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U N IT E D S T A T E S D E P A R T M E N T O F L A B O R
Frances Perkins, Secretary
BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
Isador Lubin, Com m issioner (on leave)
A. F. Hinrichs, A ctin g Com m issioner

Trend o f Earnings Am ong
W h ite-C ollar W orkers D uring
the W a r
Prepared by the
D IV IS IO N O F W A G E A N A L Y S IS
ROBERT J. MYERS, C h ief

Bulletin l^o.

783

{Reprinted from the Monthly Labor Review, May 1944J

UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE WASHINGTON : 1944

For sale by the Superintendent o f Documents, U. S. Government Printing Office
Washington, D. C. - Price 10 cents







Letter of Transmittal

U nited States D epartment op Labor
B ureau op Labor Statistics,

W ashington, D . C ., M a y 2 9 , 1 9 4 4 •
The Secretary of Labor :
I have the honor to transmit herewith a report on the trend of earnings among
white-collar workers during the war. Much of the material presented in this
article was assembled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for use by the Subcom­
mittee on Wartime Health and Education of the Senate Committee on Education
and Labor.
This report was prepared by Margaret L. Plunkett, under the supervision of
Louis M. Solomon, in the Bureau's Division of Wage Analysis.
A. F. H inrichs, A ctin g Com m issioner.
H on. F rances P erkins ,
Secretary o f Labor.




(HI)

Contents
Page

Summary___________________________________________________________
Nature of the problem of the white-collar worker______________________
Who is the white-collar worker?__________________________________
Working conditions_____________________________________________
Trend of wages of clerical and office workers__________________________
Earnings of railroad office workers________________________________
Earnings of employees of large insurance companies________________
Professional and semiprofessional workers_____________________________
Public-school teachers___________________________________________
College and university professors_________________________________
Nurses_________________________________________________________
Radio employees________________________________________________
Government employees;
State and local employees_________________________________________
General salary adjustments by State governments___________________
Federal Executive service________________________________________
Salary changes in small towns__________________________________________
Comparative increases in manufacturing industries_______________________
Comparison of increases in identical manufacturing establishments__




(IV)

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B ulletin J{p. 783 o f the
U nited States Bureau o f Labor Statistics
[Reprinted from the M onthly L abor R eview , May 1944.]

Trend of Earnings Among White-Collar Workers During
the War
Sum m ary

White-collar workers, as represented by clerical and professional
employees, currently number about 11 million. The great majority
of these workers have always received modest incomes, and during
the past few years they have felt the increased cost of living more
keenly than the other major divisions of the labor force. The less
favorable position of the white-collar workers results in part from
the fact that the demand for their services has not expanded pro­
portionately with that for factory workers, and in part from the
traditional rigidity of their salaries, their relative lack of union organ­
ization, and other causes.
Although the salary scales of white-collar workers have risen less
rapidly than factory wage rates, there is considerable evidence that
they have increased substantially since January 1941. Retail trade,
an industry that employs many thousands of clerical and sales people,
shows increases in hourly earnings of 25 percent and substantial gains
in weekly earnings. Other white-collar industries employing numer­
ous clerical workers show increases in hourly and weekly earnings
ranging from 15 to over 30 percent. Even in small towns that are
relatively unaffected by war production, salary adjustments of about
20 percent have taken place. Unlike factory operatives, however,
white-collar employees have had their hours of work only slightly
lengthened on the average. Premium rates for overtime work are
also less common among white-collar groups. Their weekly earnings,
therefore, have increased but little more than their hourly earnings.
Little information is available regarding the salary trends of pro­
fessional and semiprofessional workers. Certain groups directly
involved in the war production program, however, such as engineers
and chemists, have undoubtedly enjoyed very substantial increases.
On the other hand, the salaries of public-school teachers in the school
year 1942— averaged only 8 to 10 percent above their pre-wai level,
43
and most teachers in institutions of higher learning probably fared
even less well. Nurses in hospitals appear to have enjoyed wartime
salary increases of 15 percent or more, but public-health nurses have
had smaller increases. Radio workers’ salary scales have gone up
more than 20 percent.
( 1)



