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Technological Change and is
In t o Impact In Four Industries
Hosiery/Folding paperboardiboxes/
Metal cans/Laundry and cleaning
U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics
February 1984

Technological CLang® and Its
L a ta Smpta S F®mf Industries
Hosiery/Folding paperboard boxes/
Metal cans/Laundry and cleaning
U.S. Department of Labor
Raymond J. Donovan, Secretary
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Janet L. Norwood, Commissioner
February 1984
Bulletin 2182

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402










; r i;




ciate Commissioner, under the direction of Charles W.
Ardolini, Chief, Division of Industry Productivity and
Technology Studies. Individual industry reports were
written by staff members of the division under the
supervision of Rose N. Zeisel and Richard W. Riche.
The authors are: A. Harvey Belitsky (hosiery), Richard
W. Lyon (folding paperboard boxes), Charles L. Bell
(metal cans), and Robert V. Critchlow (laundry and
The Bureau wishes to thank the following organiza­
tions for providing the photographs used in this study:
Adams-Millis Corporation; American Machinist
Magazine; and Ellis Corporation.
Material in this publication other than photographs is
in the public domain and, with appropriate credit, may
be reproduced without permission.

This bulletin appraises some of the major technologi­
cal changes emerging among selected American indus­
tries and discusses the impact of these changes on pro­
ductivity and labor over the next 5 to 10 years. It con­
tains separate reports on the following four industries:
Hosiery (SIC 2251,52); folding paperboard boxes ( SIC
2651); metal cans ( SIC 3411); and laundry and cleaning
(SIC 721).
This publication is one of a series which presents the
results of the Bureau’s continuing research on produc­
tivity and technological developments in major indus­
tries. Preceding bulletins in this series are included in
the list of b l s publications on technological change at
the end of this bulletin.
The bulletin was prepared in the Bureau’s Office of
Productivity and Technology, Jerome A. Mark, Asso­



■■ r




C o n s e n ts

1. H osiery............................................................................................................................
2. Folding paperboard boxes ...........................................
3. Metal cans........................................................................................................................
4. Laundry and cleaning.....................................................................................................


1. Major technology changes in hosiery.............................................................................
2. Major technology changes in folding paperboard boxes................................................
3. Major technology changes in laundry, cleaning, and garment services.........................


1. Output per employee hour and related data, hosiery, 1960-82 .....................................
2. Employment in hosiery, 1960-82 ......................................
3. Output per employee hour and related data, folding paperboard boxes, 1963-82 ........
4. Employment in folding paperboard boxes, 1963-82 ......................................................
5. Output per employee hour and related data, metal cans, 1960-82 .................................
6. Employment in metal cans, 1960-82 ..................................
7. Output per hour of all persons and related data; laundry, cleaning, and garment
services, 1960-82 .........................................................................................................
8. Employment in laundry, cleaning, and garment services, 1960-82 and projections
for 1982-90...................................................................................................



GEfsuptur 1. Hosiery

been automated and in part because the diffusion of ex­
isting automated equipment is still limited.
Major advances include the introduction of faster
knitting and sewing machinery, the incorporation of
electronic controls, and the modification of several op­
erations. These modifications in hosiery manufacture
have reduced the number or complexity of the proc­
esses. For example, hosiery made without a recipro­
cated (formed) heel greatly increases output per hour
compared with traditional methods which include a
formed heel. Similarly, the heat-setting process of board­
ing which shapes the stocking has been eliminated for
some hosiery lines. This will be discussed in more de­
tail in the productivity section.
Major technological changes in hosiery manufacture,
their diffusion, and their labor impact are discussed be­
low and are presented in table 1.

S u m m a ry
Advances in technology, particularly in regard to
pantyhose and tube-type socks, have been largely re­
sponsible for the strong productivity growth trend in
the hosiery industry (SIC 2251 and 2252) in the last
two decades. Technological advances include higher
speed, more automated knitting and sewing machines,
and specialized electronic equipment which increases
the mill’s flexibility in production scheduling. These de­
velopments are expected to continue to affect produc­
tivity favorably in the 1980’s.
Productivity grew very rapidly during the period
1960-82, averaging 6.8 percent annually, compared with
2.6 percent in all manufacturing.1 In addition to lower
unit labor requirements associated with new automatic
machinery, productivity has been increased by the elimi­
nation of some processing. While productivity growth
has slowed down in recent years (1975-82, 2.6 percent),
the rate is expected to improve with greater diffusion
of new technologies.
Capital expenditures (in constant dollars) in the
women’s hosiery sector in the 5 years 1977-81 averaged
only about 25 percent of the peak level of 1969. The
relatively high outlays made in the last half of the 1960’s
were in response to the capital requirements for panty­
hose production. In contrast, many of the firms engaged
in manufacturing men’s hosiery did not invest in the
newest and most costly machines until recent years.
Employment in the hosiery industry in 1982 averaged
about 63,000 persons, 41 percent below the 1969 peak.
The sharp decline occurred in the first half of the 1970’s,
but since then, employment has been relatively stable.
Women employees account for a very high proportion
of the work force—75 percent in 1982.


Faster, more automated knitting machines have re­
placed large numbers of older machines in the last 15
years. In 1980, there were 29 percent fewer knitting
machines than in 1963, while production was 53 per­
cent greater. Unit labor requirements are considerably
lower on the newer machines.
Some of the advances in knitting technology are a
function of new or improved yarns. Stretch nylon, spandex (elastic fiber), and improvements in texturizing yarn
which assure stretch-recovery properties have made
possible the construction of today’s hosiery.
Women's seamless hosiery is manufactured on multifeed,2high-speed automated circular knitting machines.
For pantyhose, the primary product, circular machines
knit blanks (legs of pantyhose) which are similar to
stockings, except that they are longer. In a subsequent
operation, the upper parts of the knitted blanks are sewn
together to form the panty.
Some of the newer four-feed machines can knit a
pantyhose blank in about 1 minute, compared with about
10 minutes required on older two-feed machines 15
years ago. These machines have automatic lubrication
controls, automatic stop motion controls for needle and
thread breakage, and may utilize electronic processors.

Technology in the 1980’s
Hosiery manufacture includes the major processes of
knitting, sewing, dyeing, boarding, and packaging.
Technological developments in these processes in the
last two decades have greatly reduced unit labor re­
quirements. Nevertheless, the industry remains highly
labor intensive relative to other industries, in part be­
cause of the many discrete procedures which have not

2 Feed on the standard machine refers to the number o f strands of
yarn; speed refers to the speed o f the cylinder.

1Rates of change are based on the least squares trends method.


Tab8@ 1. Major technology changes in hosiery
D e s c rip tio n

T e c h n o lo g y
K n ittin g

M u lt if e e d ,

h ig h - s p e e d

D iffu s io n

L a b o r im p lic a tio n s
m a c h in e s

f o r p a n t y h o s e a n d o th e r h o s ie r y
a u t o m a t ic
c o n t r o ls , e .g .,
l u b r ic a t i o n , s t o p
m o t io n , a n d
m o n ito r in g . N e w e r m a c h in e s in ­
c o r p o r a te m ic r o p r o c e s s o r s w h ic h
c o n t r o l s o m e o p e r a tio n s . M o r e a d ­
v a n c e d m a c h in e s w it h m ic r o c o m ­
p u t e r s o p e r a te d fr o m a k e y b o a r d
m a k e p r o d u c t io n c h a n g e s e a s ie r .

U n i t la b o r r e q u i r e m e n t s
f o r D iffu s io n o f fo u r-fe e d m a c h in e s fo r
k n it t in g m a c h in e o p e r a to r s a n d p a n ty h o s e p ro d u c tio n a d v a n c e d
m a in te n a n c e w o r k e r s a re m u c h fro m 3 6 to 5 6 p e rc e n t o f m a c h in e s
lo w e r t h a n o n o ld e r m a c h in e s . b e tw e e n 1 97 5 a n d 1 98 0 ; a ra p id
S k ill r e q u ir e m e n ts f o r o p e r a to r s ra te o f a d o p tio n is e x p e c te d to
m a y b e r e d u c e d . F ix e r r e q u ir e s c o n tin u e in th e 1 9 8 0 ’s.
k n o w le d g e o f e le c t r o n ic s .
M ic ro p ro c e s s o rs a re in c re a s in g ly
u tiliz e d . M ic ro c o m p u te rs a re in
lim ite d u s e a n d th e ir c o s tlin e s s m a y
lim it w id e a d o p tio n in th e n e a r
te rm .

A u to m a tic s e w in g o f u p p e r p a rt o f
p a n ty h o s e

A u t o m a t ic lin e c lo s e r p u t s s e a m
U n it la b o r re q u ire m e n ts fo r
in t o p a ir o f le g s t o fo r m p a n ­ o p e ra to rs a re g re a tly re d u c e d a nd
ty h o s e ; a u t o m a t ic g u s s e t s e a m e r
s k ill re q u ire m e n ts c o u ld b e lo w e r.
s e w s in g u s s e t ; a u t o m a t ic lin e c lo s e r / g u s s e t
m a c h in e
com ­
p le te s b o th o p e r a tio n s .

A u to m a tic line c lo s e r is u se d by
m a jo r firm s ; a u to m a tic g u s s e t
s e a m e r is e x p e c te d to g a in w id e r
a c c e p ta n c e b y m a jo r firm s in th e
1 9 8 0 ’ s.

A u to m a tic to e clo s in g

T h is m a c h in e c o m b in e s to e tu rn in g
O u tp u t p e r o p e ra to r h o u r is d o u b le
a n d s e w in g ; in c o rp o ra te s a u to m a tic th a t o f th e o ld e r, le s s a u to m a tic
o p e ra tio n . U n it la b o r re q u ire m e n ts
c o n tro ls . R e q u ire s le s s o p e ra tin g
a n d m a in te n a n c e tim e p e r u n it th a n fo r m a in te n a n c e a re re d u c e d .
o ld e r, le s s a u to m a te d s e w in g
m a c h in e s . U s e d fo r p a n ty h o s e a nd
tu b e s o c k s .

M a c h in e s a re in u s e by a m a jo rity o f
p a n ty h o s e a n d tu b e s o c k
m a n u fa c tu re rs . F u rth e r d iffu s io n is
e x p e c te d .

A u to m a tic d y e in g a nd e x tra c tin g

N e w m a c h in e s a u to m a tic a lly c o n tro l
d y e in g a n d e x tra c tin g a fte r m a n u a l
lo a d in g .

R e d u c e s u n it la b o r re q u ire m e n ts to
a b o u t h a lf th a t o f th e o ld e r
m a c h in e s w ith m a n u a l c o n tro ls . N o
e x tra c to r o p e ra to r is n e e d e d .

A u to m a tic h a n d lin g a nd p a c k a g in g

N ew p a c k a g in g e q u ip m e n t
a u to m a tic a lly s e ts up p a c k a g e ,
in s e rts p ro d u c t, a n d a tta c h e s
la b e ls . A u to m a tic c o n v e y o rs
(c a ro u s e l ty p e s a nd o th e rs ) m o v e
h o s ie ry to p a c k a g in g s ta tio n s .

R e d u c e s u n it la b o r re q u ire m e n ts fo r A u to m a te d p a c k a g in g is lim ite d to
p a c k a g in g to a b o u t h a lf th a t o f th e
p la n ts w ith lo n g p ro d u c tio n ru n s
m a n u a l p ro c e s s . C o n v e y o rs re p la c e a n d s ig n ific a n t d iffu s io n is n o t
e x p e c te d . C o s tly a u to m a tic
o r re d u c e u n s k ille d m a te ria ls
c o n v e y o rs a re a ls o e x p e c te d to b e
h a n d le rs .
lim ite d to la rg e firm s .

nological advances in knitting have also been adopted
in the last 10 years, particularly in speed, automation,
and maintenance. The major products in this category
are men’s dress socks, girls’ and boys’ and women’s
socks, and casual and athletic socks.

The time required to knit the legs is reduced in other
ways. Reciprocation of the heel and toe is now omit­
ted on more than 80 percent of the pantyhose, greatly
reducing unit labor requirements. Reciprocation of the
heel, for example, involves knitting a pocket shape into
the heel area.
The new generation of hosiery and pantyhose ma­
chines incorporates electronic processors or micro­
computers which reduce downtime for size and style
changes, and for maintenance. Visual display units pro­
vide information to the operator, the fixer, and man­
agement which could increase quality and productiv­
ity. With the automated knitting machines, unit require­
ments for knitters and fixers are greatly reduced. Skill
requirements for the operator may also be reduced. This
reduction in unit labor and skill is changing occupa­
tional requirements; e.g., operator and fixer jobs are be­
ing consolidated (see the section on occupations).
The diffusion of the four-feed knitting machines for
women’s hosiery advanced from 36 to 56 percent of all
knitting machines between 1975 and 1980. The outlook
is for continued rapid replacement of the older knitting
machines by automated machines in the 1980’s.
In hosiery other than women ’
s—primarily socks—tech­

A b o u t 4 0 p e rc e n t o f h o s ie ry o u tp u t
is p ro c e s s e d by th e s e u n its. T h e y
a re lik e ly to a c c o u n t fo r an
in c re a s in g s h a re o f o u tp u t d u rin g
th e 1 9 8 0 ’ s.

For men’s dress socks, the changes have been largely
modifications to the traditional process that produces
socks with reciprocated heel and toe. Modern knitting
machines operate at higher speeds, but they are princi­
pally one- or two-feed machines. The newest machines
have automatic lubrication and sophisticated electronic
controls. They increase the mill’s flexibility to change
product lines with less downtime, and lower unit labor
requirements for operators and fixers, compared with
older machines.
For the “true rib” pattern, new double-cylinder knit­
ting machines produce the pattern 30 to 40 percent
faster than the older double-cylinder machine. These
machines also improve quality, but require more highly
skilled fixers. Their limited diffusion is due, to some
extent, to their substantial cost relative to the payback
period. It is expected that diffusion of these new dou­
ble-cylinder machines will continue to be slow.

the blanks are sewn together, an automatic gusset seamer
can be used to sew in the gusset or crotch to complete
the panty section. With this machine, the sewing op­
erator only loads the garment on the seamer and moni­
tors it; the machine completes the job. An automatic
line-closer/gusset machine is also used which combines
both processes.
These automated operations greatly reduce the time
otherwise required for an operator to perform the job
manually on an older sewing machine. When an auto­
matic gusset seamer and an automatic line closer are
used together, the time required for both operations is
much less than the job of manually sewing only the
two legs together.
The sewing-machine operators handling the auto­
matic machinery are basically loaders. They can be
trained in a few weeks, much less time than is neces­
sary to train operators for the conventional manual
The major manufacturers of pantyhose have intro­
duced the automatic line closer in almost all of their
production. However, most major manufacturers do not
have automatic gusset seamers. Within the next 5 to 10
years, the principal hosiery manufacturers are likely to
invest in the automatic gusset seamer.

For socks other than men’s dress socks, important
advances have been made in higher production rates
and lower unit labor requirements. Installation of elec­
tronic controls which permit greater production flexi­
bility and reduce downtime is largely responsible for
these improvements.
In addition, one of the major changes in sock manu­
facture is the elimination of heel and toe reciprocation.
These “tube” socks have been widely adopted for casual
wear. Output per hour is about 30 percent higher for
the tube sock than for the traditional sock with heel
and toe.
Electronically programmed controls

Sophisticated electronic equipment (microprocessors
and microcomputers) is increasing in importance in the
hosiery industry.
Microprocessors, used for monitoring and operating
machinery, have received growing acceptance by ho­
siery manufacturers. These electronic devices are pro­
grammed to monitor or control one or more specified
details of a machine’s operation. Because of their rela­
tively low price, and their effectiveness in reducing
downtime, they are replacing the older electro-pneu­
matic and mechanical methods of control.
Microcomputers are increasing in importance only
slowly. These units facilitate production changes. In
knitting, for example, they are operated directly from
the keyboard of a control panel on each machine, al­
lowing the operator to make program changes (e.g., in
size or style) with little or no downtime, while consid­
erably increasing the flexibility of the machine. This is
particularly important for shorter runs and fashion
Unit labor requirements tend to be lower with more
sophisticated electronic controls. Moreover, highly
skilled mechanics are not required to make the style or
size changeovers. In some cases, the operator’s skill re­
quirements are slightly reduced, and training could re­
quire less time. With such controls, however, the mill
requires skilled fixers who are knowledgeable in
Currently, machines incorporating microcomputers
account for less than 5 percent of the knitting machines
used in the women’s hosiery sector. In the men’s sec­
tor, diffusion has been even more gradual. The costli­
ness of the machine could remain an obstacle to much
wider adoption for at least the next 5 years.

Automatic to© closing

Toe-closing operations on a sewing machine have re­
placed the traditional reciprocated knitted toe for panty­
hose and tube socks. According to one plant’s estimate,
doing away with the reciprocated toe for socks reduced
the time for knitting by 18 percent.
New toe-closing machines combine the toe-turning
and sewing procedures in one operation, and greatly
increase output per hour over earlier sewing machines.
They are more automated and require less manual work,
particularly for positioning. They also yield more con­
sistent quality by accurately controlling the shape of
the toe seam. According to one estimate, newer ma­
chines double the output per operator hour over the

Automatic sewing of upper part ©f pantyhose

After the leg blanks of pantyhose are knitted, the up­
per parts are sewn together to form the panty. Two
blanks are cut open at opposite sides and seamed to­
gether in front and back. In some mills, the automatic
line-closing machine now performs this operation, re­
placing the labor-intensive manual operations per­
formed on a traditional sewing machine. Then, after

An operator pulls sock onto arm of automatic toe­
closing machine

Automated packaging can reduce unit labor require­
ments to about half that of the largely manual opera­
tions, and could improve quality. This process is han­
dled by packers (folders, baggers, boxers), who are gen­
erally semiskilled workers. Similarly, mechanized con­
veyors replace or reduce the number of unskilled ma­
terials handlers who move carts manually.
While the most advanced packaging systems have
been adopted by some of the larger manufacturers with
longer production runs (primarily of pantyhose), many
manufacturers continue to use largely manual packag­
ing procedures. The outlook is that the automated sys­
tems will continue to show only moderate diffusion in
the next decade. Similarly, the diffusion of costly con­
veyor systems is also likely to be limited to the larger

labor-intensive work required on earlier sewing ma­
chines. Moreover, they are relatively easy to operate
and maintain since the operators load the machine and
thereafter primarily monitor its operation.
Although an automatic toe-closing machine has been
available since 1967, its diffusion has been relatively
limited until quite recently. It has now been adopted
by the majority of firms manufacturing pantyhose and
tube hose, and greater diffusion is expected.
Automatic dyeing and extracting

After the hosiery is scoured, it is dyed.3 Goods are
loaded manually into the newer machines, which then
dye and extract the hosiery automatically. The machine
is programmed to control water ratio, temperature, tim­
ing, etc. These machines permit higher rotation speed
and incorporate improved electronic controls, greatly
reducing the cycle time. Also, dyeing and extracting
are combined in a single unit, thereby eliminating labor
handling between machines. The older machines with
two separate operations and few controls still account
for more than half of the hosiery produced.
The newer automated machines reduce unit labor re­
quirements to about half that of the older machines. No
extractor operator is needed. Also, relatively little train­
ing is required for dyeing machine operators. However,
maintenance is much more complicated on the newer
equipment, and a knowledge of electronic controls is
generally important.
Currently, about 40 percent of hosiery output is proc­
essed by automatic dyeing and extracting units. Al­
though these machines are quite costly, they are likely
to account for an increasing share of output in the

Output and Productivity Outi@®ic

Automated handling and packaging

The labor-intensive process of packaging the hosiery
has been modified during the past decade by many im­
provements, ranging from simple mechanization to so­
phisticated automation. The efficiency of this process
depends to some extent on the automaticity of the materials-handling system which delivers the hosiery to
the packaging station. Although not a new technology,
highly mechanized conveyors are much more efficient
than those available 15 years ago, and can operate with
automatic controls in a carousel-type network.
The most advanced packaging systems automatically
fold, package, and label the hosiery. They may also
permit rapid changes by the packer for shorter runs. In
addition, auxiliary equipment counts the packaged ho­
siery and may place them into shipping cartons. Faster
packaging is in line with the faster knitting and sew­
ing-machine operations, thereby optimizing output per
hour in the mill.
3 Scouring is the process of removing foreign matter from hosiery.
Scouring and dyeing can be done in a one-bath procedure, saving
time, water, and energy.


