Clothing Work­
ers (CIO) has conducted active organizational work in the men’s
clothing industry, primarily cotton garments, in the South, and has
built up an appreciable membership. The United Garment Workers
(AFL) also has membership in the region. The International
Ladies Garment Workers Union (AFL) reported more than 11,000
members in some 60 locals in its Southwestern District in 1944.8
8
Apparently, this district covers part of Illinois and Missouri, in ad­
dition to Texas, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Locals of the union are
also found at Atlanta, Knoxville, and elsewhere in the Southeast.
As of 1944, the United Automobile Workers (CIO) had 31 plants
under contract in the South.8 M ost of these plants were engaged in
9
turning out war materials, including aircraft. The enormous ex­
pansion of the southern shipbuilding industry during the war was ac­
companied by extensive organization, by both AFL and CIO affiliates.
Longshore organization also increased.
It is clear that union organization in the South is substantial in
character and is no longer restricted to its traditional spheres in rail­
roading, printing, and a few other industries. M uch of the present
organization, of course, has developed during very recent years, and
its stability, in many cases, has yet to be tested. The existing posi­
tion has been reached, as this article in very summary terms has at­
tempted to show, after a comparatively long period marked by many
sacrifices on the part of labor and in spite of bitter defeats. The per­
sistence of the efforts of workers in the South to organize reflects the
importance attached by workers to the role that trade-unionism can
play in modern industrial society.
Even during World War II years, the great lumber industry in the
South remained virtually untouched by union organization. The
bulk of the southern textile industry is unorganized. In the furniture

87 National Federation of Telephone Workers, Executive Board Report, Tenth National Assembly,
1944, Appendix A.
88 International Ladies Garment Workers Union, Report of General Executive Board, Twenty-fifth
Convention, 1944 (p. 115).
89 United Automobile Workers, Report entitled “Automobile Unionism” submitted to 1944 convention
by R. J. Thomas (pp. 26c, 30c).



174

LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

and chemical industries unionism is weak. Food-processing has been
largely untouched, together with a great variety of service trades and
many miscellaneous manufacturing industries.
Organizing Campaign o f 1946

A new chapter in the history of southern trade-unionism began in
the spring of 1946, when both the CIO and the AFL announced
plans for major organizing campaigns in the South.9 Both organiza­
0
tions reported progress by late summer, but no appraisal is yet
possible o f the results of these efforts to extend labor organization
in the region.
Som e Factors in Southern Unionism

Historically, unionism in the South has reflected the strength and
weakness o f organized labor in the country as a whole. The relative
size of the southern movement, its scope, and its structure have been
determined, in part, by the size, scope, and structure of the labor
movement nationally. In 1929, for example, southern organization
was comparatively meager. In that year, however, only 10.9 percent
of the employed wage earners in manufacturing in the country as a
whole were organized, and this figure includes the railroad shop
crafts.9 M oreover, 71.5 percent of all trade-union members in 1929
1
were in five industry groups— mining, building, transportation, cloth­
ing, and paper and printing.9
2
Unquestionably unionism in the South has had— and to some
extent still has—greater obstacles to overcome than unionism in
most other parts of the country. The retarding factors listed below,
however, are not to be regarded as characteristic exclusively of the
South. They exist in some measure elsewhere in the Nation.
(1) Industrialism on a substantial scale in the South is comparative­
ly recent. M any of those who now compose the industrial working
force have come direct from farms; many others are only one gener­
ation removed from the land. Strong unionism requires sustained
collective action, and the habits and attitudes that promote such
action grow in part out of the discipline that industry itself imposes.
As urban-industrial behavior patterns more and more supplant
agrarian behavior patterns among southern workers, cohesive union­
ization may more easily be achieved.
(2) M any groups of southern workers occupy an exposed position
and are difficult to organize because of the pressure on industrial-job

so A convenient statement of CIO objectives may be found in the May 1946 issue of its Economic Outlook,
The AFL drive was opened at a large conference in Asheville, N. C., in May 1946. See Report, Third
Biennial Southern Labor Conference.
91 Leo Wolman: Ebb and Flow in Trade Unionism (New York, National Bureau of Economic Research.
1936), p. 123.
92 idem (p. 87).