2
White-collar workers employed by the Federal Government have
had no wartime increase in base rates. Longer hours of work, how­
ever, have resulted in an increase amounting to slightly more than
21 percent on base earnings up to $2,900. Of 45 States reporting to
the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 3 have failed to adjust
salaries upward since January 1941. The average increase for
white-collar workers employed by the States appears to be about 16
percent. City and county workers have had much smaller increases.
Much of the rise in the salary scales of white-collar workers has
resulted from individual merit increases and reclassification of em­
ployees. General salary adjustments affecting all or substantial
proportions of the employees in a given establishment probably have
accounted for less than half of the rise in salary levels.
N ature o f the Problem o f the W hite-C ollar W orker

The movement of wages and earnings since the outbreak of the war
has become a matter of major public interest. Among subjects of
concern is the fact that not all segments of the working population
have experienced equivalent wage adjustments, and therefore that the
impact of the rising cost of living has fallen with particular severity
upon certain groups. Salaried workers and other persons on rela­
tively stable incomes inevitably suffer more than other groups in a
period of rising prices. Several million clerical, professional, and
other so-called “ white-collar” workers fall into this class.
The situation of the white-collar worker is particularly difficult to
depict because of the inadequacy of available statistical information.
Wage statistics for professional and clerical workers and related
groups have never been very satisfactory; and their interpretation
during recent years has been rendered doubly difficult by wartime
changes in hours of work and in job content, the substitution of
women for men in many occupations, and other factors difficult to
measure.
Much of the material presented in this article was assembled by the
Bureau of Labor Statistics for use by the Subcommittee on Wartime
Health and Education of the Senate Committee on Education and
Labor, which held hearings early in 1944 on the problems of the
white-collar worker. Certain information assembled by other agen­
cies is also presented in the following pages; some of this was previously
discussed at the hearings of the subcommittee.
WHO IS THE WHITE-COLLAR WORKER?

#The term “ white-collar worker” does not lend itself to precise defi­
nition. It is sometimes extended beyond its more obvious meaning to
include the service trades and other groups of nonmanufacturing em­
ployees. This report, however, is confined to the narrower concept,
namely to those persons receiving salaries or wages for clerical or office
duties‘ retail selling, and certain professional and technical work. Ex­
cluded for present purposes are the executive and managerial groups, the
self-employed, and workers in nonmanufacturing industries whose
duties are not primarily of a clerical or professional nature. Although
their number varies according to the definition employed, the whitecollar workers under discussion embrace many millions of persons.



3
In 1940, according to the Bureau of the Census, professional and semiprofessional groups alone comprised almost 3 %million employees, and
7% million were found in the clerical and sales groups (tables 1 and 2).
Together these groups included some 11 million workers. The number
of workers employed in these classifications today is probably some­
what higher than in 1940.
T able

1.— M a jor Occupational Groups

in the Em ployed Population in the United States*
19401

Number of persons employed (in thousands)
Occupational group

All indus­
tries

Agriculture

Nonagricul­
tural
industries

All groups_______________________________________

45,166

8,372

36,794

Professional and semiprofessional workers____________
Proprietors, managers, and officials_____________'___
Clerical, sales, and kindred workers.____ ___________
Craftsmen, foremen, and kindred workers_____ _____
Operatives and kindred workers____________________
Protective-service workers_________________________
Service workers exw.pt protective 2
__
Laborers
_
_
_
Occupation not reported_________________ _____ ___

3,345
8,893
7,518
5,056
8,252
682
4,888
6,154
378

10
5,155
13
9
39
2
3
3,141

3,335
3,738
7,505
5,047
8,213
680
4,885
3,013
378

<
3)

i Data are from Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, Population, Volume III.
* Includes 2,111,000 domestic workers, of whom 1,885,000 were employed in nonagricultural industries.
» Less then 500 workers.
T a b l e 2. — Clerical9 Sales, and Professional Em ployees in the United States, b y M ajor
Industrial Groups, 1940

1

White-collar workers (in thousands)
Clerical, Professional
sales, and and semikindred professional
workers
workers

Industry group

_

7,518

3,345

10,863

45,166

Agriculture____________________ _____ __________
Mining________________________________________
Construction____________________________________
Manufacturing... ......... .......... ....................................
Transportation, communication, and other public
utilities_______________________________________
Wholesale and retail trade________________________
Finance, insurance, and real estate.
.
......
Business and repair services_______________________
Personal services________________________________
Amusement, recreation, and related services_________
Professional and related services___
Government____________________ ________________
Miscellaneous and not reported2. . . ________________

13
34
54
1,479

10
18
64
321

23
52
118
1,800

8,372
913
2,056
10,573

727
2,818
941
111
122
49
365
630
175

85
118
18
32
83
103
2,304
171
18

812
2,936
959
143
205
152
2,669
801
193

3,113
7,539
1,468
864
4,009
395
3,318
1,753
793

A1] industries___

__

Total

Total, all
occupa­
tional
groups (in
thousands)

1 Data are from Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, Population, Volume HI.
2 Includes forestry and fishery.