The output of the hosiery industry increased at an
average annual rate of 3.4 percent during the period
1960-82. In the first decade of that period, output rose
almost steadily at an average rate of 7.2 percent annu­
ally to a peak in 1970. This compares very favorably
with 5.3-percent growth for all manufacturing output
in that time. However, in 1970-82, opposing trends in
hosiery output resulted in an average annual rise of only
2 percent. Output was seriously depressed by the mid1970’s recession, but, after fluctuating sharply, it rose
to an alltime high in 1981. In 1982, however, output
fell again (about 8 percent), probably due to the most
recent recession (chart 1).
The increase in women’s hosiery was largely respon­
sible for the industry’s growth. Production in 1982 was
more than double that of 1960. Women’s hosiery ac­
counted for about 42 percent of the industry’s output
in 1960, and 52 percent in 1982. Per capita consump­
tion of hosiery rose from about 15 pairs in 1964 (earli­
est data) to about 20 pairs in 1982.
The principal product in women’s hosiery in the last
decade has been pantyhose, the combination in one gar­
ment of stockings and underpants. It was a relatively
new product in 1968 (accounting for 14 percent of
women’s hosiery) but within only 2 years, output
jumped to 70 percent. In addition to improvements in
yarn, demand for pantyhose has been increased by a
new marketing strategy which made them widely avail­
able in supermarkets and drug stores, whereas they were
formerly sold mainly in specialty and department stores.
Although a marked shift from dresses to pants has led
to a considerable expansion of knee-high hosiery, panty­
hose remains the principal form of hosiery. The more
rapid growth in recent years is largely due to new styles,
such as “control top” pantyhose, and to the importance
of color and texture of hose.

Chart 1 Output per employee hour and related data, hosiery, 1960-82
I ndex, 1977— 100 (R a tio scale)


While the composition of men’s hosiery was also af­
fected by new products and changes in yarn quality,
output grew by comparatively little—21 percent be­
tween 1960 and 1982. As a result, men’s hosiery de­
clined from 33 percent of total hosiery output in 1960
to 22 percent in 1982. Per capita consumption of men’s
hosiery has been rather stable since 1964 but was at its
lowest in 1982. This can be attributed to a shift away
from natural fibers to more durable manmade fibers,
offset by increased demand related to fashion changes.
Those included leisure-wear styles, patterns and colors,
and tube hosiery for casual and athletic wear.
Output of socks other than for men was almost twice
as high in 1982 as in 1960. This sector accounted for
25 percent of total hosiery output in 1960 and about 26
percent in 1982. An important source of growth in this
category is likely to continue to be tube hosiery.
Unlike other sectors of the textile industry, imports
of hosiery have not been significant. Exports are also
a rather minor proportion of the industry’s shipments.

boarded. Since unboarded hosiery is shapeless until
stretched over the leg, the elimination of boarding tends
to simplify other processes such as dyeing, drying, in­
spection, and packaging.
Wider adoption of some new technologies and con­
tinued strong output of less labor-intensive types of ho­
siery are expected to affect productivity growth

Capital ©itpeodlityriis

Capital expenditures for hosiery equipment have been
increasing rapidly in the last several years to a peak of
$55 million in 1981 (latest data). In real terms (i.e., ad­
justed for changing prices), however, they have been
quite stable at very low levels.4
In the women’s sector, the largest real outlays for
new equipment were made in the last half of the 1960’s
and in 1970. In contrast, in the 5 years 1977-81, real
outlays were only about 25 percent of the peak in 1969.
In 1981, they were at the lowest level for at least 18
years, except for 1976. Outlays per production worker,
however, reflected the drop in employment in the 1970’s
and have remained relatively strong.
The large outlays for women’s hosiery equipment in
the late 1960’s and in 1970 were in response to the spe­
cial capital requirements for new pantyhose knitting
machines, since pantyhose were initially made on regu­
lar stocking machines. When the economy turned down
and pantyhose production dropped sharply, excess ca­
pacity was considerable. Outlays for new machinery
were then sharply reduced in succeeding years.
In the sock sector, real expenditures were at their
peak in 1966; in the 1970’s, they averaged nearly 40
percent less. Unlike the women’s sector, most of the
firms engaged in manufacturing men’s socks have not
invested in the newest and most costly knitting ma­
chines, although many of the machines in use are 25
years old and more. Outlays were made to recondition
machines. In the last several years, however, real out­
lays have been rising, mainly due to the demand for
higher speed knitting machines that produce tube


Over the 1960-82 period, productivity of the hosiery
industry grew at the very rapid rate of 6.8 percent per
year. In all manufacturing, the productivity growth rate
was only 2.6 percent.
Hosiery productivity increased in all but 3 years dur­
ing the period 1960-75. From 1960 to 1970, productiv­
ity increased 7.1 percent annually and was associated
with about the same rise in output and only a fractional
increase in employee hours (chart 1). From 1970 to
1975, a sharper productivity gain (8.3 percent) was at­
tained. However, during that period both output and
hours declined, -3.2 percent and -10.6 percent,
From 1975 to 1982, the industry’s productivity
growth rate slowed down considerably to 2.6 percent
a year. In those years, output once again rose an aver­
age of 4.3 percent annually, but employee hours also
increased—at the rate of 1.6 percent. In manufacturing,
the productivity growth rate also slowed to 1.4 percent
annually in those 7 years.
The industry’s strong productivity growth rate
through most of the last two decades is associated with
advances in technology, particularly in regard to panty­
hose and tube socks, which reduced unit labor require­
ments. For example, many of the knitting machines pro­
ducing women’s hosiery in 1970 were running at only
250 rpm, whereas the newer machines can operate more
than three times faster. Pantyhose and some socks are
knit without time-consuming reciprocated toe and heel.
New stretch yarns permit the manufacture of some hose
in only one size, contributing to larger batch production.
Several types of hosiery omit the process of board­
ing, i.e., placing the hose on forms that shape it. Proba­
bly less than 20 percent of pantyhose are still fully

Research and ddwetopmtsinit

Relatively little research and development is carried
out by domestic hosiery or machinery manufacturers.
Research-and development, as well as manufacture, of
the most advanced knitting machines and auxiliary
equipment have been carried out abroad, principally in
Italy and Japan. In addition, yarn manufacturers
through their research and development have improved
the quality of yarn, enabling the construction of today’s
4 Deflated Bureau o f the Census expenditure data.


0 ©<oupati©ns

sector, and the occupations affected include knitters,
sewing-machine operators, boarders, and occupations
in packaging. Two b l s surveys suggest a sharp decline
in these occupations from 1970 to 19815 while output
increased more than 15 percent.
Sewing-machine operators constituted the largest oc­
cupational group. These operators sew the upper part
of pantyhose on increasingly automated sewing ma­
chines by joining together the leg blanks, with or with­
out a gusset. In number, they declined about 20 percent
from 1970 to 1981, but increased sharply as a propor­
tion of the total—from 10 percent to 23 percent.
Folders and boxers are the second largest occupa­
tional group, although a change in packaging from box­
ing to bagging greatly reduced their number. Overall,
the occupational group of baggers, folders, boxers, and
automatic packaging-machine operators declined 50
percent from 1970 to 1981. While these manual tasks
are being replaced by mechanized and automated equip­
ment in some plants, they remain highly labor intensive.
Knitters of seamless hosiery and fixers have been par­
ticularly affected by machine improvements, in terms
of their number and their job duties. They numbered
about 60 percent less in 1981 than in 1970 as automated
machines increased output and reduced downtime. In
addition, various automatic devices on the newer knit­
ting machines simplified their duties. Fixers, involved
in machine repair, maintenance, and style changes, are
now required to have knowledge of electronic equip­
ment. In some plants, the knitter and fixer jobs have
been consolidated. The duties of the knitter are, in those
cases, assumed by a fixer who both operates and fixes
the knitting machines. This is only possible where there
is an adequate supply of fixers.
An even more striking decline in employment—about
80 percent from 1970 to 1981—took place in boarding,
primarily as a result of the elimination of the process
for a very large portion of the pantyhose. The affected
occupations include preboarders, who shape and set the
stitch in hosiery prior to dyeing, and boarders, who
shape and dry hosiery after dyeing. The duties of many
of the remaining boarders have been simplified by au­
tomatic boarding machines.
Nearly all of the occupations in hosiery are classified
as semiskilled, and women hold the large majority of
these positions. In some occupations (e.g., sewing-ma­
chine operator and boarder), virtually all of the jobs
are held by women. Women also account for the greater
share of employment in occupations such as knitter, in­
spector, pairer, folder, and boxer. Most of these occu­
pations can be learned with relatively short-term train­
ing on the job.

Technological changes in the last decade have re­
duced unit labor requirements and changed the relative
importance and duties of many occupations. The im­
pact has been most pronounced in the women’s hosiery

Industry Wage Survey: Hosiery, September 1970, Bulletin 1743
(Bureau o f Labor Statistics, 1972), pp. 10-11; Industry Wage Survey:
Hosiery, August 1981, Bulletin 2151 (Bureau of Labor Statistics,
1982), p .8.

The larger domestic hosiery manufacturers do, how­
ever, make modifications to and improvements in their
machinery. For example, one hosiery manufacturer re­
cently produced a unitary cam for its women’s hosiery
knitting machinery which takes less than 1 hour to
change, compared with at least 4 hours previously re­
quired for their commercially purchased cam. In addi­
tion, hosiery manufacturers make some spare parts in
their own machine shops or in shops within the com­
munity, reducing downtime caused by long delays for
new parts.

Emplo^mant and Oeeyp@ti@inial Trends
Employment in hosiery manufacturing averaged
about 63,000 persons in 1982, 41 percent below the 1969
peak of 107,000. The sharp decline occurred in the first
half of the 1970’s, and hit its lowest level in 1975. Since
then, however, it has been relatively stable (chart 2).
Employment was about equally divided between the
two major sectors (women’s hosiery and socks) in 1982,
as was the case in 1960. Employment in each of the
sectors in 1982 was about 40 percent below its 1960
level. But employment patterns between those two pe­
riods varied, reflecting differences in output and tech­
nology. Employment in the women’s hosiery sector rose
in the last half of the 1960’s to a high in 1969 of more
than 70,000 workers, as pantyhose production rose
sharply. The 1970’s saw an almost steady decline to a
low of 28,000 workers in 1977. Since then, employment
has been relatively stable.
In contrast, employment in the sock sector declined
slowly but steadily from its high in 1960 to a low in
1975. By 1975, only about 30,000 workers were in plants
producing men’s and other socks, compared with 51,000
in 1960. Since then, employment in this sector stabilized
at only slightly above the low point.
The ratio of hosiery production workers to all ho­
siery employees has remained relatively high. This is
associated with the difficulty or cost of automating some
processes, and the relatively limited diffusion of some
new machinery. In 1982, production workers consti­
tuted 90 percent of all hosiery workers, compared with
only about 68 percent in all manufacturing.
Women employees account for a very high propor­
tion of the hosiery work force—about 75 percent in
1982, compared with 64 percent in all other knitting
industries. The rate is somewhat higher in the women’s
hosiery sector than in the sock sector.


Chart 2= Employment m hosiery, 1980=82
Em ployees (In th o u s a n d s )










1 Least squares trends method.
2 Full- and knee-length women's hosiery.
SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

to shortages of trained fixers and maintenance person­
nel in electronics and air-conditioning.
Skill shortages and training are complicated by de­
mographic factors. During the 1950’s and even part of
the 1960’s, young, trained fixers were available. Moreo­
ver, most companies were located in rural areas which
offered only limited alternative job opportunities to
fixers. Currently, however, the average age of fixers is
about 55, and younger, experienced fixers are in short
supply. Consequently, manufacturers have had to be­
come involved in training to replace those who retire.
Fixers are also more mobile and shift employment
among the many hosiery plants that are, for example,
concentrated in North Carolina. Some fixers have also
taken jobs that have become available in other indus­
tries with higher wage scales. According to a survey
of hosiery executives, shortages of some skills will con­
tinue to have a major impact on the industry through
the year 2000.6
Although training is usually provided on the job un­
der supervision, some special programs are also avail­
able. One of these is a comparatively short, intensive,
cooperative training program for fixers. It was insti­
tuted in 1979 through the joint efforts of more than 100
hosiery manufacturers and the Catawba Valley Tech­
nical College, located in North Carolina within close
radius of most of the hosiery firms. It is a 1-year pro­
gram which involves daily classroom work (theory and
practice on machines) and a minimum of 20 hours per
week of on-the-job training under supervision. The pro­
gram attempts to train fixers who will, in time, be eli­
gible for higher level jobs.

The principal occupations held by men—fixers and
sewing-machine repairers—are highly skilled and re­
quire extensive training. These are the highest paying
jobs in the industry. Fixer training, which combines onthe-job and classroom training, usually requires 3 years
to attain one level of the craft and an additional year
for the top grade. Shortages of such skilled labor have
been a problem.
Adjystaenft of workers to technological change

Programs to protect the worker from the adverse ef­
fects of changes in machinery and methods may be in­
corporated into union contracts, or they may be infor­
mal arrangements between workers and management.
In general, such programs are more prevalent and de­
tailed in formal contracts.
Only a small number of labor-management contracts
are found in the hosiery industry. About 5 percent of
all hosiery workers are in plants covered by collective
bargaining compared with about 15 percent in all tex­
tile industries. The major union is the Amalgamated
Clothing and Textile Workers Union.
The principal form of job security for organized ho­
siery workers is seniority. Contract provisions gener­
ally state that preferences in layoffs and reemployment
shall be given to employees on the basis of qualifica­
tions and seniority. Provision for payment to employ­
ees who are permanently separated from a firm because
of a technological change or plant closing is rare in
these labor-management contracts. However, at the time
of a plant closing, negotiations over severance pay may
take place.
Retraining for jobs may be the major factor in em­
ployees’ adjustment to more sophisticated machinery,
particularly where a labor shortage exists. Officers of
leading hosiery manufacturing firms refer, especially,

6Kurt Salmon Associates, Inc., and the National Association o f Ho­
siery Manufacturers, The Future o f the U.S. Hosiery Industry-Report
on the Findings o f a M odified D elphi Survey o f the U.S. Hosiery In­
dustry through the Year 2000 (Atlanta Ga., December 1978).


“Hosiery and Underwear” in Body Fashions/Intimate Apparel,

Hosiery Industry through the Year 2000. Atlanta, Georgia, D ecem ­
ber 1978.

Kinkead, Gwen. “Socko Productivity,” Fortune, September 8, 1980.

National Association o f Hosiery Manufacturers, Inc. Hosiery Statis­
tics. Charlotte, North Carolina, selected years.

Kurt Salmon Associates, Inc., and the National Association o f H o­
siery Manufacturers, Inc. The Future o f the U.S. Hosiery Indus­
try—Report on the Findings o f a Modified Delphi Survey o f the U.S.

Speizman Industries, Inc. Survey & Analysis o f Circular Hosiery M a­
chinery in the United States. Charlotte, North Carolina, selected


Chapter 2„ FoUdling
Pap®rb@ardl Boxes

duction worker positions, including those affected by
mechanization of material handling. Training to pro­
vide workers with the skills needed for advanced tech­
nology has been a major method of work force

Technological changes are underway in the major
steps in the manufacture of folding paperboard boxes
(SIC 2651). New computer and laser methods of pre­
paring dies used in cutting and creasing presses, the
more widespread use of advanced model offset and
gravure presses for carton printing, and the use of ad­
vanced reciprocating platen cutting and creasing presses
represent significant changes. Benefits of this new tech­
nology include productivity gains, quality improve­
ment, and raw material savings.
Output of folding paperboard boxes experienced slow
growth over the period 1963-82, increasing at an aver­
age annual rate of only 0.6 percent.1However, the an­
nual growth rate in output rose to 0.9 percent during
the more recent period 1973-82. The level of output of
folding paperboard boxes is related to general business
conditions and consumer spending, as well as competi­
tion from other packaging materials.
Productivity in the folding paperboard boxes indus­
try failed to keep pace with the rate of increase in
manufacturing. Between 1963 and 1982, output per em­
ployee hour increased at an average annual rate of 1.9
percent—well below the 2.3-percent average annual
rate of gain achieved in manufacturing. The productiv­
ity increase resulted when output rose at an annual rate
of 0.6 percent, and employee hours declined at an av­
erage annual rate of 1.3 percent as modernization and
mechanization lowered labor requirements.
Employment in the folding paperboard boxes indus­
try declined slightly from 1963 to 1982 as inefficient
plants were closed and new technology was introduced
more extensively. During that period, employment de­
clined at an average annual rate of 1.1 percent, with
the total work force in 1982 numbering 43,700—down
by about 7,600 workers from 1963.
Although the introduction of new technology has not
led to widespread displacement, employment cutbacks
and skill changes in some key occupations, including
diemaker and cutting and creasing press operator, have
resulted. Advances in printing technology have affected
press operators, camera operators, and platemakers.
Women are employed in about 1 out of every 4 pro­

Industry structure

The folding paperboard boxes industry in 1977 con­
sisted of 574 establishments, 79 percent of which were
located on the Eastern Seaboard and in the North Cen­
tral States.2 Proximity to markets and accessibility to
folding boxboard supplies are major considerations in
plant location. In 1981, over 40 percent of total output
was for use in packaging food and beverages.
The number of establishments in the industry is de­
clining, but average capacity to produce folding paperboard boxes is increasing. Between 1977 and 1981, the
number of plants was estimated by the Department of
Commerce to have decreased by nearly 6 percent, as
less efficient production facilities were closed.3 Over
the same period, average cutting and creasing press ca­
pacity—an indicator of plant production capability—in­
creased by an estimated 20 percent.4

T©elho©l®gy m th® 19S@s
Technological change in the folding paperboard
boxes industry generally involves improvements to ex­
isting technologies, rather than sharp departures from
past methods. However, in some operations, including
the preparation of dies used on cutting and creasing
presses, computers and other innovations have reduced
labor requirements and modified craft skills. Other ma­
jor changes include the more widespread use of offset
and gravure printing; advanced reciprocating type
platen cutting and creasing presses which require less
labor; more automatic removal of waste material fol­
lowing cutting of cartons; and faster and more auto­
matic carton handling, gluing, and packing methods. In

11977 Census o f Manufactures (Bureau o f the Census, August 1981),
p. 26C-9. 1977 is the latest year for which Census data are available.
31982 U.S. Industrial Outlook (U.S. Department of Commerce, Bu­
reau of Industrial Economics, January 1982),pp. 50-52.
4Paperboard Packaging, August 1981, p. 51.