DEVELOPMENT OF TRADE-UNIONISM

175

opportunities of large numbers of desperately poor people from the
agricultural areas. The labor market has rarely been firm in the
South except in time of war. During the next decade or two, the
competition for industrial jobs may increase depending upon (a) the
rate at which agricultural labor is displaced because of technological
and market factors; (b) the rate at which job opportunities in southern
industry are created; (c) the rate at which migration out of the South
takes place.9
3
(3) Historically, the company-owned town has been another ob­
stacle to union advance. This factor has been highly important in
the textile industries; it has been important also in coal mining and
some other industries. The significance of the company-owned town
as a barrier to unionism was reduced substantially with the passage
of the National Labor Relations Act.
Another locational factor is the extent to which industry in the
South is dispersed over a wide geographic area. Southern industry
characteristically is located in small and medium-sized communities.
As southern industry continues to develop, this locational pattern
undoubtedly will tend to persist. There is much to be said in human
terms for the avoidance of huge urban concentrations; the only point
being made here is that the scattered nature of southern industry
makes the process of union organization more difficult.
(4) The biracial character of the southern labor supply also pre­
sents problems in the growth of unionism. Race prejudice has been
used to break strikes in the South (and elsewhere) and to keep workers
divided along racial lines. There is membership discrimination
against Negroes by some unions.
The Negro constitutes a relatively large and permanent part of the
southern industrial labor force in such industries as tobacco, lumber,
and iron and steel. Successful unionization of such industries will
require the organization of colored workers. There is evidence to the
effect that workers among both races are beginning to realize that
economic cooperation is not only possible, but desirable. As this feel­
ing grows, general racial understanding also tends to increase. Some
unions*—the United Mine Workers is an example—have done a
magnificant job in cementing union bonds among members of the two
races.
A number of factors tend to favor union growth: (1) That elusive
but important factor, public opinion, is changing. Beginning about
1900, sentiment grew slowly in the South for various forms of labor
legislation.9 During the 1920’s, some southern ministers, editors,
4
and teachers began to voice publicly the belief that workers should
have the right to join unions if they wished to. After 1929, the reex­

68 See the section Labor Supply in the South, p. 16 of this bulletin.
m S the section State Labor Legislation in the South, p. 118 of this bulletin.
ee



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LABOR IN TH E SOUTH

amination of attitudes on many social problems among large sections
of the population accelerated the growth of general tolerance toward
union organization. This change in public opinion is more pronounced
in some parts of the South than in others. In general, opposition to
unions tends to vary inversely with the degree of industrialization.
(2) The southern working class is becoming more mature, in the
sense of having more confidence in itself as a group. The nature of
unionism is better understood, owing partly to the accumulation of
past experience with labor organization and to the growth of union
organization during the past decade; partly to the persistence of a
general union propaganda in the region coupled with the development
of a more favorable public attitude; and partly to the fact that mere
participation in industry affords lessons in collective action.
(3) Undoubtedly, a factor of great importance in the South (and
elsewhere) is the existence of the National Labor Relations Act. For
a long time workers in this country have had the unquestioned legal
right to seek collective bargaining by legal means. But until the
passage of the National Labor Relations A ct in 1935, employers did
not have placed upon them the reciprocal duty to enter into collective­
bargaining relations. Moreover, through its definition of “ unfair
labor practices,” the act deprived employers of powerful weapons
they formerly were able to use to discourage unionization.
(4) A final favorable factor at present is the existence nationally
of a stronger trade-union movement than at any time in our history
and of greater organization within the South itself than at any pre­
vious time. The AFL alone has at least doubled its membership
during the past decade, and the CIO has emerged as a powerful tradeunion center. The structure of the labor movement has altered
profoundly with the rise of industrial unions in the great mass-produc­
tion industries. As a result, any general organizing campaign in the
South is likely now to be better staffed and better financed, and to
take advantage of more flexible organizational forms, than any of the
earlier campaigns. The assistance that can be expected from those
unions already firmly established in the region is also a consideration
of material importance.




XII.— Cooperatives in the South 1
With certain exceptions, the South 2 has shown comparatively little
development in the field of consum ed cooperation. The exceptions
are cooperative credit associations (credit unions), students’ coopera­
tives, electricity associations formed under the Rural Electrification
Administration program, farmers’ associations dealing in petroleum
products and home and farm supplies, and medical care. There are,
of course, a great many farmers’ cooperatives in the South which
market their members’ farm products or purchase farm supplies (pro­
ducer goods) for them; such associations are not, however, dealt with
in this review unless they also handle consumer goods.
A t the end of 1945, the latest date for which information is avail­
able, the 13 Southern States under consideration had a total of 1,494
credit unions, or 17 percent of all such associations in the United
States; they accounted for nearly 13 percent of the membership and
11 percent of the total credit union assets. Texas alone had 334
credit cooperatives, and Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana,
North Carolina, and Tennessee had over 100 each.
The great m ajority of these credit unions were urban associations
with membership largely drawn from industrial and other employees.
Considerable numbers of the student cooperatives were also in the
cities and large towns. W ith the exception of these two groups and
the relatively small number of urban or nonfarm stores and buying
clubs, practically all of the development in these States is in rural
areas, among the farmers. As far as the records of the Bureau of Labor
Statistics show, in these States 4 cooperatives have been organized
by labor unionists. These include two cooperative store associations
started by members of a textile union in Alabama in 1936 and 1937,
respectively, and two formed by union oil-field workers in Texas in
1946.
In the cooperative provision of medical and hospital care, the South
has shown the way to the other sections o f the country. This has
been due to several circumstances: the need of a group of Cuban
cigar makers in Florida for protection against the health hazards of
their trade in a community in which they were alien in tongue and
customs, which led to the formation of their own medical facilities
many years ago; the efforts of a single physician to improve the health