WORKING CONDITIONS

Certain obvious and important differences in working conditions
have always distinguished white-collar workers from factory crafts­
men and operatives. Not all of these have an immediate influence on
the relative trends of their earnings, but several have a very definite
effect on the current income status of the white-collar worker. Fac­
tory workers, for instance, are customarily paid premium rates for



4
overtime, whereas the office worker only infrequently enjoys this
added compensation. Factory operatives working on night shifts
are typically paid at premium rates, but ordinarily the clerical or
professional employee who works on an extra shift receives no dif­
ferential in pay. The lengthening workweek in the manufacturing
industries, with premium pay for overtime hours, has contributed to
the upswing of gross earnings for factory workers. The clerical and
professional worker has not enjoyed the same opportunity for this
extra compensation; even where he is working somewhat longer
hours, his earnings are generally not increased to the same extent
as those of factory workers. Finally, factory operatives have the
protection of union organization to a much greater degree than whitecollar workers and through such organizations are more effectively
represented when applications for wage increases are involved.
In his attempt to increase his earnings, therefore, the white-collar
worker’s normal conditions of employment have put him at a dis­
advantage as compared with the factory craftsman or operative.
On the other hand, the white-collar worker enjoys certain advantages
in his working life which the factory employee does not have, and
although most of these advantages do not contribute to increased
earnings, they are undoubtedly important factors influencing an
individual in his choice of occupation. Generally speaking, for
instance, the white-collar worker enjoys cleaner, more comfortable,
and less dangerous working surroundings than does the factory
operative. There is, on the whole, a larger measure of personal in­
dependence and opportunity for advancement. Provisions for
vacations and sick leave are more liberal for office than for factory
workers. Usually job security is greater, and participation in non­
production bonuses more extensive.
Trend o f W ages o f Clerical and Office W orkers

Probably the most comprehensive information available regarding
wage trends for clerical, office, and kindred workers consists of the
Bureau’s monthly reports on average weekly and hourly earnings in
various branches of nonmanufacturing industry. These industries,
it is true, cover substantial numbers of service workers, mainte­
nance and custodial employees, and others whose duties are not even
remotely related to office work. Most of them, however, include large
numbers of clerical, office, and related workers, and in some—such as
brokerage and insurance and the various branches of retail trade—
these workers predominate. In the absence of more refined measures
for these broad industry groups, therefore, the data are of value as
rough measures of the extent of wage increases.
The material presented in table 3 reveals substantial increases in
hourly and weekly earnings between January 1941 and January 1944.
Hourly earnings in retail trade as a whole rose 25 percent, with the
figures for individual branches ranging from 22 percent in general
merchandising to 35 percent in apparel. Employees in electric
utilities companies had average increases of 21 percent, and those in
the communications industry (telephone and telegraph) of 7 percent.
Owing to the merger of the two great telegraph companies, Western
Union and Postal Telegraph, earnings data are not available after
August 1943 for the communications industry. The change of 7



5
percent through August is believed to further understate the full
extent of the increase in this industry, since it has been influenced
considerably by the employment of new workers at beginner’s rates.2*
Fragmentary information for a group of 400 telephone exchanges in
the Southwest indicates increases in straight-time rates ranging from
about 12 to 20 percent for various groups of white-collar workers
T
between January 1941 and April 1943. These apparently include a
general increase of $2 per week granted to operators and other traffic
employees in the summer of 1942. No adequate information of this
type is available for telegraph companies.
T a b le 3.— Average H ours and Earnings in Selected Nonmanufacturing Industries,
January 1941 and January 1944

Average
hours worked
per week
Industry

1

Average hourly earnings Average weekly earnings

Jan­
uary
1941

Percent
of in­
Jan­ crease, Jan­
uary
Janu­ uary
1944 2 ary 1941 1941
to Janu­
ary 1944

Jan­
uary
1941
Public utilities:
Telephone and telegraph...........
Electric light and power.............
Street railways and busses..........
Trade
Wholesale........................ ..........
Retail..........................................
Food—.................................
General merchandising........
Apparel................................
Furniture.............................
Automotive..........................
Lumber................................
Hotels (year-round)....................
Laundries.................. ................
Dyeing and cleaning...................
Brokerage............................. ......
Insurance....................................