1Rates o f change are based on the least squares trends method.


and fed into a sheet-fed printing press where the design
is printed onto the paperboard. (In long production runs
using web-fed presses, the paper is fed continuously
from the roll into the press and the sheet-cutting step
is eliminated.) After printing, the sheet is sent through
a cutting and creasing press which cuts out each car­
ton blank and puts creases where the carton is to be
folded. The carton blanks, still held together as a full
sheet by small connections, then proceed through strip­
ping where they are separated and the excess paperboard removed. (On web-fed cutter/creasers, the car­
ton blanks are automatically stripped of excess paperboard and placed on a conveyor delivery belt.) After

general, mechanization is requiring a greater involve­
ment in machine monitoring. Occupations affected by
new technology include diemakers; printing press op­
erators, camera operators, and platemakers; cutting and
creasing press operators; and material handlers and
packers. Table 2 describes major innovations in the in­
dustry, their impact on labor, and prospects for further

Production! Stops and iiajor Innovations
Production of folding paperboard boxes typically be­
gins when a roll of paperboard is cut into separate sheets
Table 2. EViajer technology changes in folding paperboard boxes
T e c h n o lo g y
Im p ro v e d p rin tin g p ro c e s s e s

D e s c rip tio n
O ffs e t

p r in t i n g

L a b o r im p lic a tio n s

( p r e d o m in a n t ly

s h e e t-fe d ) h a s d is p la c e d le tte rp re s s
a s th e m a jo r m e th o d o f p r in tin g c a r­
to n s . In o ffs e t p rin tin g , p h o to ­
g r a p h ic
m e th o d s a re u s e d to
p re p a re p r in tin g p la te s fa s te r a n d a t
lo w e r c o s t c o m p a re d to le tte rp re s s
p r in tin g w h e re th e p la te s a re m a d e
fro m h o t m e ta l. G ra v u re p rin tin g ,
w h ic h a ls o in v o lv e s p h o to g ra p h ic
m e th o d s
p re p a re
p r in t i n g
c y lin d e rs , is b e in g u s e d m o re e x te n ­
s iv e ly fo r lo n g e r p r o d u c tio n ru n s ,
w ith te c h n o lo g ic a l a d v a n c e s in c o l­
o r s c a n n e rs a m o n g im p ro v e m e n ts
re p o rte d . F le x o g ra p h y , a fo r m o f le t­
te rp re s s p r in tin g w h ic h u tiliz e s lig h t
a n d fle x ib le ru b b e r o r p la s tic p la te s ,
is in g ro w in g u s e fo r lo n g e r p re s s
ru n s . C o m p u te rs a re b e in g u s e d
m o re w id e ly o n o ffs e t p r in tin g
p re s s e s to c o n tro l in k a n d w a te r
flo w ra te s , p re s s s p e e d , a n d re la te d
v a ria b le s .

R a d ia tio n in k c u rin g

Im p ro v e d e q u ip m e n t fo r c u ttin g a n d
c r e a s in g

D iffu s io n

G a in s in o u t p u t p e r e m p lo y e e O ffs e t p rin tin g (s h e e t fe d ) re p o rte d ly
h o u r h a v e b e e n r e p o r te d in c o n ­ is th e p ro c e s s u s e d fo r a b o u t 50
v e r s io n s fr o m le tt e r p r e s s t o o f f s e t p e rc e n t o f to ta l p rin tin g o f fo ld in g
p a p e rb o a rd b o x e s . W e b -fe d
p r in t in g . N e w s k il ls r e la te d to
g ra v u re a c o u n ts fo r s lig h tly o v e r 20
c a m e r a w o r k a rid f ilm p r o c e s s in g
a re r e q u ir e d in b o th o f f s e t a n d p e rc e n t a n d fle x o g ra p h y fo r le s s
g ra v u re
in s t a l la t io n s
a t f ir m s
th a n 2 0 p e rc e n t o f to ta l p rin tin g
w h ic h p e r fo r m th e s e t a s k s in - v o lu m e . L e tte rp re s s is u s e d in
h o u s e . A u to m a te d p la te m a k in g
a b o u t 10 p e rc e n t o f p ro d u c tio n .
e q u ip m e n t
re d u c e s
la b o r r e ­ A b o u t 1 o u t o f 5 p la n ts u s in g o ffs e t
q u ir e m e n ts o f p la te m a k e r s in o f f ­ p re s s e s c a rrie s o u t p re p a ra to ry
s e t in s t a lla t io n s . C o m p u te r c o n ­ w o rk in -h o u s e , a n d m o s t o f th e s e
t r o l o f p r e s s o p e r a tio n s in c r e a s e s u s e a u to m a te d p la te m a k in g
m o n ito r in g
fu n c tio n s
e q u ip m e n t. C o m p u te r c o n tro l o f
d e c r e a s e s d ir e c t , m a n u a l in v o lv e ­ p re s s o p e ra tio n s is e x p e c te d to
m e n t in c o n t r o l o f p r e s s o p e r a ­ b e c o m e m o re w id e s p re a d .
t io n s .

In fra re d a n d u ltra v io le t in k c u rin g
s y s te m s a re b e in g e m p lo y e d to
re d u c e th e d e la y b e tw e e n c a rto n
p rin tin g a n d c u ttin g a n d c re a s in g
im p o s e d by re la tiv e ly s lo w -d ry in g
c o n v e n tio n a l lith o g ra p h ic inks.

L a b o r re q u ire d to s to re s h e e ts
p rin te d w ith c o n v e n tio n a l o ffs e t
in k s fo r d ry in g b e fo re c u ttin g a n d
c re a s in g is re d u c e d . In -lin e
p ro c e s s in g , m a d e p o s s ib le w ith
u ltra v io le t c u rin g , w o u ld e lim in a te
th is la b o r. P re s s m a in te n a n c e d u e
to c lo g g in g c a u s e d by s p ra y s u s e d
to fa c ilita te d ry in g o f c o n v e n tio n a l
in k s a ls o is c u t b a c k o r e lim in a te d .

T h e h ig h c o s t o f c o n v e rs io n to
u ltra v io le t c u rin g a n d th e h ig h p ric e
o f u ltra v io le t in k s d e te r th e ir
w id e s p re a d use. L e s s e x p e n s iv e
in fra re d d ry in g s y s te m s , h o w e v e r,
m a y s e e m o re ra p id g ro w th s in c e
th e y c a n be in s ta lle d o n e x is tin g
p re s s e s a t re la tiv e ly lo w c o s t.

N e w m o d e l re c ip ro c a tin g p la te n
c u ttin g a nd c re a s in g p re s s e s a re
b e in g u s e d to c u t a n d c re a s e
fo ld in g p a p e rb o a rd b o x e s a fte r
p rin tin g . T h e s e a d v a n c e d
c u tte r /c r e a s e r s a re fa s te r th a n
o ld e r m o d e ls a n d m a tc h th e
c a p a c ity o f m o d e rn p re s s e s . T h u s ,
o n w e b -fe d g ra v u re p re s s e s ,
p rin tin g a n d c u ttin g a n d c re a s in g
c a n be m a d e c o n tin u o u s ra th e r
th a n s e p a ra te p ro d u c tio n s te p s .

C re w re q u ire m e n ts fo r re c ip ro c a tin g
p la te n c u ttin g a n d c re a s in g p re s s e s
a re lo w e r th a n fo r c y lin d e r fla tb e d
m a c h in e s . S o m e n e w m o d e l
c u tte r /c r e a s e r s re m o v e s o m e o r all
s c ra p a u to m a tic a lly , th e re b y
r e d u c in g la b o r r e q u ir e m e n ts in
s t r ip p in g o p e r a tio n s . L a b o r in v o lv ­
e d in s t a c k in g a n d h a n d lin g o f
p r in te d s h e e t s p r io r t o c u t t in g a n d
c r e a s in g is e lim in a t e d w it h in ­
lin e , c o n t in o u s
p r o d u c t io n
w e b -fe d
g ra v u re
p re s s e s .
O p e r a to r s o f n e w
m o d e l c u t­
te r /c r e a s e r s a t s o m e f ir m s h a v e
r e c e iv e d
o n - th e - jo b
c la s s r o o m
in s tr u c tio n
o p e r a tin g a n d m a in te n a n c e p r o ­
c e d u re s .

P la t e n
c u ttin g
c r e a s in g
p r e s s e s a c c o u n te d f o r ju s t u n d e r
4 0 p e r c e n t o f t o t a l c u tte r /c r e a s e r s
1981, a nd
m o re
w id e s p r e a d
a d o p tio n
o f t h is
r e la tiv e ly e x p e n s iv e te c h n o lo g y is
a n t ic ip a t e d .


Tabs® 2. Itflajor technology changes in folding paperboard boxes—Continued
T e c h n o lo g y ^

C o m p u te r a n d la s e r m e th o d s to p re p a re
th e d ie s u sed o n c u ttin g a n d c re a s in g
p re s s e s

L a b o r im p lic a tio n s

D e s c rip tio n

C o m p u te rs a re b e in g u s e d to
g e n e ra te d ie la y o u ts a n d to
p ro d u c e ta p e s to c o n tro l la s e rs in
th e c u ttin g o f d ie b o a rd s .

D iffu s io n

T h e n u m b e r o f la s e r d ie -c u ttin g
C o m p u te r a n d la s e r m e th o d s o f
s y s te m s is e x p e c te d to in c re a s e
d ie m a k in g c h a n g e c r a ft s k ills o f
s ig n ific a n tly . A lth o u g h e x p e n s iv e
d ie m a k e rs a n d e lim in a te k e y
a n d in re la tiv e ly lim ite d u s e (25
m a n u a l s te p s in d ie c o n s tru c tio n .
L a s e r c u ttin g is h ig h ly a c c u ra te a n d s y s te m s fo r a ll in d u s trie s in th e
re p la c e s th e jig s a w in c u ttin g th e
U n ite d S ta te s in 1 9 8 1 ), th e y
p ro v id e h ig h q u a lity d ie s . T h e
w o o d d ie b o a rd . A fte r c u ttin g ,
re p o rte d s h o rta g e o f s k ille d
h o w e v e r, h a n d m e th o d s a re s till
d ie m a k e rs c o u ld b e an in c e n tiv e to
u s e d to in s e rt th e s te e l c u ttin g a nd
fu rth e r d iffu s io n o f la s e r s y s te m s .
c re a s in g “ ru le s ” in to th e d ie
p a tte rn . O n e m a n u fa c tu re r re p o rte d
th a t la s e r c u ttin g o f o n e ty p e o f d ie
re q u ire d o n ly 2 h o u rs , c o m p a re d to
7 h o u rs u s in g c o n v e n tio n a l m a n u a l
m e th o d s . T ra in e e s re p o rte d ly n e e d
o n ly a fe w w e e k s o f tra in in g o n
ta p e c o n tro lle d la s e r d ie -c u ttin g
s y s te m s to b e c o m e p ro fic ie n t. N e w
p o s it io n s
r e la te d t o
c o m p u te r
o p e ra tio n s n e e d e d .

A u to m a tic s trip p in g o f p a p e rb o a rd w a s te

D e v ic e s w h ic h re m o v e a u to m a tic a lly A lth o u g h s trip p in g o f p a p e rb o a rd
w a s te re m a in s re la tiv e ly la b o r
th e p a p e rb o a rd m a te ria l a tta c h e d
to c a rto n b la n k s fo llo w in g c u ttin g
in te n s iv e , th e u s e o f a irh a m m e rs
a n d c re a s in g a re b e in g u s e d m o re
g re a tly le s s e n s p h y s ic a l e ffo rt. T h e
o c c u p a tio n o f s trip p e r is e x p e c te d
e x te n s iv e ly .
to d e c lin e in im p o rta n c e a s n e w
te c h n o lo g y is a d o p te d .

A u to m a tic s trip p in g d e v ic e s a re
in s ta lle d a s c o m p o n e n ts o f
a d v a n c e d p la te n c u ttin g a n d
c re a s in g p re s s e s w h ic h a c c o u n t fo r
n e a rly 4 0 p e rc e n t o f
c u tte r /c r e a s e r s in u s e . A d o p tio n
m a y b e e x p e c te d , in g e n e ra l, to
p a ra lle l in s ta lla tio n o f th e s e
im p ro v e d p re s s e s .

N e w te c h n o lo g y to g lu e c a rto n s

F a s te r d ry in g g lu e s , n e w a ir-b ru s h
P ro d u c tiv ity in g lu in g lin e o p e ra tio n s
a n d e x tru s io n g lu in g s y s te m s , a n d
h a s in c re a s e d , a n d m a n u a l ta s k s o f
fo ld e rs a n d g lu e rs c u t b a c k . N e w
a u to m a tic c o n tro ls a re in c re a s in g
e ffic ie n c y in g lu in g o p e ra tio n s . N e w c o m p u te r-c o n tro lle d g lu e rs re q u ire
lo w e r o p e ra to r s k ill le v e ls a nd
p ro g ra m m a b le , c o m p u te r-c o n tro lle d
lim ite d tra in in g .
g lu e rs s to re c a rto n d im e n s io n s fo r
a u to m a tic s e t-u p a n d p e rfo rm
q u a lity c o n tro l a n d in s p e c tio n ta s k s .

R a te o f a d o p tio n o f im p ro v e d g lu in g
p ro c e d u re s m a y b e e x p e c te d
g e n e ra lly to k e e p p a c e w ith th e
in tro d u c tio n o f m o re e ffic ie n t
e q u ip m e n t in o th e r p ro d u c tio n
s te p s . T h e p o te n tia l fo r w id e
a d o p tio n o f c o m p u te r c o n tro l is

im p ro v e d p a c k in g m e th o d s

A u to m a tic e q u ip m e n t to p la c e
c a rto n s in c o n ta in e rs fo r s h ip m e n t
is b ein g u s e d m o re w id e ly .
Im p ro v e d m a te ria l h a n d lin g
m e th o d s , in c lu d in g a u to m a tic
c o n v e y o r s y s te m s , a re b e in g u s e d
to tra n s p o rt a n d lo a d s h ip p in g
c o n ta in e rs . N e w ty p e s o f film
s tre tc h w ra p s a re b e in g e m p lo y e d
in p la c e o f p a c k in g o f c a rto n s in
c o rru g a te d c a s e s .

stripping, the cartons can be packed for shipment. Some
types of cartons also are folded and glued prior to leav­
ing the plant.

M o s t firm s a re fu rth e r m e c h a n iz in g
m a te ria l h a n d lin g ta s k s . N e w a n d
s tro n g e r film s tre tc h w ra p s w ill
lik e ly b e u s e d m o re e x te n s iv e ly .

ing paperboard boxes depends on the length of the pro­
duction run, the quality desired, the complexity of
graphics, color requirements, and related factors. In
general, web presses, which accept paperboard stock
continuously from a large roll, are used for longer press
runs, and sheet-fed presses, which handle separate sheets
of paperboard stock, are used for medium and short
The shift to predominantly sheet-fed offset and webfed gravure printing has affected employment and skills
of press operators, camera operators, platemakers, and
others. In addition to offset and gravure printing being
used more widely, productivity and employment in
folding paperboard boxes plants are being affected by
diffusion of faster presses incorporating automatic con­
trols, new platemaking methods, the use of improved
inks and drying techniques, and related developments.

Printing m ethods
The technology of printing folding paperboard boxes
is undergoing substantial change. The most signifi­
cant development is the expansion in use of offset, and
to a lesser extent gravure printing, which involve photo­
graphic methods to make the plates used on printing
presses, and a corresponding sharp decline in letterpress
printing in which printing plates are made from hot
metal. Flexography, an adaptation of letterpress print­
ing that uses rubber or plastic printing plates, is in lim­
ited use for longer press runs.
The printing method used by manufacturers of fold­

P ro d u c tiv ity g a in s re p o rte d as
p ro d u c tio n is fa s te r a n d la b o r tim e
o f b u n d le r-p a c k e rs , fo rk -lift
o p e ra to rs , a n d o th e r m a te ria l
h a n d le rs is re d u c e d .