* Prepared by Florence E. Parker of the Bureau’s Labor Economics Staff.
* The term “South” relates to Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi
North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.



177

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LABOR IN T H E SOUTH

of his farmer patients, which resulted in the building of a cooperative
hospital in Oklahoma; and the recent passage of a law in Texas
authorizing cooperative hospitals in rural communities, which has led
to the formation of a score of hospitals during the past year.
During the subsistence-homesteads program, many homesteads
projects were established in the South. A common accompaniment
was the formation of a cooperative association which marketed the
members’ produce or ran a store for supplying groceries and other
household goods, or both. Altogether some 50 distributive coopera­
tives handling consumer goods were formed. As of January 1, 1947
the homesteaders had bought the store property from the Govern­
ment in 21 cases and were continuing its operation cooperatively.
In the remaining cases the cooperative association had been liquidated;
in most instances the Government loan had been paid in full.
Development in Individual States

In addition to nearly 80 credit unions and about 20 electricity
associations formed under the Rural Electrification Administration
program, Alabama has a number of farmers’ purchasing associations—
one of these among sharecroppers—and several students’ cooperatives
(including 2 at Tuskegee Institute). Under the Farm Security
Administration’s subsistence-homesteads program, also, several pur­
chasing associations and health cooperatives were formed among the
homesteaders in this State. In 6 of these the homesteaders had
bought the store, and were operating it cooperatively at the end of
1946 (one of these is a Negro association).
As Arkansas had an even larger part than Alabama in the FSA
program, a considerable number of its cooperatives were those of
subsistence homesteaders. M ost of these cooperatives carried on the
marketing of their members’ produce in addition to their consumer
activities. A t the end of 1946, 6 of these (4 Negro) were still in
operation. Of the 4 Negro associations, 2 were land-leasing associa­
tions which also purchased consumer goods. Both had been con­
spicuously successful in farming the land, so much so that in one case
the owner refused to renew the lease except at a prohibitive price,
so that the association has no future unless it can obtain other land;
the lease of the other association still has several years to run. The
other 6 FSA cooperatives in this State had either been liquidated or
were in process of liquidation at the end of 1946. The State’s other
consumers’ associations included several students’ cooperatives and
farmers’ purchasing associations, 18 REA cooperatives providing
electric power, and 25 credit unions.
Florida associations include 160 credit unions, 12 electricity co­
operatives, and a small number of retail distributive associations.



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170

This last group contained (in addition to several farmers' purchasing
associations) 2 students' cooperatives (one of veterans), a store at a
migratory workers' camp, and one of the oldest Negro cooperatives
in the United States. Florida also has a number of associations,
formed by cigar makers of Cuban descent, which provide medical
and hospital care in their own clinics and hospitals; several of these
date from the 1890's and early 1900's. One of the Florida credit
unions is reported to have taken a step unusual for such organizations,
by buying land on which it is planning to build some 400 houses.
All of the subsistence-homesteads cooperatives had gone out of
existence by the end of 1946.
Georgia has 132 credit unions and 44 electricity cooperatives, a
unique association dealing only in religious films, and cooperatives
in at least five institutions of higher education. Among its retail
cooperatives are several formed by residents in low-cost housing
projects, and one is in an entirely cooperative community. A good
deal of organizing work is going on—especially among labor and
veteran groups—which is expected to result in some new cooperatives
during 1947.
The consumers' cooperatives in Kentucky consist mainly of credit
unions (104 in number) and REA cooperatives (26). The few dis­
tributive associations are those on college-campuses (including two
in settlement schools) and a few farmers' cooperatives handling petro­
leum products and/or farm and household supplies.
The consumers' cooperative movement in Louisiana includes several
cold-storage associations, a few buying clubs and stores, 13 electricity
associations, and 131 credit unions. None of the cooperatives at
subsistence-homesteads projects was in operation at the end of 1946.
Cooperatives are few in M ississippi. Even the credit unions num­
bered only 26 in 1945—the lowest of the 13 States here considered.
Electricity cooperatives totaled 23 in 1942. Other types include 2
cold-storage associations, one surviving homesteads cooperative (of
5) and a few stores; one of the latter is a students' cooperative at a
Negro college.
Credit unions are numerous in North Carolina (195 in 1945); REA
associations (30), students' associations (6), and farmers' purchasing
cooperatives (12) have also had a moderate development. One of
the farmers' associations is in a community where, with the assistance
of a local “ folk school," many activities have been organized on a
cooperative basis. Perhaps the greatest relative achievement has
been among the Negroes; their 3 associations, although not large,
have been well supported and have rendered valuable service to their
members. At least one of the farmers' purchasing groups and one of
the Negro associations have a credit union in connection. Of 4 stores