Jan­
uary
1944 2

39.7
39.4
45.3

2 42.1
42.2
49.6

Cents
80.4
90.3
73.1

Cents
3 86.1
109.4
90.4

7
21
24

40.6
42.7
43.3
38.8
39.0
43.7
46.7
41.7
45.9
42.9
41.9
(<)
(*)

42.4
40.3
39.9
36.8
36.9
42.7
48.8
43.3
44.5
44.1
43.8
(<)
(*)

75.0
54.5
53.1
46.5
55.8
68.3
61.0
64.0
33.8
42.9
48.8
<*)
(*)

97.2
68.0
67.5
56.9
75.6
86.7
75.8
86.0
48.2
59.4
69.5
(4)
h

30
25
27
22
35
27
24
34
43
38
42
(4)
0)

Percent
of in­
Jan­ crease,
uary
Janu­
1944 2 ary 1941
to Janu­
ary 1944

$31.69 s $36.10
46.99
35.49
33.63
45.98
30.59
21.53
24.51
18.22
21.89
27.96
28.26
26.16
15.65
18.37
19.92
37.92
37.52

41.20
26.16
29.60
21.26
27.22
35.71
39.27
36.28
21.34
26.29
29.64
51.27
44.65

14
32
37
35
22
21
17
24
28
39
39
36
43
49
35
19

1 Data are from monthly statistics of the Bureau's Division of Employment Statistics.
2 Preliminary, subject to revision.
2 August 1943 figures are the latest available; figures for later periods are not available, owing to the merger
of Western Union and Postal Telegraph.
* Not available.

In most cases percentage increases in weekly earnings in these
industries were larger than in hourly earnings. Typically, however,
the difference was less pronounced than in manufacturing industry.
Decreases in average hours of work in several lines of retailing—result­
ing from the large-scale employment of part-time workers—artificially
restricted the rise in average weekly earnings in these lines. I t may
be assumed that the weekly earnings of full-time retail employees
increased at least as much, on the average, as did their hourly earn­
ings, namely, 25 percent. Employees in brokerage establishments
enjoyed a 35-percent increase in weekly earnings and those in insur­
ance offices a 19-percent increase.
2 In general, average hourly and weekly earnings in nonmanufacturing industries have been affected less
than those in manufacturing by labor turnover, changes in occupational structure, and interindustry trans­
fers. Weekly earnings in retail trade and certain other nonmanufactnring industries, however, have been
considerably influenced by the employment of part-time workers. The figures presented in table 3, al­
though indicating beyond doubt that substantial increases have occurred, should not be accepted as precise
measures of the extent of those increases.
591675—44---2




6
EARNINGS OF RAILROAD OFFICE WORKERS

Various groups of professional and clerical employees of the Nation’s
class I railways had increases in straight-time average hourly earnings
of 6 and 9 percent between September 1940 and September 1943.3
The larger percentage increase went to those paid on an hourly basis,
who constituted in 1943 roughly 80 percent of the 200,000 persons
employed in the classes covered. With the additional increase of
approximately 9 cents an hour granted retroactively to these workers
by the Economic Stabilization Director early in 1944, the estimated
increase in straight-time earnings between 1940 and 1944 amounted
roughly to 21 percent for hourly workers and 14 percent for those paid
on a daily basis, the latter group consisting mainly of inspectors,
claim agents, and accountants. Overtime payments contribute to
somewhat higher increases in daily and weekly earnings.
EARNINGS OF EMPLOYEES OF LARGE INSURANCE COMPANIES

I t has been seen from table 3 that average weekly earnings in
insurance companies have increased by about 20 percent since
January 1941. This resulted from various types of adjustment,
including general wage increases affecting large groups of workers,
and promotions and merit increases affecting individual workers or
small groups. An attempt to discover the comparative effect of
general wage increases in this industry was made through a limited
special inquiry relating to 23 large insurance companies. This infor­
mation, which covers more than 60,000 employees, applies primarily
to the home offices of these companies, located throughout the eastern
and midwestem sections of the country, but also includes the branch
offices of a few companies.
T a b l e 4.— General Increases in Salary Scales Granted b y Large Insurance Companies,
January 1941 to January 1944, by T yp e o f Increase

Percent of increase in earnings attributable to general
changes in salary scales1

All cOTOpanifis
None__________________________________________
L ass than 5,
ft hnt lftfls than 10 _ __
. _
10 but less than 15___ ___________________________
15 tnjt less than 20-- . ___
30 O TTlftTA , ,
l*
____ - __ _
_.