Offset lithographic printing is of high quality and is
well suited for exacting multicolor work. Offset print­
ing plates reproduce anything that can be photographed
and can be prepared quickly and inexpensively. In off­
set printing, the photo image to be printed is developed
onto a metal printing plate—usually aluminum. The
platemaking process is different from hot-metal type­
setting, and involves new skills relating to camera work
and film processing. The thin, lightweight offset plates
are much easier to handle than the heavy lead plates
used on letterpress printing presses. The time required
to prepare a press for running (makeready time) can be
substantially less with offset than with letterpress.
Plate-to-plate register on multicolor work is accom­
plished by labor-saving plate mounting systems and pre­
cise register adjustments incorporated into the design
of offset presses in contrast to the manual loosening,
moving, and retightening of heavy metal plates to ob­
tain correct color-to-color register necessary with let­
terpress. As an example, makeready requiring 24 hours
for a six-color production run with letterpress equip­
ment has been accomplished in 4 hours with offset
Additional advances in the offset process, raising pro­
ductivity, include computer control of ink and water
flow rates, ink shades, and press speed. Mechanical im­
provements, especially innovations in sheet handling
through the press, allow running speeds to be raised,
and automatic platemaking equipment reduces labor re­
quirements of platemakers and changes skill require­
ments in film processing.
Web-fed offset presses are being employed to a lim­
ited extent in the industry. Printing plates of increased
durability, that can make more impressions than before,
increase the capability of offset for longer press runs.
At the same time, automatic color register controls and
faster plate changes on web-offset presses enhance their
capability for short-run work.
The web-fed gravure process also is being used more
widely in the printing of folding paperboard boxes.
Gravure is a high speed process, and its primary im­
portance is in long runs of high quality multicolor work.
Growth of gravure printing has been considerable over
the past 10 years and over 20 percent of printing of
folding paperboard boxes is by this process. Among
technical advances being incorporated into the gravure
process are color scanners which permit close control
of color and balance, and color data processing systems
that let color copy and text be viewed, moved, and
stored. These prepress innovations improve quality in
subsequent printing. Changes in press operations include
better register and tension controls, improved butt splic­
ing and ink drying, and computerized press manage­
ment systems. In the future, computerized press con­
trols may be employed to adjust ink viscosity and color
to compensate for atmospheric changes and variation

in the inks. Factors which could slow diffusion of
gravure printing include the high cost of and extended
time required for cylinder preparation.
Radiation inic ©yring

Radiation ink curing methods, including infrared and
ultraviolet processes, are replacing the use of conven­
tional oil-based lithographic inks which dry relatively
slowly. In infrared drying, infrared reactive ink is used
in combination with infrared lamps which accelerate
drying. A major benefit is the reduction in labor to
store printed cartons for drying prior to cutting and
creasing. Moreover, the need for spray powders, which
prevent smearing of conventional inks, is substantially
lessened. Thus, materials and labor for press cleanup
are reduced.
In ultraviolet ink curing, a photosensitive ink or coat­
ing polymerizes instantly into a dry film when exposed
to ultraviolet light. Drying time is virtually eliminated.
Thus, ultraviolet curing eliminates storing of printed
cartons prior to cutting and creasing and thereby re­
moves an obstacle to continuous processing with offset
printing. One barrier to broader adoption of ultraviolet
ink curing is the relatively high cost of inks. Special
graphics that promote or enhance carton contents are
seen as a possible primary application of the ultraviolet
Gutting and ©resting presses

Advances in cutting and creasing presses increase
productivity and improve quality of folding paperboard
boxes. Formation of carton blanks from paperboard
sheets or rolls following printing is performed on equip­
ment that cuts out the cartons and creases them where
they are to be folded. New and faster cycling recipro­
cating platen presses being introduced operate at speeds
upwards of three times faster than the older cylinder
flatbed presses and require fewer cutting and creasing
press operators and feeders.
Increases in the speed of cutting and creasing equip­
ment to match the capacity of modern printing presses
has enabled the industry to achieve in-line printing and
cutting and creasing operations. In web-fed gravure op­
erations, for example, printing and cutting and creasing
can be joined in a continuous process.

New technologies involving computers and lasers are
being employed to prepare the dies used in cutting and
creasing presses. These technologies increase produc­
tivity in diemaking and modify craft skills of diemakers.
Dies are arrangements of steel rules, both sharp and
round edged, which form the pattern of cuts and creases
required for a particular type of carton.
In conventional diemaking, the skilled diemaker, after
a series of preliminary steps, arranges and secures the

type incorporating automatic controls are major
changes that raise quality and lower labor requirements
of folders and gluers. For example, recently introduced
programmable computer-controlled gluers have
memories for storing dimensions of as many as 20 dif­
ferent cartons and automatically perform set-up, quali­
ty control, and inspection tasks. Productivity is increas­
ed as a result of faster makeready and changeovers.
Labor skill levels are reduced and required operator
training is limited.

steel rules to form the die. The sequence of steps un­
dertaken by the diemaker involves the use of jigsaws
and other handtools to carry out repetitive, highly
skilled tasks. The process is exacting and labor intensive.
Automated diemaking systems mark a sharp depar­
ture from conventional diemaking. In these systems,
computers draw the dies in accordance with specifica­
tions for a particular type of folding paperboard box
and generate the tapes used to guide laser or chemical
milling equipment in cutting or etching of the dies. In
the preparation of dies for use with the reciprocating
cutting and creasing press, a laser beam cuts grooves
in a hard plywood board into which cutting and creas­
ing knives are then positioned by hand. Computers also
are being used in connection with other major steps of
diemaking including, for example, the control of ma­
chine tools in cutting and shaping the steel rules. Using
these methods, productivity is increased and the need
for the traditional craft skills of the diemaker is
The rearrangement of diecutting production facilities
is affecting employment of diemakers, structural de­
signers, and sample makers at plants where dies for­
merly were prepared by conventional methods. New
skills and occupations, including computer program­
mers, are needed and training in computer methods and
electronics is being provided. Moreover, the trend to
subcontract the laser cutting of dieboards to specialized
service companies has curtailed demand for diemakers
and designers.
Computer methods of die preparation also are being
used in smaller firms. One company which uses a digi­
tal plotter and a business computer to design dies re­
duced die construction time by 30 percent. In this sys­
tem, the die layout generated by the computer is at­
tached directly to the dieboard, and the diemaker com­
pletes the die by conventional hand methods. However,
carton design is no longer his responsibility.


New methods of packing and handling reduce labor
and material requirements of bundler-packers in pre­
paring folding paperboard boxes for shipping. Machines
that automatically pack cartons in corrugated cases are
replacing manual methods in that task. Material and
other cost savings also have been reported from stretch
wrapping cartons in film, rather than packing them in
corrugated cases, and from the use of fiberboard sheets
in place of heavier wood pallets.

Output and Productivity Outlook

Output of folding paperboard boxes (Sic 2651) is tied
closely to business conditions and consumer spending,
with 43 percent of the physical volume of shipments
for use in packaging foods and beverages in 1981.5 Al­
though over 500 companies produce the multitude of
products which make up the folding paperboard boxes
industry, the four largest firms reportedly account for
22 percent of total annual shipments.6
Over the period 1963-82, output of folding paperboard boxes experienced slow growth and increased at
an annual rate of only 0.6 percent (chart 3). The rate
of growth in output during 1963-73 was an even lower
0.3 percent, however, while output during 1973-82 in­
creased at a higher annual rate of 0.9 percent. The small
annual growth rate has been attributed, in part, to
changes in product mix and the use of increasingly less
dense folding boxboard, which have been reflected in
lowered tonnage figures.
The outlook for 1982-87 is for output of folding
paperboard boxes to increase at an annual rate of 1.2

Stripping and finishing

Automatic stripping of waste material is improving
efficiency in folding paperboard boxes plants. Platen
cutters and creasers with stripping devices are available
which can remove automatically waste material follow­
ing cutting of the carton blanks. Newly available “blank­
ing” diecutters completely separate carton blanks from
waste material and count and stack them for packing.
Although much waste removal is still accomplished
manually using airhammers, this method is costly and
generates substantial waste. The trend toward automatic
production suggests that machine methods of stripping
will be used more extensively during the 1980’s.
New technologies to process cartons that must be
glued and folded prior to shipment are being adopted.
Improved glues, new airbrush and extrusion gluing sys­
tems, and more versatile equipment of conventional

51981 Marketing Guide, Paperboard Packaging Council, Washing­
ton, D.C., 1982. The folding carton industry, for which statistics are
compiled by the Paperboard Packaging Council, is broader in scope
than SIC industry 2651, Folding paperboard boxes. In addition to
those products in SIC 2651, it includes cartons for wet foods and
perishable bakery products which are classified in SIC industry 2654,
Sanitary food containers. Shipments o f cartons for foods and bever­
ages, including these two end uses, accounted for 60 percent o f the
total in 1981.
61982 U.S. Industrial Outlook (U.S. Department o f Commerce, Bu­
reau o f Industrial Economics, January 1982), pp. 50-52.


Chart 3- Oytput per empS©y®@ h@yr and’ related datasfolding paperboard
I ndex, 1977=100 (R a tio scale)


riod—standing at $1,275 in 1980—and contributed to
the gradual improvement in productivity that has taken
place in the industry. The direction of a major portion
of capital outlays—following the pattern of recent
years—is toward the rebuilding and retrofitting of costly
printing presses and other existing equipment. Thus,
typical expenditures may involve the modification of
presses to incorporate new technologies such as com­
puter control of ink thickness by means of “add-on”
densitometers, and infrared drying systems.

percent if higher levels of consumer expenditures for
nondurable goods are realized.7 However, competition
from plastics and other substitute materials are expected
to limit growth for various categories of folding paperboard boxes.

Productivity in the folding paperboard boxes indus­
try did not keep pace with the rate of increase in manu­
facturing over the span of nearly two decades. Between
1963 and 1982, output per employee hour in the indus­
try increased at an average annual rate of 1.9 percent,
compared with a significantly higher average annual
rate of 2.3 percent for manufacturing. Over this period,
the productivity gain in the folding paperboard boxes
industry resulted when output increased slightly, at an
average annual rate of 0.6 percent, and employee hours
fell at an average annual rate of 1.3 percent. The intro­
duction of improved technology and production
methods was the major source of the productivity gain
and decline in employee hours.
The pace and direction of productivity change was
uneven over the period 1963-82. Between 1963-73, out­
put per employee hour increased at an average annual
rate of 2.0 percent, but at only a modest 0.5 percent
annually during 1973-82. The industry experienced a
slight average decrease in productivity during 1978-82
of 0.3 percent as declines in 1979 and 1980 were not
fully offset by gains during the final 2 years of the
The longest span of consecutive yearly gains in pro­
ductivity covered 1970-76, when output per employee
hour increased at a high average annual rate of 4.5 per­
cent. This gain resulted when output increased at a rela­
tively modest average annual rate of 1.3 percent, and
employee hours declined sharply, at an average annual
rate of 3.0 percent. Competition from substitute mate­
rials slowed market expansion and provided folding
paperboard boxes plants with an incentive to adopt
more efficient technology.

Real expenditures for new plant and equipment in
the folding paperboard boxes industry totaled $46.3 mil­
lion in 1980 (1972 dollars), having declined since 1963
at an average annual rate of 0.6 percent.8 In contrast,
real capital expenditures per production worker rose at
an average annual rate of 0.7 percent over this pe­

Employment m d Oecupationafl Trends
Employment in the folding paperboard boxes indus­
try declined at an average annual rate of 1.1 percent
between 1963-82, as output of folding paperboard boxes
failed to keep pace with gains in output per employee
hour over this period (chart 4). The closing of less ef­
ficient plants and the introduction of new production
technologies were factors contributing to the gain in
productivity and decline in employment.
In 1982, an estimated 43,700 workers were employed
in the folding paperboard boxes industry, down by 7,600
workers from the level in 1963. After employment fell
to a low of 38,300 workers in 1975, a recession year,
the market for folding paperboard boxes rebounded and
employment increased at a high average annual rate of
8.0 percent between 1975-77. Since 1977, employment
has been relatively stable with the number employed
fluctuating within a narrow range of about 44-46 thou­
sand workers.
The outlook for employment in the folding paperboard boxes industry is uncertain. Moderate growth in
numbers employed could result if the projection by the
Department of Commerce of an annual rate of increase
in shipments of 1.2 percent during 1982-87 is realized.
The actual level of employment through the mid-1980’s
will be determined largely by rates of growth in over­
all industrial activity, by productivity changes within
the industry, and by the extent alternative packaging
materials are used. Rising consumer spending and a
consequent increase in demand for dry foods and other
nondurable products packaged in folding cartons could
result in employment gains. However, if competition
from plastic containers and other substitute materials
intensifies, the potential for such gains would be

7 1983 U.S. Industrial Outlook (U .S. Department of Commerce,
Bureau of Industrial Economics, January 1983), p. 5-9.


8Deflated Bureau o f the Census capital expenditures data. Unpub­
lished deflator series developed in the U.S. Department of Commerce,
Bureau o f Industrial Economics, Office of Research, Analysis, and
Statistics, to calculate constant 1972 dollar expenditures for SIC 265,
paperboard containers and boxes. Deflated expenditures data for 1980
are the latest available.

The diffusion of improved technology in the folding
paperboard boxes industry is bringing about a threefold
impact: Some positions are being eliminated; the job
content of others is being altered; and new positions

Chart 4„ Employment in folding paperboard box©s3 1963-82
Em ployees (in th o u s a n d s )

1 Least squares trends method.
SOURCE: Bureau of the Census. Data for years prior to 1963 are not available. 1982 data are estimates.


place them on storage racks for drying prior to proc­
essing on cutting and creasing presses, are reduced at
plants where these two tasks are carried out in one con­
tinuous operation. Modern fast drying inks and high­
speed cutting and creasing presses facilitate in-line proc­
essing. Productivity of folding and gluing machine op­
erators and bundler-packers also is increased in plants
which introduced improved technology to increase out­
put in gluing and folding, and bundling and packing
The occupations of cutting and creasing press opera­
tor and assistant have been particularly affected by the
introduction of new production equipment. In addition
to reductions resulting from continuous processing, ad­
vanced reciprocating type platen cutting and creasing
presses being installed reportedly lower labor require­
ments significantly.

are being added. The impact of technology on occupa­
tions has not been extensive and plantwide, since tech­
nological changes, for the most part, have involved re­
finements to existing production equipment which have
increased speed and capacity. However, for some po­
sitions, including diemaker and cutting and creasing
press operator, innovation has resulted in displacement
and major skill changes. As a broad general impact oc­
curring in most departments, mechanization is requir­
ing fewer manual tasks of production workers and a
greater involvement in monitoring production equip­
ment including new electronic devices related to qual­
ity control. Although detailed BLS occupational data
for 1980 and projections for 1990 are not available for
this industry, major changes underway are discussed
Employment of diemakers is being cut back by the
use of computers and lasers to prepare the dies used in
cutting and creasing presses. As indicated earlier, skilled
diemakers traditionally use handtools, including jigsaws,
to prepare the dies which form the pattern of cuts and
creases required to turn out a specific type of carton.
Automated diemaking systems being introduced use
computers and lasers for carton designing and dieboard
cutting, thus replacing traditional craft skills. More­
over, the cutting and creasing dies can be prepared by
computer methods at a central corporate facility, and
the completed dies shipped to company plants in various
locations. Thus, tasks formerly undertaken by diema­
kers at the local plant can be centralized with the func­
tions remaining at the local plants limited primarily to
die maintenance and reknifing undertaken by a smaller
staff. New positions, including computer programmer,
are needed to carry out diemaking by advanced laser
Developments in printing technology, including the
shift from letterpress to predominantly offset and
gravure printing, have brought about changes in em­
ployment and job skills of pressmen, platemakers, and
others. Automatic equipment to prepare the plates used
on printing presses has increased productivity of platemakers and has required new skills for film processing.
The more widespread use of automatic controls and
computers in connection with pressroom operations is
expected to increase the proportion of operator duties
involved in monitoring.
Employees engaged in the handling of paperboard
stock in process—many of them women—are being af­
fected by technologies which facilitate continuous proc­
essing. Labor requirements of production workers who
remove paperboard cartons from printing presses, and

Adjustment of workers to technological change

Technological changes in the folding paperboard
boxes industry are not expected to result in major dis­
placement of the work force. As indicated earlier, in­
novation generally has involved the gradual improve­
ment in the speed and capacity of existing technologies.
Normal equipment replacement cycles for expensive
technologies such as printing presses are extended; thus
these innovations tend to be phased in gradually.
Training has been a major method of adjustment to
skill demands of new technology. Where major pro­
duction equipment is involved, such as reciprocating
platen cutting and creasing presses, training may be ex­
tensive and provided in classrooms and on the job over
a period of several months. As a general trend, training
for computer-related occupations and those involving
electronic maintenance frequently involve extended in­
struction in a technical institute or college.
A substantial majority of the industry work force is
covered by collective bargaining agreements. Provi­
sions in these contracts that relate to seniority, reas­
signment, and retraining are available to assist workers
in adjusting to any displacement resulting from techno­
logical change. Techniques such as advance planning
for work force changes and the use of attrition to ac­
complish staff reductions reportedly have been effec­
tive in some plants undergoing change.
Major unions which represent workers in the folding
paperboard boxes industry include the United Paperworkers International Union (AFL-CIO), and the Inter­
national Printing and Graphic Communications Union


“Automated Control Creates Finer Printing,” Modern Packaging,
February 1972, pp. 34-37.

“N ew Horizons in. Laser Diemaking and Carton Design,” Paperboard
Packaging, May 1981, pp. 110, 112.

Market Profde o f the Boxboard Containers Industry, 1981-1982. Boxboard Containers Magazine. Chicago, Illinois, 1981.

“N ew Sheet Fed Offset Press Adds Speed, Cuts Makeready Time
More Than Half,” Paperboard Packaging, April 1979, pp. 19, 22,

Chesnut, W. Richard. “Rotary Diecutting Appears Ready to Enable
Gravure Printing to Achieve Good Cost Effectiveness,” Paperboard Packaging, March 1979, pp. 44, 46, 48, 50.

Paperboard Packaging Council. Marketing Guide—Folding Carton In­
dustry Statistics fo r 1981. Washington, D.C ., 1982
Paperboard Packaging Council. The Folding Carton. Washington,
D.C., 1975.

“Coating and Drying Systems; Automating Plate and Die Making.”
Technical and Production Seminar on New Technology, presented
October 28-29, 1980. Chicago, Illinois. Sponsored by the Paperboard Packaging Council. Washington, D.C., 1980.

Scarlett, Terry. “Printing Inks—Their Evolutionary Trend,” Graphic
Arts Monthly, December 1981, pp. 35-39.

“Folding Cartons Await Consumer Confidence,” Paperboard Pack­
aging, January 1982, pp. 48, 50, 54.

Schipke, A. J. “Folding Carton Flexo—N ew Equipment Approaches
for New Markets,” Paperboard Packaging, July 1981, pp. 52-57.

Fuchs, Josef. “N ew Platen Die Cutter Technology Improves Pro­
ductivity Potential,” Paperboard Packaging, September 1980, pp.

Smith, Leonard S. “Outlook and 1981 in Review —Some Improve­
ment Expected for 1982 Container Sales,” Boxboard Containers,
December 1981, pp. 21, 23-27.

Huck, Charles. “Laser Diemaking Helps Meet Increasingly Stringent
Demands o f Carton Plants,” Boxboard Containers, May 1981, pp.

“Technology Pushes Package Graphics,” Modern Packaging, O cto­
ber 1978, pp. 35-38.

McGorty, Cal, and Kyle Sherwood. “The Folding Carton,” Modern
Packaging, December 1979, pp. 75-79.

York, James D. “Folding Paperboard Box Industry Shows Slow Rise
in Productivity,” Monthly Labor Review, March 1980, pp. 25-28.