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LABOR IN TH E SOUTH

started in connection with FSA homesteads, 2 (1 Indian and 1 Negro)
remain.
In Oklahoma nearly all the farmers’ purchasing cooperatives handle
petroleum products and many deal in groceries; these are, with credit
unions, the outstanding types of cooperation, numbering 60 and 71
each. The State also has the one cooperative funeral association in
the South, 2 cooperative hospitals, several campus cooperatives and
cold-storage associations, and 23 electricity cooperatives.
South Carolina has had comparatively little cooperative develop­
ment, the representation there consisting of 35 credit unions, 24 REA
cooperatives, a few store associations (including one whose members
are colored), and several students’ associations (2 Negro). The same
situation exists in Tennessee where, with the exception of 117 credit
unions and 19 electricity associations, the consumers’ cooperative de­
velopment consists of several urban or nonfarm buying clubs and
stores, one or two campus cooperatives, a few cold-storage associations,
and a medical association in a cooperative community.
Among the 13 States here considered, Texas is easily preeminent
as regards cooperatives. A t the end of 1945 it had 334 credit unions,
or over twice as many as any of the other 12 States, and 72 REA
cooperatives. It also showed an extensive distributive development
among the farmers. There were in the State some 50 petroleum asso­
ciations, in addition to many farmers, marketing or purchasing asso­
ciations which also dealt in petroleum products. It is the only South­
ern State with a cooperative wholesale of the federated type (i. e.,
in which the members are retail cooperatives). The wholesale, at
Amarillo, has been operating since 1931, and until a few years ago
dealt almost wholly in petroleum products. Within the past few
years it had been adding new lines, has opened up two branch ware­
houses in order to serve its large territory better, and has expanded
into production. It now owns an oil-compounding plant, a feed mill
and grain elevator, and a petroleum refinery. It is affiliated with
National Cooperatives, the central purchasing agency of the consumers’ cooperative movement in this country. Under the guidance of
the wholesale, the affiliated retail associations in Texas have been
diversifying their activities; many now handle groceries and various
other merchandise. Consumers’ cooperation has only recently begun
to take hold among nonfarm groups. The very few nonfarm co­
operatives started thus far include two formed in 1946 by members
of an oil-field workers’ union.
As already noted, Texas now leads the United States in number of
cooperative hospital associations. By June 1946 there were at least
20 of these. Although one of these associations was organized in
1940 and opened its hospital in 1942, the rest have been formed during



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181

the past year. This is the result of an act passed by the Texas
Legislature in 1945, which authorized the formation of cooperative
hospitals in places of 2,500 or less. M ost of the associations thus far
formed plan to extend their service over the entire county in which
the headquarters is located.
In addition to the above types, Texas also has some 10 students'
cooperatives, the greatest development o f which is at Texas A & M
College where one association operates 25 rooming and boarding
houses for students. Another students' association operates a flying
(aviation) service. In the State there are also perhaps a score of
cold-storage associations, in addition to a number of locker plants
operated by associations whose main line of activity is marketing or
purchasing. Texas also has a unique recreation cooperative— an
association which purchased land and built an arena where the mem­
bers practice the roping of steers.
Virginia has 86 credit unions and 15 REA cooperatives, some half
dozen urban stores or buying clubs, and a number of farmers' coopera­
tives handling petroleum products and farm and home supplies.
These include several Negro store cooperatives, one of which has been
operating since 1937 and has three branch stores. The most active
recent development has been the erection of cold-storage locker
plants—a development which has been fostered by the Southern States
Cooperative, at Richmond. Until the war put a stop to civilian flying,
the State also had 5 flying clubs which owned one or more airplanes
which the members flew for pleasure.