Total
companies
reporting

23

Number of companies reporting
type of general increases
Percent of
change8

Other and
combination
changes

Flat
amount

14

1

4

7
4
2
1

1

1
1
1
1

4
9
5
3
2

i Does not include individual promotions, merit increases, or other increases affecting individuals or
small groups.
8 The percent of increase may not have been granted at one time, and may not have affected all workers
in equal proportion. Most companies reported minimum and maximum amount of change which usually
operated in such a manner as to give the lowest-paid workers a higher proportionate increase than the higherpaid workers.

Nineteen of these companies (see table 4) reported that they had
granted general increases averaging from 5 percent to more than 20
percent; 4 had effected no general increases. Half of these companies
8 Based on Wage Statistics of Class I Steam Railways in the United States, Interstate Commerce
Commission, September 1940 and September 1943.




7
granted increases between 5 and 10 percent; the average general in­
crease, weighted roughly by the number of employees affected, was
approximately 8 percent. There is no indication of any consistent
difference in percentage of increase resulting either from geographic
location or size of company.
Supplementary information supplied by many of these companies
throws additional light on the nature of salary trends in this industry.
A few companies granted uniform percentage increases to all workers,
but usually the salary changes were graduated in such a way as to
give the greatest percentage increase to the lowest-paid workers. In
addition, a majority of the increases appear to have been considered
as temporary, not permanent, changes in salary scales.
I t is of interest to note that even in these large companies salary
increases were frequently, effected on an individual basis rather than
by means of the general increases presented in table 4. Indeed,
informal and individual adjustments were probably equally important
with formal increases affecting large groups. Several companies, for
example, granted no general salary increases but accomplished
approximately the same result by means of individual merit increases,
promotions, and liberalization of overtime-pay provisions, while
many companies combined general salary increases with liberal raises
for merit. Some companies reporting general wage increases averag­
ing less than 10 percent stated that additional individual adjustments
had exhausted the full 15-percent increase permitted under the “Little
Steel” formula. A number of companies increased their weekly hours
of work, in many cases as much as 4 or 5 hours per week, and this in­
crease was paid for at time and a half. Apparently more than half
of the companies are paying appreciably more for overtime than they
did 3 “ ears ago.
y
Professional and Sem iprofessional W orkers

Bureau of the Census figures indicate that there were almost 3%
million professional and semiprofessional workers in 1940, of whom
about 1 million were distributed among various industrial groups
(see table 2). Salary or wage changes for these workers have un­
doubtedly shown extreme variation. Many groups, including cer­
tain classes of engineers, chemists, and other highly specialized
workers, have played a direct and vital part in the war production
program. They have not only enjoyed salary increases within
their jobs but have had opportunities for advancement to better
jobs. Other groups, including various classes of teachers, have
fared less well. Information is readily available for only a few of
these professional groups.
PUBLIC-SCHOOL TEACHERS

According to the National Education Association,4 the average
salary of almost 900,000 public-school teachers for the school year
1942-43 was $1,550. This is an increase of 8 percent over the $1,441
paid in 1939-40, and of 10 percent over the average salary for the last
pre-war year, 1938-39. The averages cited here include only the
earnings resulting from their major employment and hence may
4 National Education Association, Research Bulletin Vol. XXI, No. 4: Teachers’ Salaries and the Public
Welfare. Washington, 1943.




8
not reflect exactly the trend of their total earnings. Nevertheless,
although teachers may work at some other occupation during the
summer months, it is not always possible for them to do so and thenbasic situation in the current upswing of prices must therefore be
judged by the increases in the salaries of their principal occupation.
The low level of earnings of public-school teachers is indicated by the
fact that in spite of the generally upward movement since 1938-39,
slightly more than 75 percent earned less than $2,000 in 1942-43,
ana almost a third earned less than $1,000. Only 8 percent earned
$3,000 or more, and these were mainly principals and superintendents.
COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS

College and university professors, numbering nearly 125,000,
appear to have fared no better than public-*school teachers.5 Indeed,
their position has in some ways been less favorable, for loss of enroll­
ment (amounting to 18 percent from 1940 to 1942) has strained the
fiscal position of many institutions and discouraged them from making
additional financial outlays. Large Army-Navy programs (recently
curtailed in many colleges) enabled some institutions to grant in­
creases—often accompanied by a heavier teaching load—and a few
have effected cost-of-living or other increases independently of these
service programs. Statistical data regarding salary changes are
not available, but it is improbable that salary scales in institutions
of higher learning have risen by as much as 10 percent since 1941.
NURSES