Chapter 3= Metal Cans


Industry Struetur©

Technological change has had widespread impact on
the metal can industry (SIC 3411) during the past 15
years. The major advance, the two-piece can line, fun­
damentally alters the can manufacturing process. This
technology, which has been widely diffused through­
out the beverage sector, increases speed and
automaticity, and significantly reduces unit labor re­
quirements for skilled and unskilled workers. In com­
ing years, the thrust of technological development is
likely to occur in the food can sector, as it adapts the
two-piece technology for its use.
Productivity in the metal can industry rose at a mod­
erate average rate of 2.6 percent annually between 1960
and 1982, equal to the average rate for all manufactur­
ing.1 However, unlike most other industries, the great­
est rise occurred toward the end of the 1970’s and early
198Q’s and is associated with technological and struc­
tural changes. From 1979 to 1982, productivity gains
accelerated to 5.5 percent (average annual rate) as em­
ployee hours and output dropped sharply, at the rate
of 8.2 and 3.1 percent, respectively. Productivity gains
are expected to continue, although probably at a slower
rate than during the past decade.
Expenditures for new plant and equipment nearly tri­
pled between 1960 and 1980 to reach $205 million (in
current dollars). Nevertheless, after adjustment for in­
flation, outlays in 1980 were less than two-thirds the
peak outlays in 1975. The overall decline in real invest­
ment since 1975 reflects low profitability, industrywide
excess capacity, modest long-term growth projections,
and the decision by several of the major can companies
to diversify into nonpackaging industries.
Employment in the can industry declined during the
1970’s, reversing the trend of the previous decade. By
1982, employment had fallen to 52,200, 30 percent be­
low the peak year of 1970. The sharpest decline, which
followed the 1974-75 recession, reflects increased usage
of labor-saving machinery, the closure of a number of
large plants, and a drop in output. With the likelihood
of only modest long-term growth in the 1980’s, contin­
ued closings of marginal plants, and greater use of new
technologies, the downtrend in employment will proba­
bly continue. Changes in work rules and job consoli­
dations are also expected to contribute to the decline.

Changes in the structure of the metal can industry
have had a positive impact on productivity and tech­
nological development. Average industry productivity
has probably been improved by the increased number
of smaller, more efficient, specialized plants which are
replacing large, older establishments.
The metal can industry is composed of establishments
primarily engaged in the manufacture of metal cans,
can lids, and parts of metal cans for packaging three
major groups of products: beverages, food, and general
nonfood products. Plants owned by the can companies
and those owned and operated by can users, such as
the brewers and food processors, are included in these
The metal can industry has historically been domi­
nated by a few large companies, which retain a pre­
dominant position in the industry today. Nevertheless,
concentration ratios have significantly declined in the
last two decades. The market share of the four largest
firms fell from 80 percent in 1958 to 73 percent in 1963
and to 59 percent in 1977.2 A large part of the decline
can be attributed to the increase in productive capacity
of the so-called self-manufacturing (or “captive”) plants,
which are owned and operated by large-scale food pro­
cessors and brewers. To reduce packaging and trans­
portation costs, these companies have built their own
canmaking plants adjacent to bottling or canning facili­
ties and equipped them with the latest can manufactur­
ing technology.
The productivity level is believed to be higher for
self-manufacturing plants. Generally, these plants are
smaller and may specialize in the production of a lim­
ited number of standard-sized cans in large volume runs.
Of total can shipments, the self-manufacturing share in­
creased from about 18 percent in 1961 to 28 percent in
1980. Their market share will probably continue to rise
during the 1980’s.
The major can companies have responded by offer­
ing other types of services, including the building of
“dedicated facilities” near can users. These plants are
known as “dedicated” because a can company contracts
to dedicate a share of the plant’s output to a specific
2These data come from the Census o f Manufactures which is con­
ducted every 5 years.

1Rates of change are based on the least squares trends method.


Although most other technological developments
represent modifications or improvements to existing
processes, they nevertheless impact favorably on pro­
ductivity by reducing unit labor requirements. As an
example, high-speed palletizers and labeling machinery
are being adopted. Also, prompted by proposed health
regulations, the industry is replacing its soldered can
lines (solder has a high lead content) with newer welded
side seam processes. To shorten drying time and reduce
energy costs and air pollution, alternative drying
methods, water-based coatings, and ultraviolet inks are
becoming more commonplace.

Productivity growth has also been positively affected
by the presence of the basic aluminum producers in the
metal packaging market since the mid-1960’s. They first
developed the costly, sophisticated, high-speed twopiece technology (described below). Since the major
can companies with large investments in an older steel
technology were reluctant to convert to the new proc­
ess, aluminum companies successfully began the manu­
facture and marketing of their own cans to the bever­
age and beer industries. The major can companies fol­
lowed suit. By 1982, almost 60 percent of all cans manu­
factured were the aluminum, two-piece type.
Also, average industry productivity levels have been
improved by the shutdown of numerous large, techno­
logically and structurally obsolete establishments, and
the construction of many small, more efficient, and bet­
ter located plants. Between Census years 1963 and 1977,
the number of plants increased from 270 to 403, while
the number of very large plants (more than 500 workers)
declined from 30 to 18. Shipments from plants with
more then 250 employees fell from 67 percent of the
total in 1963 to 52 percent in 1977. During the same
period, plants with between 100 and 250 workers more
than doubled in number and increased their share of
the market from 17 to 31 percent.
Census data tend to substantiate that the smaller es­
tablishments have been more labor efficient than the
larger ones. In 1977 (latest available data), smaller plants
(with less than 100 workers) produced 18 percent of
the industry’s total value added with only 11 percent
of all employees. In contrast, the largest plants (with
more than 500 workers) accounted for only 15 percent
of the industry’s value added yet employed 24 percent
of all workers. In addition, a special 1967 Census study
which divided can industry establishments into quartiles according to4heir labor efficiency (as measured by
value added per employee hour) yielded a similar re­
sult. The average size plant in the most “efficient” quartile, i.e., highest value added per employee hour, em­
ployed only 76 workers, compared to an industry av­
erage of 216.

Tw®=p5 < < earns
©g s

The single most important technological innovation
in this industry has been the development of a process
for fabricating metal cans out of two rather than three
pieces. Although the two-piece can (bottom and
sidewall of one piece with a separate top, compared to
a conventional three-piece can with a separate seamed
sidewall, top, and bottom) was first produced in 1958,
it was not until the mid-1960’s that its production be­
came economically feasible. This occurred when the
drawn-and-ironed ( D&l) technology was developed by
the major aluminum producers to enable economical
production of the elongated cans used to package bev­
erages and aerosols. The machinery is more costly than
three-piece lines and is most practical for use where
long production runs are possible.
By 1982, almost all beverage cans were the two-piece
type, up from only 11 percent in 1970.3In contrast, use
of the two-piece can for food packaging has thus far
been limited. Because food in cans is vacuum-packed,
the d&i can is not a viable alternative to the three-piece
container; its thin walls could buckle under external
pressure. Carbonation prevents this from occurring in
beverage cans.
Consequently, an alternative two-piece technology,
the drawn-and-redrawn ( d &r i ) process, was developed
in 1975 to produce a stronger, shallow can with a
sidewall and bottom of essentially the same thickness.
Another recent innovation now being introduced com­
bines the draw/redraw technology with partial draw­
ing and ironing. In 1982, only about 13 percent of food
cans were the two-piece type, but this percentage should
be substantially greater by the late 1980’s. Until recently,
the D&R technology was not practical for larger-sized
In the typical D&l process, a coil of metal (most fre­
quently a 37 to 60 inch-wide sheet of aluminum, al­
though steel-based metals are also used) is automatically
fed through a multiple press with as many as 12 cup­
pers. Each cupper forms a circular disc which is drawn

T eefh M S o g y
Developments in technology in the metal can indus­
try are being directed towards reducing labor, material,
and energy costs, and increasing automation. The most
important innovation of the last two decades—the twopiece can line—is a radical departure from conventional
manufacturing methods. This is a continuous process
system which is currently used extensively for bever­
age can production and is expanding in modified form
into other can sectors. It both simplifies and reduces
the number of processing steps, and lowers unit labor
costs while substantially boosting capacity. Many of the
more modern lines are computer-controlled.

in d u stry shipment data for 1965-80, Current Industrial Reports-, for
1981 and 1982, adjusted Can Manufacturers Institute data.


Production line w hich draws and irons the w alls of two-piece cans

to form a shallow cup. The cup is then automatically
conveyed to a “body maker” machine where a punch
presses it through a series of rings to stretch out the
sidewall. In subsequent steps, the can is trimmed,
washed, sprayed, and dried prior to decoration. The
entire process is fully automated. Tenders or operators
monitor the equipment.
This process eliminates several of the steps necessary
for conventional three-piece can assembly. In the
three-piece line, the metal is first uncoiled, sheared into
sheets, then decorated (the decorating steps are dis­
cussed below) and slit into individual body blanks. Each
step requires at least one operator. The body blank is
subsequently rolled into a near cylinder and either sol­
dered or welded.
Significant labor savings result from the adoption of
the two-piece line. The two-piece can line reduces to­
tal labor requirements by an estimated 25 to 30 percent
when compared to an equivalent conventional
three-piece line. (Because of a wide range of possible
system variations, comparisons are a rough approxima­

tion.) A number of steps are eliminated, operating speeds
are higher, and capacity is substantially greater. Maxi­
mum speeds are approximately 1,500 cans per minute,
well above three-piece line capabilities. Capacities for
two-piece lines average between 250 and 275 million
cans a year, compared to 120 million cans for a
three-piece tin-free steel line, and about 100 to 120 mil­
lion cans for a three-piece soldered can production line,
depending on the number of shifts in operation.4
Labor savings also result from mechanized material
handling. The two-piece can line is a continuous proc­
ess system from start to finish with elaborate automated
conveyors between operations, monitored by solid-state
sensing devices. By contrast, the three-piece line may
consist of several noncontiguous components. Materials
handling (as by forklift truck operator, for example)
would be required between these operations.

4“Cans: Dynamic Technology Continues,” Beverage World, July
1976, p. 52.


The effect of welded seam technology on unit labor
requirements depends on the extent of replacement. In
the simplest conversion, in which the solder bodymaker
machinery is replaced by a welding sequence, the labor
effect is minimal. In this case, the solder bodymaker
operator and mechanic may be retrained to operate the
welding components. If a new line is installed, some
work stations may be consolidated. In an example cited
by a union official, one operator assumed the duties of
both the slitter and double seamer operators. In addi­
tion, such a system may run at slightly faster speeds
than conventional three-piece lines due to a reduction
of several cooling, reheating, and chilling steps.

Of major importance is the labor saved in the deco­
rating process of the two-piece beverage can. The ap­
plication of the exterior decoration becomes an integral
on-line component of the two-piece system and is a
simplified process. There are two basic decorating steps:
The already formed body is first coated with an enamel
undercoat; the design is then applied using a dry offset
process. All colors are transferred from a blanket cylin­
der to the can at the same time. A single mechanic may
be responsible for this work station. By contrast, most
three-piece lines use lithography to apply the exterior
decoration at a work station usually separated from
bodymaking operations. The decoration is first applied
to flat metal sheets before the can is formed. In addi­
tion to unskilled material handlers charged with bring­
ing the sheets to and from the station, a “litho” feeder
must supply the sheets to the lithograph equipment. The
sheets must pass through a printing press, generally
once for each color in the decorating scheme. The press
is operated by a lithograph pressman, one of the most
skilled and best paid positions in the plant. Each sheet
is subsequently baked in an oven to cure the inks, then
removed by an unskilled litho oven unloader. (The
decorating processes described herein refer to beverage
cans. Most food cans, which have beaded walls, are
sold with a paper label.)
Aside from labor savings, several other features of
the two-piece can help explain its rapid adoption by the
industry. One principal benefit is associated with re­
duced unit material requirements. In 1962, for instance,
the net weight of three-piece double reduced tinplate
(itself a lightweight product introduced in 1961) cans
was about 122 pounds per thousand. By 1976, the lightest
D&i steel cans weighed 76 pounds per thousand. The
average weight for d &i aluminum cans has fallen from
42 pounds per thousand for the first cans in 1964 to 29
pounds in 1979. Another benefit of the two-piece can
is that since it has neither bottom nor side seams, it is
less susceptible to leakage and not subject to testing for
seam quality. Moreover, health considerations have also
encouraged the adoption of the two-piece can. The
Food and Drug Administration has proposed reducing
the use of solder in food can seams because of its lead

Output and Productivity Outlook
Output per employee hour in the metal can industry
rose at an average annual rate of 2.6 percent during the
years 1960-82, equal to the average rate for all manu­
facturing during the same period. However, unlike most
other industries, the major increases occurred toward
the end of this period, rather than in early years. For
instance, in the years 1960-65, productivity in the can
industry edged upwards at an average of only 0.7 per­
cent per year, compared to the strong 4.8 percent av­
erage annual increase for all manufacturing industries.
Can industry productivity improved in the 1965-73 pe­
riod (to 1.8 percent), but was still significantly lower
than the average for all manufacturing industries (2.7
percent). However, during the 1973-82 period, can in­
dustry productivity rose at an average annual rate of
4.0 percent—more than double the 1.6 percent yearly
rate for all manufacturing industries. In the last three
of those years, can productivity jumped 5.5 percent an­
nually (chart 5).
The significant gains recorded during the 1973-82
period reflect a sharp reduction in employee hours (4.4
percent annually) but only a slight decline in output
(0.6 percent). In 1979-82, hours fell by 8.2 percent an­
nually, to the lowest level in at least 35 years. As dis­
cussed earlier, the reduction in hours in 1973-82 was
made possible by the widespread adoption of new tech­
nology, especially two-piece can lines, which have the
capability of producing larger volumes of cans at higher
speeds with fewer workers. The expanded capacity of
two-piece lines, coupled with limited growth in demand,
caused companies to shut down many of the older, less
efficient, larger-sized plants. At the same time, the con­
struction of many of the newer establishments, espe­
cially self-manufacturing plants, which produce a lim­
ited number of lines in large volumes, affected posi­
tively the industry’s productivity average. More re­
cently, changes in work rules and consolidation of jobs
have also contributed to the productivity growth.
Productivity has also been affected by the changing
composition of output. The beverage can sector, which

Welded three=pieee lines

As an alternative to the standard soldered side seam,
welding was introduced in the late 1960’s. Welding is
currently used for an estimated 15 percent of food-can
lines in place, and an additional 10 percent are expected
to be changed over to this type of process in the near
future. Major advantages of this process include its leadfree content, reduction in the weight of the metal and
in the thickness of the sideseam, its ability to join cheaper
tin-free steel (which solder cannot), and its low capital
cost compared to the two-piece alternative.


I ndex, 1977=100 (Ratio scale)


61 percent of total can output in 1982, compared with
only 26 percent in 1965. Shipments to the soft drink
market increased from 8 million base boxes6 to 53 mil­
lion and shipments to the beer market more than dou­
bled to 63 million base boxes in that period.
The strong growth in the beverage sector during
most of this period can be attributed to consumer pref­
erence for disposable packaging, new product innova­
tions, such as the development of the ring-pull opener,
and a significant increase in per capita consumption of
beverages, which is a function of rising real incomes
and favorable changes in demography. Annual per
capita consumption of all types of packaged soft drinks
increased from approximately 151 12-ounce units in 1965
to 420 12-ounce units in 1982.
Because of consumer preference for disposable pack­
aging, the soft drink industry has been able to expand
its market share at the expense of returnable bottles.
While can shipments increased from 13 percent of to­
tal packaged soft drink shipments (in equivalent 12ounce units) in 1965 to 37 percent in 1982, the share of
returnable bottles decreased from 82 percent to only 16
percent. Nonreturnable soft drink bottles have also in­
creased from 5 percent to 26 percent of the market.
However, plastic containers now constitute about onefifth of the soft drink market.
Similarly, beer can shipments demonstrated signifi­
cant growth during this period as beer consumption
grew. Annual per capita consumption of beer in all
forms increased from 15.9 gallons in 1965 to 24.3 gal­
lons in 1982. The share of this expanding market pack­
aged in metal cans increased from 40 percent in 1965
to 60 percent during the mid-1970’s and stood at 62
percent in 1982.
Since the mid-1970’s, the leveling off of output growth
in the beverage can sector is in large part a result of
increased competition from substitutes, particularly the
smaller-size beer bottle and the 2-liter plastic bottle for
soft drinks, as well as some weakness in the total soft
drink market. Because soft drinks are discretionary pur­
chases, sales tend to fall during economic slowdowns.
For example, beverage can production increased only
marginally during the 1971 recession after several years
of robust growth, and declined during the 1975 (higher
sugar prices were also a factor that year) and 1980
Another cause for the recent slowdown in beverage
can output growth has been the enactment of anti-litter
laws requiring mandatory deposits on beer and soft
drink containers, in effect in seven States in 1982. In
the case of the beer market, packaged sales in those
States declined initially or the rate of increase in con­
sumption slowed after implementation of the laws.

has benefited from the greatest technological change,
has grown, rapidly, while the other less technologically
advanced sectors (food and nonfood) have experienced
no growth. Economies of scale are greatest for bever­
age cans because large volume runs are possible, re­
quiring less downtime to change exterior decoration,
labels, and can sizes. There are fewer sizes and larger
markets for these products.
Although levels of output per employee differ widely
within the industry, one can company reports that it
has been able to increase its production of cans from
826,000 per employee per year in 1971 to 1,200,000 in
1980—a 56-percent increase. One of its most recently
constructed plants produces at a rate of 6 million cans
per employee per year.5
Data on another measure, payroll per unit of value
added (i.e., value of shipments less materials and other
costs), also indicate considerable improvement in effi­
ciency in the can industry over the last two decades.
In 1960, payroll per unit of value added was .50; by
1980, jt had declined to .31.
During the remainder of the 1980’s, productivity gains
are expected to continue, but probably at a slower rate
than during the past decade.

After strong growth in the 1960’s and early 1970’s
fueled by interest in convenience packaging, can out­
put has been depressed by weaker demand in major
markets, increased competition from alternative pack­
aging forms, and generally less favorable economic con­
ditions. During the years 1960 to 1965, output increased
at an average annual rate" of 2.4 percent, and significant
gains of 4.4 percent were registered during the years
1965-73. In contrast, output edged down 0.6 percent
annually during the 1973-82 period. In the last three of
those years, output fell at an average rate of 3.1 per­
cent annually (chart 5). Overall, during the years 196082, output increased at an average annual rate of 2.4
percent, less than the 3.3-percent increase recorded for
all manufacturing industries.
Industry growth during the years 1965— is attrib­
utable solely to the relative strength of the beverage
sector; both the food and general line sectors experi­
enced declines. During the period of most rapid indus­
try expansion (1965-73), beverage can output increased
more than 12 percent annually; the other two sectors
rose slightly. During the years 1973-82, the industry
output decline occurred as the market for food and
general line containers fell, while beverage can output
leveled off.
Consequently, the beverage can sector increased to
s Address by Alan W. Larson. Reshaping the Can Business: A
Proud Industry L ooks A head (American Can Company, May 1981),
p. 6.

6 A base box is a measurement o f the surface area o f metal used in
production, totaling 31,360 square inches, equivalent to 112 sheets,
14 in. x 20 in. in size.


Moreover, the can industry has generally lost market
share to both refillable bottles and draught beer, al­
though the extent has varied considerably from State
to State. The extension of similar laws to major indus­
trial States (two highly populated States will implement
container deposit laws in 1983) will likely reduce can
sales temporarily. The long-term effect of the anti-litter laws is unclear, but the can industry expects to ex­
pand its market share.
Projections for the beverage sector suggest modest
long-term growth. However, introduction of the half­
liter plastic bottle may pose a threat to the single-serv­
ice soft drink market once technological problems are
Food and general line. Output of the second largest
can sector, food, was lower in 1982 than in 1965. It re­
mained relatively stable during the early part of this
period but has gradually fallen since 1974. Conse­
quently, food can shipments declined from 60 percent
of total can shipments in 1965 to 33 percent in 1982.
Changing consumer tastes, such as a preference for
fresh fruit and vegetables, have adversely affected the
can market. Similarly, consumers have demonstrated a
strong preference for the convenience of specialty fro­
zen foods. Nor has the can industry benefited from in­
creasing commercial demand for packaged foods since
restaurants generally require large volume containers
rather than cans.
Food can production tends to be less susceptible to
cyclical changes in demand than either the beverage or
general line sectors. However, output is often affected
by weather and crop conditions. Droughts contributed
to packing declines in both 1979 and 1980. After a good
harvest year (as in 1974, for example), packing may de­
cline because of excessive inventory accumulation.
An impending competitive threat to the canned food
market is the “retort pouch,” a flexible, laminated poly­
ester container with packaging qualities considered by
many to be superior to metal cans. At least one major
can company and one aluminum company, as well as
food processors, have been instrumental in the devel­
opment of this competitive product. However, because
present pouch packaging speeds are still comparatively
slow and the pouch continues to meet some resistance
from consumers, it appears unlikely that the retort pouch
will become a serious competitor before the middle of
the decade. A more immediate challenge is coming from
the manufacturers of the plastic bottle and aseptic con­
tainer (a flexible laminated container with sterilized con­
tents requiring no refrigeration) for packaging such
products as sauces and fruit drinks.
The third can sector, general line containers, has, like
the food can sector, contracted in recent years. Sales
of aerosol cans have been hurt by environmental con­
cerns and, more recently, by lower discretionary spend­

ing. The paint and varnish can market, which had ex­
perienced the greatest growth in this sector, has re­
cently been weakened by recession and increased usage
of plastic containers. Overall, shipments of general line
containers declined from almost 18 million base boxes
in 1965 (15 percent of all can shipments) to about 12
million base boxes in 1982 (7 percent of the total). The
peak year was 1972, when 21 million base boxes were
Because of high transportation costs, foreign trade is
not significant in the can industry. Exports accounted
for less than 1 percent of all can product shipments in
1982. Rather than ship cans overseas, the major can
companies have established subsidiaries abroad to serve
foreign markets. The import penetration ratio is also
very low—less than 1 percent.

Capital expenditures

Real capital expenditures7 peaked in 1975, then fell
by almost 50 percent in 1976 to the lowest level since
the early 1960’s. Although they fluctuated somewhat
during the period 1976-80, real expenditures averaged
27 percent less than in the preceding 5-year period
(1971-75). Because of the significant decline in employ­
ment, outlays per production worker fell 15 percent
between these two periods.
The industry decreased its investment due to weaker
demand in major markets, low profitability, projections
indicating modest output growth, and current over­
capacity. In addition, the major can companies have
been diversifying into other nonpackaging industries.
In current dollars, can industry investment rose to
$205 million in 1980 (latest available data), a nearly
threefold increase over 1960, but well below the $232
million spent in 1975, the peak year. An average of 90
percent of new expenditures has been used to purchase
machinery and equipment.
Although can industry expenditures per production
worker exceeded the manufacturing average in the
1960’s and early 1970’s, the reverse has been true in re­
cent years. In the 5 years 1963-67, current-dollar ex­
penditures per production worker were 36 percent
higher in the can industry than in all manufacturing; by
1976-80, they had fallen 2 percent below the manufac­
turing average.

Empl@pn)(snt amd ©©eupational Tremids
In the 1960-82 period, can manufacturing employ­
ment data showed two distinct trends: a steady rise from
7 Deflated Bureau of Census data.


ment could be retrained to maintain the new welding
machinery. In an entirely new system, the labor adjust­
ments can be more significant, because job consolida­
tions down the line are possible.
Duty or skill consolidation increases the flexibility of
the work force and, thereby, could result in the reduc­
tion of the number of workers required per processing
unit. In the can industry, a major industrywide effort
is currently underway to review, and where necessary,
combine and reclassify jobs in recognition that “changes
in business or equipment may create conditions which
will not justify the (existing) pure classification. During
such circumstances, nonskilled functions may be added
to a trade, craft, or skilled job ...”.8One example of the
type of job combination is the case in which the pro­
duction mechanic assumes some quality control respon­
sibilities; i.e., examining, testing, and measuring equip­
ment for quality specifications, and visually checking
the product for defects. Similarly, the skilled mechanics
may be assigned to duties normally the responsibility
of maintainers. Some unskilled jobs, such as production
checker and compound mixer, have also been combined.
A typical plant has more than 20 job classes. In one
of the highest classes is the electronic repairman who
is responsible for using electrical testing devices to en­
sure proper operation of electronic control components.
Also highly skilled are the mechanics, who ensure that
the components are properly functioning. Least skilled
are the workers responsible for packing and shipping
cans, such as the palletizer operators, packers, sorters,
wrappers, and strappers.
Most companies provide comprehensive apprentice­
ship programs. The machinist and lithograph pressman
training programs include an 8,000-hour period of ap­
prenticeship. An apprentice in the litho shop might be­
gin training as a press feeder. Other apprenticeship pro­
grams vary from a mimimum of 3,000 hours for the
least skilled positions, such as the automatic carton
packer, to 6,000 for the can bodymaker and sideseamer.

the mid-1960’s to a peak in 1970 and a gradual decline
in the 1970’s with cyclical fluctuations in the 1970 and
1975 recessions. By 1982, employment was down to
52,200—about 16 percent less than in 1960 and 30 per­
cent below its 1970 peak (chart 6).
Employment was relatively stable in the first half of
the 1960’s following the 1961 recession. Employment
then rose sharply as output increased more rapidly than
productivity. To accommodate the growing demand
for beverage cans, many new establishments were
added, including a number of larger-sized plants.
In contrast, the employment decline in the 1970’s oc­
curred as productivity growth outstripped demand.
Many forces came into play, including the impact of
new technology on unit labor requirements, the change
in composition of output (expansion of the technologi­
cally advanced beverage sector, with some contraction
in the more labor-intensive food and general-line sec­
tors), and less favorable economic conditions. In addi­
tion, as cited earlier, smaller, more efficient dedicated
and self-manufacturing plants have been replacing
larger, less specialized, labor-intensive facilities. In 1972,
43 percent (30,000) of workers were employed in es­
tablishments with more than 500 employees; 5 years
later, this figure had dropped to only 24 percent (15,000).
The trend of plant closings and job consolidations,
the continued diffusion of new and improved machin­
ery, and modest output growth are likely to further de­
press employment in the 1980’s.

Changes in the can manufacturing processes have had
a significant impact on skill requirements.
As mentioned in the technology section, the intro­
duction of the major new innovation—the two-piece
can line—has eliminated certain manufacturing steps
and changed others. For example, because the decorat­
ing process :° simplified on a two-piece line, several
unskilled positions in the lithography shop can be elimi­
nated, including the litho feeder and oven unloader.
Also, because the line is a fully automated, continuous
process system, requirements are reduced for the un­
skilled workers (e.g., forklift truckdrivers) who trans­
port the material between work stations. In addition,
because the respective job requirements for the
three-piece and two-piece can lines are so different,
many skills are virtually nontransferable. Press and part
manufacture skills do have some crossover value,
The adoption of the new welded seam processes has
generally had less impact on job content than did the
two-piece line. The extent of the labor adjustment de­
pends on whether the new welding machinery merely
replaces the soldering sequence in an existing line or an
entirely new welding system is installed. In the first
case, the mechanic responsible for the soldering equip­

Adjustment of workers to teohnologsoaS change

Programs to protect employees from the adverse ef­
fects of changes in machinery and methods of produc­
tion may be incorporated into contracts or they may
be informal arrangements between labor and manage­
ment. In general, such programs are more prevalent
and detailed in industries and companies $hich nego­
tiate formal labor-management agreements. Such con­
tract provisions to assist workers in their adjustment to
technological and associated changes may cover new
wage rates, new job assignments, retraining, transfer
rights, layoff procedures, and advance notice of changes

8 Master Agreement between Continental Can Company and United
Steel Workers o f America, p. 170.


Chart 6.

Employment in metal eans, 1960=82

Em ployees (In th o u s a n d s )









1 Least squares trends method.
SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Major industry contracts provide for severance pay­
ments, interplant transfer rights, and seniority regula­
tions governing layoff and recall to protect workers
against the negative effects of technological change.
One contract states, “employees laid off because of a
reduction in force arising out of the closing of their de­
partment or unit of the plant as a result of technologi­
cal change, will be paid a severance payment.”9

planned by management, e.g., machine changes or plant
closings. They may include various types of income
maintenance programs such as supplementary un­
employment benefits ( SUB ) or severance pay.
The can industry has long been highly unionized.
According to one 1981 estimate, substantially more than
half of the production workers were covered by col­
lective bargaining agreements, well above the 40-percent average of all manufacturing. The United Steel­
workers of America ( ;USW ) and the International As­
sociation of Machinists and Aerospace Workers ( IAM )
are the principal unions in the industry. The Teamsters,
Sheetmetal Workers, and Food and Allied Service
Workers represent a smaller number of workers.
It seems likely that the proportion of can industry
workers covered by union agreements is declining.
Membership in the two largest unions has fallen faster
than the overall decline in production worker employ­
ment. Many older, unionized plants have closed; at the
same time, workers in some plants which have recently
begun operations are not represented by unions.
In the “for-sale” sector of the industry, master agree­
ments are established for the large multiplant compa­
nies, and bargaining is conducted on an industrywide
basis. Wage and benefit settlements for these companies
have followed the pattern of other basic-metal indus­
tries. In the self-manufacturing sector, negotiations are
conducted on an establishment or companywide basis.
Hourly wages of workers in plants owned by the four
large can companies—the so-called “core” compa­
nies—may not be substantially higher than those paid
in self-manufacturing plants. Benefits, however, are
more comprehensive. For instance, short week benefits
and supplementary unemployment benefits are available
to nearly all core company workers; comparatively few
workers in the self-manufacturing sector are shielded
by such provisions. Demography also plays an impor­
tant role in the relative costs of the two sectors. The
average age of the core company worker is more than
40, and many workers have years of seniority. In con­
trast, the newer companies generally employ a younger
age group which reduces pension, severance, and SUB
liabilities substantially. It is believed that the high unit
labor costs of the core companies are a contributing
cause to their loss of market share to the

Retraining rights are a provision of some union con­
tracts. One example in a contract for a large bargaining
unit specifies that employees (in this case, the clerical
work force) whose jobs are or will be displaced because
of automation or economic conditions may qualify for
training expenses to enable them to qualify for other
jobs in the bargaining unit.1
Provisions are also included in the same contract for
advance notice of actions affecting clerical
workers—“When mechanical or electrical office equip­
ment will have effect on the job status of employees ...
where possible, management will notify the Local
Grievance Committee one year in advance of such in­
stallation.”1 A second major agreement specifies, with­
out reference to technological change, that the union
will be notified of any layoffs as far in advance as is
Strengthening income protection and job security has
for some years been an important objective of union
negotiations because of employment shrinkage. Income
protection plans specified in two master contracts en­
title a worker to supplemental benefits if, for any cal­
endar quarter, average (straight time hourly) earnings
fall below 95 percent of the average (straight time
hourly) earnings during a previous base year.1 Also,
SUB payments are available to a large number of

9 Collective Bargaining Agreement between Campbell Soup Com­
pany and the Food and Allied Service Workers, p. 77.
10USW Master Agreement-Continental Can, February 16, 1981, to
February 19, 1984, pp. 134-35.
1 Ibid., p. 135.
1 Master Agreement-IAM and CCC, p. 28.
1 Ibid., pp. 30-31; and USW and CCC, pp. 32-33.

American Can Company. “Reshaping the Can Business—A Proud
Industry Looks Ahead.” Address by Alan W. Larson, May 1981.

“Food Processors Benefit From 2-Piece vs 3-Piece Can Technology
Race,” Food Processing, June 1981, pp. 124-26.

“Cans: Dynamic Technology Continues,” Beverage World, July 1976,
p. 23.

Hanlon, Joseph F. Handbook o f Package Engineering. N ew York,
McGraw Hill, 1971.

Carey, John L. “Productivity in the Metal Cans Industry,” Monthly
Labor Review, July 1972, pp. 28-31.

“A Hardline on ‘Lifetime Security’,” Business Week, October 31,1977,
pp. 33-34.


“How Metal Containers Are Made,” American Machinist, April, 1980,
pp. 155-65.

‘N ow Canmakers Want the USW to Bend,” Business Week, Febru­
ary 21, 1983, p. 43.

“Metal Box CEO Foresees Changes in Can Making,” Beverage In­
dustry, July 18, 1980, pp. 35-36.


“Steel for Cans: Where It Stands, Where It’s Going,” Beverage In­
dustry, November 7, 1980, p. 176.

Chapter 4„ Laundry
SEnidl Cleaning

hour of all persons) increased at an annual rate of 0.5
percent between 1960-82. During 1973-82, however,
productivity declined at an average annual rate of 1.7
percent, as output fell at a faster pace than employee
Employment in the laundry and cleaning industry fell
by one-third between 1960-82, from 523,000 to 347,300
workers, as demand slackened and improved
technology was introduced. Employment declines have
been greatest in the laundry and services sector; in con­
trast, employment in industrial laundry and linen supply
establishments has been increasing, reflecting changes in
industry structure. The outlook is for total industry
employment to continue downward to 1990. Operatives,
who make up nearly one-half of the work force, are pro­
jected to decline by more than one-third because of
technological and other changes.

Technological changes associated with the laundry
and cleaning industry (sic 721) are achieving produc­
tivity gains in selected production operations, but the
impact during the 1980’s is expected to be moderate
and confined mainly to the larger industrial launderers
and linen supply firms. The small, owner-operated firms,
which constitute a large segment of the industry, gen­
erally do not have the volume and capital to adopt new
technology extensively.
New technologies in this major service industry share
some similarity to those associated with manufacturing
and include more automatic equipment and improved
conveyors and related devices which transport items
through cleaning, drying, and finishing operations. Ma­
jor innovations in this industry include increased mecha­
nization of washing equipment and related conveyor
systems; mechanized steam tunnel finishing, and auto­
mated systems to hang, sort, and transport cleaned gar­
ments. In addition, improvements in other industries,
such as improved detergents that save energy and time,
and continued use of blended polyester/cotton fabrics
which require less processing, are affecting operations
in the laundry industry.
Output in the laundry and cleaning industry has been
declining since the mid-1960’s—particularly in the laun­
dry services sector of the industry. Consumer expendi­
tures for laundry and cleaning services have been fall­
ing as fabrics which are easier to clean and improved
home laundry systems are used more extensively. In
contrast, output in the industrial laundry and linen sup­
ply sector of the industry, which is highly mechanized,
has been rising. For the two decades covering 1960-82,
the Bureau of Labor Statistics measure of output in the
laundry and cleaning industry declined at an average
annual rate of 2.9 percent.1 The pace and direction of
output change over this period were uneven: Dur­
ing the early period 1960-67, output increased at an
average annual rate of 2.3 percent; between 1967 and
1973, however, output declined at an annual rate of 5.0
percent and continued to decline at a rate of 3.7 per­
cent between 1973 and 1982. Productivity (output per

Industry Straetyr®
The laundry and cleaning industry consists of over
75,000 establishments which employ 347,300 employ­
ees.2 About half of the work force is located in estab­
lishments that launder and clean customer-owned items;
most of the remainder work for the generally larger
establishments which rent and clean uniforms, towels,
diapers, and linens.
Most establishments in the laundry and cleaning in­
dustry are small, owner-operated enterprises. There is
a trend toward some consolidation, as some larger firms
purchase small, previously independent establishments.
Only 1 out of 4 laundry and cleaning establishments are
incorporated. They generally are larger and more highly
mechanized, and they account for two-thirds of indus­
try receipts, and employ a large segment of the work

1 Rates o f change for historical data are based on the least squares
trends method.


2Number of establishments, Bureau o f the Census, 1977 Census o f
Service Industries, Subject Series—Establishment and Firm Size; em­
ployment, Bureau o f Labor Statistics, Supplement to Employment and
Earnings, July 1983.
3Bureau o f the Census, 1977 Census o f Service Industries, Subject Se­
ries—Establishment and Firm Size.

ment investments. Also, the large quantities of identi­
cal items processed by these establishments (bedsheets,
towels, rental uniforms, etc.) can be automated more
readily than the wide variety of products handled by
other industry sectors.

Major types of enterprises include laundries and
drycleaning plants, (which serve many enterprises re­
tail, commercial, and industrial), linen suppliers, and in­
dustrial launderers. The drycleaning sector has the
largest number of establishments with paid employees
(47 percent) and accounts for just under one-third of
the industry’s receipts and annual payroll. But dryclean­
ing plants—which cater primarily to retail cus­
tomers—average only six employees per establishment,
and few have the capital or volume of business to in­
troduce significant new technology.
Most new technology is being installed by industrial
laundering and linen supply establishments. Together,
these establishments constitute only 3 percent of the
total number of establishments within the industry; but
they account for 30 percent of employment, 38 percent
of receipts, and 40 percent of the industry’s payroll.
Moreover, employment per establishment averages 46
employees—well above the average in retail dryclean­
ing plants. Industrial launderers (whose operations in­
clude drycleaning as well as laundering) and linen sup­
pliers have the volume of work to justify large equip­

Ts©iiBi®0©i^ in ths 19©©’s
Technological changes in equipment, fabrics, and de­
tergents and solvents are being introduced in the laun­
dry and cleaning industry. Innovations such as polyester/cotton fabrics have been available for some time
and are widely used; however, other developments, in­
cluding electronic systems to mark and sort clothes, are
in limited use and may be adopted more widely in the
1980’s. Although the pace of change has been moder­
ate, the technologies described below and summarized
in table 3 have nonetheless had an impact on produc­
tivity and employment in a number of operations.
Improved washing equipment

The latest technology for washing and cleaning gar­
ments and other merchandise incorporates several fea­
tures that reduce labor requirements for operators. Some

Table 3. Major technology changes in laundry, cleaning, and garment services
T e c h n o lo g y

D e s c rip tio n

D iffu s io n

L a b o r im p lic a tio n s

M e c h a n iz a tio n o f th e w a s h in g a n d c le a n in g
p ro c e s s e s
W a s h in g a n d d ry c le a n in g m a c h in e s

A u to m a tic lo a d in g a n d u n lo a d in g

th a t tilt b a c k w a rd to a llo w
a u to m a tic lo a d in g fro m o v e rh e a d
s lin g s o r c h u te s . A fe w w a s h in g

fo r o p e ra to rs a n d ra is e p ro d u c tiv ity .

m a c h in e s a ls o c a n b e u n lo a d e d
a u to m a tic a lly .