Nurses have always been among the lowest-paid professional
workers, but available data indicate that their earnings have increased
appreciably in recent years. Salary scales and earnings vary con­
siderably for the different types of nursing service, and comparisons
from period to period are somewhat hazardous. Studies made by
the American Nurses Association for 1936 and 1942 for general staff
nurses,6 however, indicate that median cash annual earnings have
risen by slightly more than 15 percent for nurses receiving either
full or partial maintenance. Earnings of those receiving no main­
tenance appear to have dropped, but the data are inconclusive
for this group.7
D ata for 392 identical agencies supplied by the National Organiza­
tion for Public Health Nursing indicate that increases gained by
public health nurses have been considerably less than for institutional
nurses.8 No direct comparison with other branches of the profession
can be made, however, since the period covered for this group is from
December 1938 to January 1942, a span of only 3 years as compared
with 6 years for institutional nurses. Increases varied from one type
of agency to another, but generally averaged about 5 percent. In­
creases occurred in greater proportion in the smaller than in the larger
• Information summarized from a statement presented to the Senate Subcommittee on Wartime Health
and Education by the American Association of University Professors, January 29, 1944.
• Data for 1936 are from American Journal of Nursing, November 1938; 1942 data are from the report
Annual Salaries and Salary Increases and Allowances Paid to General Staff Nurses, prepared by the National
League of Nursing Education (New York), 1943.
7 Attention is called to the scanty but highly accurate data regarding hourly earnings of general duty
nurses in small-town hospitals, presented in table 8. Of the eight communities for which figures were
obtained, only one showed an increase of less than 20 percent in the earnings of these nurses from January
1941 to December 1943
• Data from unpublished study by National Organization for Public Health Nursing entitled “Changes
in Public Health Nursing Salaries, 1938-1942.“




9
agencies, and in nonofficial agencies as compared with public-health
departments of various types. Although the percentage increases in
salaries of public-health nurses appear to have been small in compari­
son with those of other groups, it should be noted that their earnings
are considerably higher, median salaries in 1942 ranging from about
$1,600 to $2,900 per year, depending upon the type of position and the
type of organization providing employment. The range for these
same groups in 1938 was about $100 lower.
RADIO EMPLOYEES

The radio broadcasting industry, although essentially a commercial
enterprise, employs large numbers of artists, musicians, and other
types of professional workers in addition to its clerical and sales
personnel. For this reason wage increases in this industry throw
some light on the situation of the salaried professional worker.
Reports to the Federal Communications Commission9 indicate
that these professional workers increased their average weekly earn­
ings, including overtime, from about $40 to $50, or by about 24 percent
between 1940 and 1943. Both part-time and full-time workers are
covered and, generally speaking, the part-time workers have enjoyed
proportionately higher increases. The personnel studied does not
include the artists paid by program sponsors, but only those persons
hired and paid by the radio networks themselves.
Gross average weekly earnings for all employees in the industry,
excluding executives and miscellaneous workers, increased 22 percent,
from $38 to $47, in the 3 years between October 1940 and October
1943. The 4,000 part-time employees covered have fared relatively
better, with a 38-percent increase, than the 17,000 full-time employees,
whose average weekly earnings increased only about 20 percent.
Increases for salesmen, and general administrative and clerical em­
ployees, as a group, were considerably less, however, than for the
professional employees, and amounted to only 16 percent in the 3-year
period for which data are available.
Government Em ployees
FEDERAL EXECUTIVE SERVICE

Basic rates for clerical and professional workers in the Federal
service have remained unchanged since the beginning of the war.
Longer hours, paid for at approximately straight-time rates, together
with merit increases and promotions, have, however, increased
average salaries since 1941 by about 23 percent for the Executive
service, exclusive of the Agriculture, Interior, and Post Office Depart­
ments. If these three departments (for which wage data on whitecollar and non-white-collar workers cannot readily be segregated) are
included with the other executive departments, the increase in
average salaries amounts to only 20 percent (table 5).•
• Based on Summaries of Functional Employee Data, October 1940 and October 1943, furnished by the
Federal Communications Commission.