L e s s m a n u a l h a n d lin g o f g a rm e n ts
a n d line n s ; s k ill re q u ire m e n ts

a n d a u to m a tic w a s h a n d c le a n in g
s y s te m s re d u c e la b o r re q u ire m e n ts

T ilt m a c h in e s u s e d b y 3 0 to 3 5
p e rc e n t o f in d u s tria l la u n d e re rs a n d
lin e n s u p p lie rs . O v e rh e a d lo a d in g
b y s lin g s a n d c h u te s is d e p lo y e d
w idely.-

la rg e ly u n c h a n g e d .
A u to m a tic s y s te m s th a t lo a d , w a s h ,

A u to m a tic w a s h s y s te m s a re u s e d

a n d tra n s p o rt ite m s w ith m in im u m
h an d ling .

A u to m a tic a n d s e m i-a u to m a tic
c o n tro l o f w a s h in g c y c le s a n d

by a b o u t 10 p e rc e n t o f in d u s tria l
la u n d e re rs a n d lin e n s u p p lie rs w ith
fu rth e r d iffu s io n a n tic ip a te d .
A u to m a tic c o n tro ls re d u c e la b o r

in je c tio n o f c h e m ic a l s u p p lie s —
u s u a lly by e le c tro -m e c h a n ic a l
c o n tro ls , b u t re c e n tly b y s o lid -s ta te
c o n tro ls in s o m e e s ta b lis h m e n ts .
S o m e fu lly a u to m a tic , c o n tin u o u s

re q u ire m e n ts fo r o p e ra to rs .
D e te rg e n ts a n d s u p p lie s a d d e d
a u to m a tic a lly ra th e r th a n b y h an d .
In c re a s e d re q u ire m e n ts fo r
m a in te n a n c e sk ills .

A b o u t 9 0 p e rc e n t o f in d u s tria l
la u n d e re rs a n d lin e n s u p p lie rs u se
s o m e fo rm o f a u to m a tic c o n tr o ls on
w a s h in g e q u ip m e n t. E le c tro n ic
c o n tro l d e v ic e s to b e u s e d m o re

b a tc h w a s h e rs u s e c o m p u te r
c o n tro ls .
Im p ro v e d d e te rg e n ts

e x te n s iv e ly . C o n tin u o u s b a tc h
a u to m a tic w a s h e rs a re in o n ly
lim ite d u s e a t p re s e n t, d u e to h ig h
c o s ts .

N e w a n d im p ro v e d d e te rg e n ts a llo w

R e d u c e d rin s in g a llo w s m o re

la u n d ry to be w a s h e d a t lo w e r
w a te r te m p e ra tu re s a n d w ith a
s h o rte r rin s e c y c le .

W id e ly u sed.

w a s h in g lo a d s p e r sh ift, in c re a s in g
o u tp u t p e r o p e ra to r.

B le n d e d p o ly e s te r-c o tto n fa b ric s fo r
u n ifo rm s a n d line n s; a n d s te a m tu n n e l
fin is h in g

B le n d e d fa b ric s a re u s e d fo r m o s t

E lim in a tio n o f th e n e e d to p re s s

A b o u t 3 o u t o f 4 in d u s tria l

in d u s tria l u n ifo rm s a n d line n s .

m o s t in d u s tria l u n ifo rm s a n d lin e n s

la u n d e re rs a n d lin e n s u p p lie rs u se

S te a m tu n n e ls a re b e in g u s e d to

h a s in c re a s e d p ro d u c tiv ity a n d

d ry a nd re m o v e w rin k le s fro m

re d u c e d e m p lo y m e n t o f p re s s e rs .

b le n d e d fa b ric s a n d s te a m tu n n e l
fin is h in g .

u n ifo rm s . T h is g e n e ra lly e lim in a te s
p re s s in g .

S k ill c h a n g e s in v o lv e a s h ift fro m
p re s s in g a c tiv itie s to ta s k s re la te d
to th e lo a d in g a n d tra n s p o rt o f
ite m s th ro u g h th e tu n n e l fo r
fin is h in g . R e tra in in g m in im a l a n d o n
th e jo b .


TabSe 3. major technology changes in laundry, cleaning,, and garment services—
T e c h n o lo g y

T u n n e l w a s h in g a nd fin is h in g

D e s c rip tio n

T h e s e s y s te m s a re e x p e n s iv e a n d
L a rg e p o te n tia l fo r re d u c in g la b o r
o n ly fo u r a re in c o m m e rc ia l use.
re q u ire m e n ts o f o p e ra to rs a nd
p re s s e rs b y c o m b in in g w a s h in g a n d O u tlo o k fo r m o re w id e s p re a d
d iffu s io n is u n c e rta in .
tu n n e l fin is h in g in to o n e o p e ra tio n .

N e w s te a m tu n n e l s y s te m s re c e iv e
s o ile d g a r m e n ts o n h a n g e r s a n d
w a s h , dry, a n d s te a m fin is h th e m
a u to m a tic a lly .

A u to m a tic d e v ic e s to h a n g c lo th e s

D iffu s io n

L a b o r im p lic a tio n s

M a c h in e s th a t a u to m a tic a lly
d is p e n s e h a n g e r s o n a c lo t h in g

In s o m e a p p lic a tio n s , o p e ra to rs o f

In lim ite d c o m m e rc ia l use.

a u to m a tic e q u ip m e n t h a n g m o re

fo rm re a d y fo r s h irts , c o a ts , or

g a rm e n ts p e r h our. In o n e te s t,
o u tp u t p e r o p e ra to r w a s h ig h e r by

p a n ts to b e h u n g o v e r th e m .

3 9 p e rc e n t. H o w e v e r, s k ille d
o p e ra to rs in w e ll la id -o u t fa c ilitie s
c a n e q u a l o u tp u t o f th e s e s y s te m s .
A u to m a tic s y s te m s to s o rt a n d c o u n t
c lo th e s

A n u m b e r o f s o rtin g s y s te m s a re

A d v a n c e d s y s te m s in v o lv e le s s
m a n u a l ta s k s fo r o p e ra to rs a nd

b ein g u s e d to g e t a s p e c ific
g a rm e n t to th e p ro p e r c u s to m e r. A ll
s y s te m s in c o rp o ra te c o n v e y o rs a nd
s e n s in g a n d la b e l-re a d in g d e v ic e s .
A d v a n c e d s y s te m s u s e c o m p u te r

m o re in v o lv e m e n t w ith e q u ip m e n t.
O u tp u t p e r o p e ra to r is h ig h er.

M e c h a n iz e d s o rtin g s y s te m s a re in
g e n e ra l use; s o p h is tic a te d
c o m p u te r s o rtin g s y s te m s , n o w
u n d e r d e v e lo p m e n t, w ill b e p la c e d
in c o m m e rc ia l use.

a n d e le c tro n ic c o d e s to k e e p tra c k
o f g a rm e n ts . T h e r e a re a ls o s o m e
m e c h a n iz e d s y s te m s th a t s o rt a nd
c o u n t s o ile d g a rm e n ts a n d lin e n
c o m in g in to a c le a n in g
e s ta b lis h m e n t.
F ia tw o rk fin is h in g

B le n d e d fa b ric s n o w u s e d b y m a n y

M a n u a l h a n d lin g o f lin e n s h a s b e e n

lin e n s u p p lie rs . M e c h a n ic a l
s p re a d in g a n d fo ld in g e q u ip m e n t is
in use.

W id e ly u s e d in lin e n s u p p ly firm s .

re d u c e d by th e s p re a d e rs a n d
fo ld e rs .

M is c e lla n e o u s te c h n o lo g ic a l c h a n g e s :
B u s in e s s c o m p u te rs

S m a ll c o m p u te rs u s ed fo r b u s in e s s
p u rp o s e s b y s m a ll o w n e r-o p e ra te d
e s ta b lis h m e n ts .

L ittle im p a c t o n e m p lo y e e s .

W a te r re use

R e u s e o f p re v io u s ly u s e d w a s h
w a te r, to re d u c e c o n s u m p tio n o f
w a te r, e n e rg y , a n d c h e m ic a ls .

S o m e in c re a s e in p la n t m a in te n a n c e U s e d be le s s th a n 10 p e rc e n t o f
in d u s try p la n ts ; b u t d iffu s io n
a n d e n g in e e rin g re q u ire m e n ts .
e x p e c te d to in c re a s e .

S p e c ia l p u rp o s e e q u ip m e n t

C le a n in g e q u ip m e n t fo r flo o rm a ts
a n d ro il to w e ls .

R e d u c tio n in d ire c t la b o r
re q u ire m e n ts , s m a ll in c re a s e s in
m a in te n a n c e re q u ire m e n ts .

In lim ite d use.

M ic ro p ro c e s s o rs

E le c tro n ic c o n tro ls fo r m a c h in e
o p e ra tio n s , p la n t e le c tric a l e n e rg y
n ee d s .

In c re a s e d s kill re q u ire m e n ts fo r
m a in te n a n c e w o rk e rs .

L im ite d , b u t g ro w in g use.

a large quantity of soiled merchandise is loaded into
the chutes, machine operators release part or all of the
contents of a chute into the machine—again, a process
that is faster and less labor intensive than placing each
separate load into the machines by hand. Overhead
loading chutes are used extensively.
Some washing machines also can be unloaded auto­
matically, although this capability is less common than
automatic loading. Some front-loading machines tilt for­
ward to unload clean garments into slings that are car­
ried by overhead conveyor to the finishing area. Al­
though not in widespread use, automatic unloading
processes reduce labor requirements of operators and
raise productivity. Applications of automatic unloading
are expected to increase.
Once the machines are loaded, washing and cleaning
cycles can be controlled automatically. Some control

front-loading machines being introduced, for example,
tilt backwards to permit automatic loading of soiled
garments from overhead slings or chutes. This feature
is used primarily with sling loading—a process in which
the merchandise is loaded by hand or machine into
slings and transported by overhead conveyors to the
washing machines. This process is faster and requires
less labor than does the older process of loading soiled
garments into carts by hand and pushing the carts to
the machines for manual loading. About one-third of
all industrial launderers and linen suppliers use washing
machines that tilt for loading and unloading.
Machines also can be loaded from chutes located di­
rectly overhead. These chutes are most often used with
machines that load from the top—including washingwheels that have three or four pockets that wash sev­
eral loads of similiar merchandise simultaneously. After

L im ite d , b u t g ro w in g use.


Operator loading cleaned linens ante a modem centrifugal extractor to remove water

systems add soap, bleach, or other supplies automati­
cally, while others alert the machine operator to add
these supplies. Although most control systems are me­
chanical, solid state controls are being used on some of
the newer equipment. About 90 percent of industrial
launderers and linen suppliers use some form of auto­
matic controls on washers.
Several manufacturers market continuous batch au­
tomatic systems that combine technologies described
above. One washing system in commercial use, for ex­
ample, incorporates overhead loading chutes, tilting
washers with automatic control of the wash cycle and
supply of soiled garments, and belt conveyors that re­
move cleaned garments. The process is automatic from
loading soiled garments into the chute, to delivery of
clean garments to the finishing area. Only about 10 per­
cent of industrial launderers and linen suppliers use au­
tomatic washing systems, due to high costs, but more
widespread diffusion is anticipated.

W w detergents
New detergents that clean at lower water tempera­
tures are being introduced. These improved products
lower utility costs since water temperature in washing
machines can be lowered from 180 F, to a range of 140
to 160 F. Thus, the amount of energy required to heat
the water is less. Also, clothes washed at lower tem­
perature with less detergents and other supplies require
less rinsing, and, therefore, less water is used. The re­
duction in rinse cycles also increases output per opera­
tor since additional wash loads are carried out with no
increase in labor requirements.
Blended fsibries sind ileam tunnel finishing

A significant change in industrial laundries and linen
suppliers resulted from two innovations: The availabil­
ity of blended polyester/cotton fabrics for industrial
uniforms and commercially supplied linens; and the de­
velopment of steam tunnels for finishing work on uni­

much larger number of pressers would be required to
maintain the same output. Moreover, in conventional
finishing, pressing garments and putting them on forms
require considerable skill to ensure that wrinkles are
not pressed in, creases occur in the correct places, and
collars and cuffs look right. In tunnel finishing, less skill
and effort are necessary to shake out wet garments, put
them on hangers, and hang them on conveyors that
carry the garments into the steam tunnel.
An example of the impact of polyester/cotton fabrics
and tunnel finishing on productivity and labor was pro­
vided by an industrial launderer that changed from cot­
ton to 65/35 fabrics for rental uniforms. Prior to the
change, 35,000 to 40,000 cotton garments were laun­
dered a week with pressing and repair work accom­
plished by a staff of 25.
Over a period of several years, this firm installed
three steam tunnels and switched from cotton uniforms
to 65/35 fabric uniforms. As the steam tunnels were
brought in, pressers were retrained on the job to oper­
ate them. As the pressers became more skillful in op­
erating the tunnels, labor requirements declined, and
the number of people manning the steam tunnels was
lowered through attrition.
During the period that new technology was intro­
duced, the workload about doubled to 70,000 garments
a week—but the number of people needed to operate
steam tunnels and make repairs to damaged rental gar­
ments remained at 25. The mix of job tasks changed,
however. Fewer people operate steam tunnels than did
pressing work when cotton garments were used, but
the number of workers who do repair work has grown
to meet the needs of the 70,000 garment workload. The
total volume of repairs has increased even though there
are fewer repairs per 100 garments processed with 65/35
fabric than with cotton fabric.

forms and linens. These innovations in combination al­
most entirely eliminate the need to press merchandise
items after thay are washed, thereby reducing labor re­
quirements for pressers.
Blended fabrics. Fabrics which are made from a blend
of polyester and cotton are being used for rental uni­
forms and linens by over 75 percent of all industrial
launderers and linen suppliers. Most of these fabrics are
blended of 65-percent polyester and 35-percent cotton,
although 80/20 blends and 100-percent polyester fab­
rics are also in use.
Garments made from these fabrics emerge from wash­
ing machines and drycleaning machines in wrinkled
condition, but the polyester fabric smooths out when
exposed to steam, and most wrinkles disappear. How­
ever, these fabrics must be pressed if a completely wrin­
kle-free finished is desired. Prior to the availability of
the blended fabrics, most rental uniforms and linens
were made of cotton, a fabric that did require press­
ing—which was very labor intensive.
Blended 65/35 fabrics became available in the mid1960’s, a period in which industrial launderers and linen
suppliers were experiencing difficulty in finding expe­
rienced pressers. Pressing is not a particularly desirable
job, and salary levels are low. During this period, when
business activity was strong and labor mobility high,
many people left pressing jobs. Thus, 65/35 fabrics were
well received and the problems associated with labor
shortages were eased.
The industry also is examining the characteristics of
an 80/20 blend of polyester/cotton fabric and 100-per­
cent polyester fabric developed by the textile industry
for use in mills where cotton dust is a problem. Use of
these fabrics for rental uniforms is growing, but is not
yet widespead.
Steam tunnelfinishing. Development of steam cabinets
or tunnels provides the technology to economically
clean blended fabrics. In steam tunnel finishing, gar­
ments that emerge from the wash cycle are shaken out
by hand and placed on hangers. The hangered garments
are placed on a conveyor and transported through the
steam tunnel. In the steam chamber, steam relaxes the
garment’s fibers, and most wrinkles are removed. After
the garments are dried by hot air in the second cham­
ber, they leave the steam tunnel and are sorted for
Labor and skill requirements are both reduced when
tunnel finishing procedures replace pressing operations.
Steam tunnels finish 200 to 1,000 garments an hour (de­
pending upon the particular machine and the amount
of water still in the garment). Operators put garments
on hangers, feed them into the tunnel, and operate the
controls for the steam tunnel to maintain this produc­
tion rate. If each item had to be pressed separately, a

Tunnel washing sod finishing

Tunnel-type machines have been developed to wash,
dry, and steam finish clothes in one continuous opera­
tion. This process has potential to reduce labor by com­
bining the two basic production steps—washing and
steam tunnel finishing—into a single operation. The
process is labor intensive only at the first stage, where
soiled garments are manually put on hangers and placed
on a conveyor that goes into the washing tunnel. Gar­
ments are washed in the first part of the tunnel, then
dried and steamed in the following section, in a man­
ner similar to conventional steam tunnel finishing.
The outlook for diffusion of tunnel washing and fin­
ishing is uncertain. This system is expensive to install
and must be used properly to be cost effective. The
technology is considered experimental by most indus­
trial launderers, and only four installations are currently
in use in this sector of the industry.

operators, who read the coded labels, and use the in­
formation to hang the garments on the proper level of
hooks. Mechanized sorting systems of this type are used
widely; and, without such a system, labor costs in large
laundries would be prohibitively expensive.
Development work on more advanced sorting sys­
tems is underway. These systems feature computers,
sophisticated marking and recognition devices, and cod­
ing systems similar to the universal product codes used
in retail trade. With this technology, electronic reading
wands and scanning devices read coded labels on uni­
forms and other customer items. These labels can be
printed on high-speed, computer-controlled marking
machines. Computer systems also track items and assist
in inventory control. Computer-controlled sorting sys­
tems reduce the number of sorters and lower skill re­
quirements. At present, however, this technology is ex­
perimental, and is being used on a large scale in only
one plant.
There are also mechanized systems in use to count
and sort soiled uniforms, linens, and other such meri
chandise that come into a plant for laundering and
cleaning. These systems utilize operator work stations,
conveyors, and electronic counting devices. The more
advanced systems can be tied into computers which
keep track of the merchandise and provide data for
customer billings and deliveries.
Sorting operations are very labor intensive, and the
skill requirements are low. Mechanized sorting and
counting systems do reduce labor requirements; but this
equipment is used primarily in the larger commercial
establishments, so present diffusion is limited.