10
T a b le 5.— N um ber and Average Annual P a y o f Em ployees in Federal Executive Service,
Exclusive o f Selected Groups o f N on-W h ite-C ollar W orkers, 1 9 3 9 -4 3

Period

1

Executive service, excluding selected non-white-collar
groups *
Total
executive
service, in­ Total in­ Total ex­
cluding
cluding
cluding
non-white- Post Office, Post Office,
Other
Navy
War
collar
war
Interior,
Interior,
workers
agencies4
and Agri­ and Agri­
culture 3
culture 3
Average pay per employee

1939...................................................
1940...................................................
1941...................................................
1942...................................................
1943 •................................................

$1,817
1,818
1,835
1,935
2,276

$1,855
1,838
1,794
1,803
2,158

$1,854
1,782
1,710
1,737
2,110

$1,531
1,512
«1,522
1,536
1,969

$1,603
1,553
1,791
1,943
2,217

$2,265
1,503
1,446
1,890
2,369

January 1941.....................................
November 1941................................
November 1942.................................
May 1943..........................................

1,856
• 1,843
1,987
2,306

1,832
1,769
1,847
2,195

1,755
1,697
1,816
2,162

1,452
3 1,475
1,592
1,999

1,627
1,767
1,852
2,278

1,393
1,694
1,892
2,328

Number of employees (in thousands)
1939...................................................
1940...................................................
1941..................................................
1942..................................................
1943 «................................................

916.7
1,031.9
1,404.4
2,319.4
3,013.2

784.2
855.1
1,091.9
1,816.4
2,438.2

345.2
412.7
641.9
1,368.9
1,995.0

70.3
98.3
246.5
750.4
1,261.1

25.4
33.4
56.6
161.1
262.6

2.1
7.7
24.2
102.8
192.1

January 1941.....................................
November 1941.................................
November 1942.................................
May 1943..........................................

1,151.1
1,545.1
2,750.1
3,065.0

918.1
1,181.2
2,240.6
2,486.0

485.7
728.7
1,796.4
2,045.3

143.5
355.5
1,061.7
1,298.9

47.8
76.7
200.6
246.8

19.6
29.1
132.1
203.7

1 Compiled in the Bureau’s Division of Construction and Public Employment from data collected by the
U. S. Civil Service Commission.
2 Non-white-collar groups excluded are as follows: Manufacturing arsenals, navy yards (including Pearl
Harbor), torpedo stations, aircraft factories, force-account construction, and Government Printing
Office. Data for the Public Buildings Administration, Bureau of Engraving and Printing, Bureau of the
Mint, and manufacturing quartermaster depots could not be segregated.
8 Employees of the Post Office, Interior, and Agriculture Departments could not be segregated into whitecollar and non-white-collar groups.
4 Excludes Panama Canal. In 1939 the only “other war agencies” consisted of the Maritime Commission
and National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. In 1940 and 1941 the Selective Service System domi­
nated the group, and because of the low average pay in that agency, the average for the group was low.
5 Estimated.
3 Average based on first 11 months.

In the war agencies percentage increases since 1941 have been
somewhat higher than for the Executive service generally, increases
in the War Department amounting to 29 percent, in the Navy to 24
percent, and in other war agencies to 64 percent. As overtime pay
for white-collar workers is estimated to represent about 21 percent
of the base salary up to $2,900, it would appear that more upgrad­
ing has taken place in the war agencies than in other branches of
the Executive service.
Compared with earnings in 1939, the average salary of white-collar
employees in the Executive service as a whole in 1943 increased
approximately 15 percent, whereas non-white-collar employees en­
joyed increases averaging about 75 percent. I t is interesting to note
that average salaries of the white-collar employees actually declined
between 1939 and 1942, and showed a substantial increase only after
overtime pay legislation became effective in 1943.