Automatic hangering devices

The more widespread use of tunnel finishing and the
potential use of tunnel washing have focused attention
on the most labor-intensive aspect of garment launder­
ing: Placing items of clothing on hangers,then placing
the hangers onto conveyors that feed into the finishing
Automatic devices to hang garments have been de­
veloped by several manufacturers but are in limited
commercial use. Under some conditions, the speed at
which garments can be placed on hangers is increased.
Central to the success of this equipment is some method
(which varies by manufacturer) to dispense hangers au­
tomatically and in a way that the operator need only
reach out to hang a garment.
In conventional methods, the operator picks up a
hanger, places it on a form, and hangs a garment on it.
The hangered garment is placed on a conveyor that
feeds into the steam tunnel. An operator can place from
200 to 300 garments an hour on hangers. Operator skill
and motivation affect speed. Location of hangers, gar­
ments, and conveyors also affect output.
In tests where automatic hangering devices were
compared to manual hangering of shirts, operators
working with automatic devices usually increased the
number of shirts placed on hangers per hour. In one
test, operators using automatic equipment averaged 278
shirts per hour, compared to an average of 200 shirts
an hour when they were placed on hangers entirely by
hand—a productivity gain of 39 percent. In several
plants, 300 shirts an hour were handled with automatic
equipment. There were, however, a few instances where
operators hung shirts by hand at a rate of 300 shirts an
hour. These people were described as being particularly
agile, and they worked on an incentive pay basis, in
areas that were unusually well organized.4

Flatwork finishing

Changes in fabrics and equipment technology have
affected operations in flatwork finishing (which consists
primarily of bedsheets and table linen, hospital operat­
ing room linen, aprons, and towels). The introduction
of blended polyester-cotton fabrics may reduce the
amount of ironing required for flatwork after the wash­
ing cycle. There have been improvements in materials
handling technology that reduce manual handling of
flatwork items to an extent: Mechanical spreaders and
folders, for example.

Automated sorting systems

The laundry and cleaning industry makes extensive
use of conveyor systems to sort garments. Some uni­
forms are rented to specific customers, and after wash­
ing, must be sorted in such a way that the proper uni­
form is returned to the customer. This also is required,
on a smaller scale, for retail washing and drycleaning
of garments.
Conveyor systems are becoming more mechanized,
and, in some systems, hooks for the hangered garments
are located at different levels. Operators read codes on
labels attached to the garments and hang the garments
on hooks at a particular level. As the garments are car­
ried along the conveyor, each level of hooks feeds into
branching conveyors that sort the garments into proper
delivery areas. Skill and concentration are required by

Miscellaneous technological changes

Business computers. Small computers are being used
by a growing number of smaller, owner-operated
firms—primarily retail drycleaning and commercial
laundries—for business operations such as payroll, and
for customer inventory and billing. Computer opera­
tions are most likely to be handled by the owner of the
firm, so labor implications will probably be limited.
Water reuse. Systems for reusing portions of previ­
ously used wash water have been developed for the

‘“ Garment Hangering for Tunnel Finishing,” Industrial Launderer,
July 1980, pp. 35-37.


dining from 46 percent of total industry receipts in
1972, to 40 percent in 1977 (the latest year available).
Individually, receipts for laundries declined in dollar
terms as well as percentage terms; while receipts for
retail drycleaners increased slightly in dollar amounts,
but declined as a percentage of industry receipts (from
33 percent to 30 percent). Firms that provide dry clean­
ing, garment pressing, and diaper services also have lost
market shares.6 These shifts result from the accept­
ance—in homes as well as working places—of the new,
more easily cleaned polyester and knit frabrics, and the
development of disposable diapers.
In contrast, industrial laundry and linen supply es­
tablishments, which provide rental and cleaning serv­
ices to businesses and institutions, increased their share
of total industry receipts from 32 percent in 1972, to 38
percent in 1977. Coin-operated laundry and dryclean­
ing facilities accounted for 13 percent of industry re­
ceipts in both 1977 and 1972.

purpose of reducing consumption of water, energy, and
some chemicals. These systems increase requirements
for maintenance workers and plant engineers, but should
have little or no impact on other plant occupations.
Less than 10 percent of industry plants have installed
water reuse systems, but diffusion is expected to
Special-purpose equipment. Equipment designed spe­
cifically for washing floormats, and a continuous proc­
essing system for cleaning roll towels (unrolling, wash­
ing, ironing, rerolling) are available. These special-pur­
pose systems substantially reduce the amount of direct
labor required for cleaning, while increasing—to a
smaller extent—maintenance requirements. Special-pur­
pose equipment of this nature is in limited use, as it is
practical to use only in plants that process large vol­
umes of the specialized merchandise.
Microprocessors. These electronic devices are in lim­
ited, but growing, use for controlling a variety of plant
functions, such as control of machine operations and
plant electrical energy demand. This sophisticated
equipment increases the skill requirements for mainte­
nance workers, but has little impact on other employees.

Productivity (B L S output per hour of all persons)
has grown at an average annual rate of 0.5 percent dur­
ing 1960-82 (chart 7). The annual growth rate was high­
est—averaging 2.1 percent a year—between 1960 and
1967; and it continued to grow at an annual rate of 0.4
percent during 1967-73. Between 1973 and 1982, how­
ever, productivity declined at an annual rate of 1.7 per­
cent a year.
During 1960-67, the growth of productivity reflected
output increasing more rapidly than hours of all per­
sons. However, both output and employee hours de­
clined after 1967. Between 1967 and 1973, the reduc­
tion in hours was slightly greater than the decline in
output, thus output per hour of all persons rose. After
1973, however, output fell more rapidly than hours,
causing productivity to decline between 1973 and 1982.

©ytpyf and Productivity

Output (as defined by deflated value receipts) in the
laundry and cleaning industry is down significantly
(chart 7).5Between 1960 and 1982, the b l s measure of
output declined at an average annual rate of 2.9 per­
cent, with substantial variation in direction and rate of
change over this period. Output grew during the early
1960’s, reaching a peak in 1967, but has since declined
fairly steadily. The average annual growth rate in out­
put between 1960-67 was 2.3 percent a year. Between
1967 and 1973, however, output declined at an average
annual rate of 5.0 percent, and continued to fall at a
lower average annual rate of 3.7 percent between 1973
and 1982.
Shifts in demand for the various types of laundry and
cleaning services have taken place over the period. Re­
ceipts from personal cleaning services have been de­
clining, while those associated with commercial and in­
dustrial activities have been moving upward.
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, re­
ceipts generated from traditional family laundry and
drycleaning services continued a long-term trend, de­
5 BLS measures o f output, output per hour o f all persons, and hours
o f all persons, discussed in this section, are based on data from BLS;
U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census and the Bu­
reau of Economic Analysis; and U.S. Department o f the Treasury,
the Internal Revenue Service. For additional detail, see Productivity
Measures f o r Selected Industries, 1954-81, BLS Bulletin 2155 (1982).

Employment and ©eeupational Trends
Employment in the laundry and cleaning industry
( BLS data) has declined as demand for services slack­
ened and new technology achieved labor savings (chart
8). There were 347,300 people employed in the indus­
try in 1982—a decline of 34 percent from the 1960 em­
ployment level of 522,700, and 38 percent below the
1966 peak employment of 559,300 people. Employment
changes within the various sectors of the industry fol­
low the pattern of output described earlier—declining
in personal cleaning services, and increasing in the com­
mercial and industrial sector.7 With the exception of 2
years (1978 and 1979), employment declined steadily
since 1966.
61977 Census o f Service Industries.
11977 Census o f Service Industries. Bureau o f the Census. BLS data
for subsectors o f the laundry and cleaning industry are not available.


Chart 7. © ytpyt par h@yr ©f all persons and related data; flayndrf, ©learn"
Sing, and garment services, 1©80-82
I nd©x„ 1 9 7 7 = 1 0 0 (R a ti© s c a le )

SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics.


borers, and professional and technical workers are next
in employment size, but, combined, account for less
than 6 percent of those employed in the industry.
New technology introduced into this industry has
had an impact on employment in several occupations.
The impact, however, cannot be specifically measured,
nor isolated from factors such as changes in output.
Blended polyester-cotton fabrics have probably had
a greater impact on occupations and employment than
any other technological change. Growing use of these
fabrics since the mid-1960’s has reduced demand for
people involved in traditional laundry work, and for
those employed in pressing occupations.
Washing operations are becoming increasingly
mechanized and automated, which is reducing labor re­
quirements for several occupations. Automatic loading
and unloading of washing machines, along with greater
use of conveyor systems to move garments, linens, and
related items from one wash station to another, has re­
duced the amount of manual handling required to move
items through the various cleaning steps. Automatic
control of machine-operating cycles and automatic in­
jection of supplies (soap, bleach, etc.) have reduced la­
bor requirements for equipment operators.
Increasingly sophisticated and automated sorting sys­
tems are being introduced which reduce labor require­
ments in sorting operations. There also may be a re­
duction in skill requirements for some of the people
performing marking, sorting, and assembly work.
The use of these new and improved technologies will
continue to grow in the laundry and cleaning indus­
try—but the growth will be confined primarily to the
larger firms, such as industrial launderers, linen supply
firms, and large general laundry and cleaning establish­
ments. As indicated earlier, there are many small
firms in this industry that can neither afford nor make
efficient use of such equipment. No significant change
in occupations, attributable to technology, is expected
in these smaller establishments.

The rate of employment change varied over the past
two decades. Between 1960-82, employment declined
at an average annual rate of 2.5 percent. Within this
period, however, employment grew at an annual rate
of 1.2 percent from 1960 to 1967, declined at an annual
rate of 4.9 percent in the 1967-73 period, then contin­
ued to decline at a lower annual rate of 1.6 percent
from 1973 to 1982.
The industry is a major employer of women. In 1982,
nearly 2 out of every 3 positions were filled by women.
The proportion of women to total employment declined
slightly between 1960 and 1982, as the number of women
in the work force fell by 35 percent, compared to a 30
percent drop for men.
The outlook is for employment to decline between
1982 and 1990, according to b l s projections based on
three versions of economic growth.8 The number of
employees is expected to change at an average annual
rate ranging from an increase of 0.2 percent to a de­
cline of 2.4 percent over the 1982-90 period. Nonsupervisory employees are expected to continue to make up
a relatively large proportion (around 90 percent) of to­
tal employment.
O esypations
BLS projects a decline in employment, between 1980
and 1990, in each of the major occupational groups.
Employment for professional and technical workers,
one of the smallest occupational groups, is projected to
decline by 14 percent. Declines for the remaining oc­
cupational groups are projected to be in the narrow
range of 18.0 to 18.2 percent.
In terms of employment share, two occupations—op­
eratives and clerical workers—account for about 4 out
of 5 workers in the industry. Operatives, the largest
occupational group, make up more than one-half of the
total work force. Clerical workers, next in employment
size, account for nearly one-fourth. The category of
managers, officials, and proprietors and the category of
craft workers make up 9 and 7 percent of the work
force, respectively. Service workers, sales workers, la­

Adjustment of workers to technological change

As indicated earlier, technological changes in com­
bination with a decline in demand for laundry and clean­
ing services are expected to bring about lower employ­
ment during the 1980’s. The majority of the work force
does not belong to unions and formal measures to fa­
cilitate adjustment, including contract provisions that
provide for advance notice, retraining, and transfer to
other work, are not widespread. However, informal ar­
rangements that provide training and other assistance
to employees affected by new technology also have fa­
cilitated adjustment.
Improvements in technology are not expected to
modify skill requirements to a significant extent, al­
though some changes in job requirements are evident.
As laundry and cleaning activities become more mecha-

8 Projections for industry employment in 1990 are based on three
alternative versions of economic growth for the overall economy,
developed by the BLS . The low-trend version is based on a view of
the economy marked by a decline in the rate o f expansion o f the la­
bor force, continued high inflation, moderate productivity gains, and
modest increases in real output and employment. In the high-trend
version I, the economy is buoyed by higher labor force growth, much
lower unemployment rates, higher production, and greater improve­
ments in prices and productivity. The high-trend version II is char­
acterized by the high GNP growth o f high trend I, but assumes the
same labor force as the low trend. Productivity gains are quite sub­
stantial in this alternative. On chart 8, level A is the low trend, level
B is high trend I, and level C is high trend II. Greater detail on as­
sumptions is available in the August 1981 issue of the Monthly Labor


Chart 8= Employment in laundry, cleaning,, and garment s@rwie®s31080=82
and projections for 1982-90
Employees (in thousands)1

1 Least squares trends method for historical data; compound interest method for projections.
2 See footnote 8 in text.
3 Data for nonsupervisory employees not available prior to 1964.
SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics.


nized, operators of washing machines and other pro­
duction equipment increasingly are removed from di­
rect involvement with machine operation. More time
will be spent in loading and unloading clothes before
and after processing, and monitoring equipment perfor­
mance. Basic laundry and drycleaning skills will con­
tinue to be acquired on the job in a relatively short
time—under a week for many positions. However, train­
ing can be longer for skilled occupations such as spot­
ters, who must learn the characteristics of new types of
fabrics and chemicals available to clean them.
Slightly over one-third of plant workers in the laun­
dry and drycleaning industry are employed in estab­

lishments covered by collective bargaining agreements.9
This proportion was reported to be higher than the av­
erage for all service industries. Major unions in the in­
dustry include the Laundry and Drycleaning Inter­
national Union (AFL-CIO), the Amalgamated Cloth­
ing and Textile Workers Union (AFL-CIO) , and the
Textile Processors, Service Trades, Health Care, Pro­
fessional and Technical Employees International Union.

9Industry Wage Survey: Laundry and Cleaning Services, A pril 1967
and A pril 1968, Bulletin 1645 (Bureau o f Labor Statistics, 1969).

Carnes, Richard B., “Laundry and Cleaning Services Pressed to Post
Productivity Gains,” Monthly Labor Review, February 1978.
Northey, Geoffrey A. “80/20 Blended Fabric: Fact or Fiction?” In­
dustrial Launderer, October 1980.
“The Need to Improve Productivity,” Industrial Launderer, June
1981, pp. 28-29, 31, 33, 35, 41-43, 45.


Van der Giessen, Don; Herbert Deitz; and Roger K. McMillan. “ Gar­
ment Hangering for Tunnel Finishing,” Industrial Launderer, July
Vickery, Mary L. “N ew Technology in Laundry and Cleaning Serv­
ices,” Monthly Labor Review, February 1972.

©eneral R@f@r@[mGeg

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industrial
Economics. 1983 U.S. Industrial Outlook, January

Bulletin 1312-11, 1979, and Supplement to Employ­
ment and Earnings, U.S. 1909-78, Revised Establish­
ment Data, July 1983.

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census.
1981 Annual Survey of Manufactures, 1983.

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
National Industry-Occupational Matrix 1970,1978, and
Projected 1990, Bulletin 2086 (Volumes I and II), 1981.

U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census.
1977 Census of Manufactures, Industry Statistics, Au­
gust 1981.

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Occupational Outlook Handbook, 1982-83 Edition,
Bulletin 2200, May 1982.

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics,
Characteristics of Major Collective Bargaining Agree­
ments, January 1, 1980, Bulletin 2095, May 1981.

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Productivity Measures for Selected Industries, 1954-81,
Bulletin 2155, December 1982.

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Employment and Earnings, United States, 1909-78,


O ther H IS PufeSseatoons
©n T@ehmol©gi©a! Chang®

ergy Industries (Bulletin 2005, 1979), 64 pp. Out of print.
Appraises major technological changes emerging in
coal mining, oil and gas extraction, petroleum refining,
petroleum pipeline transportation, and electric and gas
utilities, and discusses their current and potential impact
on productivity and occupations.

Bulletins still in print may be purchased from the Su­
perintendent of Documents, Washington, D.C. 20402,
or from regional offices of the Bureau of Labor Statis­
tics at the addresses shown on the inside back cover.
Out-of-print publications are available at many public
and school libraries and at Government depository li­
braries. Publications marked with an asterisk (*) also
are available on microfiche and in paper copy from the
National Technical Information Service, U.S. Depart­
ment of Commerce, 5285 Port Royal Road, Springfield,
Va. 22161.

Technological Change and Its Labor Impact in Five In­
dustries (Bulletin 1961, 1977), 56 pp. Out of print.
Appraises major technological changes emerging in
apparel, footwear, motor vehicles, railroads, and retail
trade, and discusses their current and potential impact
on productivity and occupations.

The Impact of Technology on Labor in Five Industries
(Bulletin 2137, 1982), 60 pp. Price, $5.
Appraises major technological changes emerging in
printing and publishing, water transportation, copper
ore mining, fabricated structural metal, and intercity
trucking, and discusses their current and potential im­
pact on productivity and occupations.

Technological Change and Manpower Trends in Five In­
dustries* (Bulletin 1856, 1975), 58 pp. Out of print.
Appraises major technological changes emerging in
pulp and paper, hydraulic cement, steel, aircraft and
missiles, and wholesale trade, and discusses their cur­
rent and potential impact on productivity and

Technology and Labor in Four Industries (Bulletin 2104,
1982), 46 pp. Out of print.
Appraises major technological changes emerging in
meat products, foundries, metalworking machinery, and
electrical and electronic equipment, and discusses their
current and potential impact on productivity and

Computer Manpower Outlook* (Bulletin 1826, 1974), 60
pp. Out of print.
Describes current employment, education, and train­
ing characteristics for computer occupations, explores
the impact of advancing technology on labor supply and
education for computer occupations, and projects oc­
cupational requirements and implications for training.

Technology, Productivity, and Labor in the Bituminous
Coal Industry, 1950-79 (Bulletin 2072, 1981), 69 pp.
Price, $5.
Chartbook with tables and text; appraises some of the
major structural and technological changes in the bitu­
minous coal industry and their impact of labor.

Technological Change and Manpower Trends in Six In­
dustries* (Bulletin 1817, 1974), 66 pp. Out of print.
Appraises major technological changes emerging in
textile mill products, lumber and wood products, tires
and tubes, aluminum, banking, and health services, and
discusses their current and potential impact on produc­
tivity and occupations.

Technology and Labor in Five Industries (Bulletin 2033,
1979), 50 pp. Out of print.
Appraises major technological changes emerging in
bakery products, concrete, air transportation, telephone
communication, and insurance, and discusses their cur­
rent and potential impact on productivity and

Outlook for Technology and Manpower in Printing and
Publishing* (Bulletin 1774, 1973), 44 pp. Out of print.
Describes new printing technology and discusses its
impact on productivity, employment, occupational re­
quirements, and labor-management adjustments.

Technological Change and Its Labor Impact in Five En­


Outlook for Computer Process Control* (Bulletin 1658,
1970), 70 pp. Out of print.
Describes the impact of computer process control on
employment, occupations, skills, training, production
and productivity, and labor-management relations.

Technology and Manpower in the Textile Industry o f the
1970’ * (Bulletin 1578, 1968), 79 pp. Out of print.
Describes changes in technology and their impact on
productivity, employment, occupational requirements,
and labor-management relations.


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