11
STATE AND LOCAL EMPLOYEES

The average annual pay of white-collar employees of State govern­
ments and of the larger units of local government, exclusive of school
teachers, rose about 10 percent between 1941 and 1943 (table 6).
The salaries of these workers in 1943 averaged $1,757. The increase
was less than half the percentage increase gained by the non-whitecollar workers in the same jurisdictions, although the average annual
salaries of the two groups in 1943 were approximately the same.
Additional information indicates that employees of the smaller cities
and counties received somewhat larger percentage increases dur­
ing the same period, but that average salaries in these units remained
much lower than in the larger jurisdictions. For white-collar workers
alone, increases by the States averaged slightly over 16 percent whereas
in cities of over 25,000 the increasesjamounted to only 6 percent and
in counties of over 50,000 only about 3 percent. For non-white-collar
workers these cities and counties granted somewhat greater increases
than the 18 percent granted by the States. The 1943 levels of pay,
however, remained higher for the white-collar functions in most
jurisdictions. These generally higher levels are attributable to the
inclusion, with white-collar workers, of firemen and policemen, who
constitute a considerable proportion of the employees in these juris­
dictions and whose salaries are comparatively high. If these two
groups were excluded the average yearly pay of white-collar workers
for the States and the larger units of local government would be
$1,404 as compared with $1,461 for non-white-collar workers in 1941,
and $1,548 as compared with $1,761 in 1943. The average increase
for policemen and firemen alone in the 2-year period was 7 percent.
T a b l e 6 . — Average Annual P a y o f Nonschool Em ployees o f State and Local Governments,
b y W hite-Collar and N on-W h ite-C ollar Functions, 1941 and 1943 1

Non-white-collar functions8

White-collar functions2
Type and size of governmental
unit

1941

1943

Propor­
Percent tion of
total em­
of
change ployment
1943

1941

1943

Propor­
Percent tion of
of
total em­
change ployment
1943

$1,757

+ 9.4

60.1

$1,461

$1,761

+20.6

39.9

States4........................................

1,304

1,516

+16.2

60.0

1,261

1,492

+ 18.3

40.0

Cities over 25,000 •......................
Over 1,000,000..................... .
500,000-1,000,000....................
250,000-500,000.......................
100,000-250,000.......................
50,000-100,000........................
25,000-50,000..........................

1,902
2,422
1,776
1,645
1,918
1,725
1,635

2,021
2,499
1,860
1,739
2,033
1,978
1,794

+ 6.2
+ 3.1
+ 4.7
+ 5.7
+ 6.0
+14.6
+ 9.9

54.5
47.8
59.7
53.9
57.4
54.7
56.2

1,624
2,139
1,505
1,448
1,437
1,387
1,273

1,958
2,372
2,093
1,732
1,724
1,658
1,580

+20.6
+10.9
+39.1
+19.7
+20.0
+19.5
+24.1

45.5
52.2
40.3
46.1
42.6
45.3
43.8

Counties over 50,0008..................
Over 100,000..........................
50,000-100,000........................

1,605
1,686
1,225

1,650
1,679
1,473

+ 2.8
- .4
+20.2

83.7
87.1
67.5

1,413
1,662
895

1,811
2,064
1,322

+28.1
+24.1
+47.6

16.3
12.9
32.5

All types..................................... $1,606

1 Compiled in the Bureau’s Division of Construction and Public Employment from data collected by
the U. S. Bureau of the Census in its Quarterly Employment Survey. Data based on identical govern­
ments reporting in the 2 periods indicated.
2 Police and fire department employees have been included with white-collar functions.
8 Covers the following functions: Highways, sanitation, conservation and development of natural re­
sources, recreation, and public-service enterprises.
4 Data are for January 1941 and July 1943; employment data for July 1943.
8 Data are for July 1941 and July 1943; employment data for July 1943.
8 Data are for January 1942 and October 1943; employment data for October 1943.




12
GENERAL SALARY ADJUSTMENTS BY STATE GOVERNMENTS

In an effort to determine what proportion of the increases in salaries
of State employees was attributable to general rate changes alone,
the Department of Labor addressed a special inquiry to State Gov­
ernors, requesting this type of information for permanent, salaried
employees. The tabulation presented in table 7 indicates the nature
of the various salary changes instituted by 45 States from January
1941 to January 1944, and reveals considerable variation not only in
the extent of salary revision but in the procedures employed in making
readjustments.
T a b l e 7.— Salary Adjustm ents Affecting Permanent Salaried Em ployees o f 45 State
Governments, January 1941 to January 1944

[Preliminary, subject to revision]

State

Alabama_
_
Arizona.......
California...
Colorado_
_
Connecticut.
Florida.
Georgia.
Idaho...
Illinois..
Indiana.
Iowa.—
Kansas .
Kentucky____
Louisiana........
Maine.............
Maryland___
Massachusetts.
Michigan..
Minnesota.
Mississippi.
Missouri—
.
Montana. _
Nebraska..
Nevada_
_
New Hampshire___
New Jersey............
New Mexico...........
New York...............
North Carolina.......
North Dakota.........

Date of
change

Revision of salary ranges for classified workers___________
10 percent to highway department____ ________________
July 1942- $15 per month emergency cost-of-living bonus__________
Feb. 1943- $10 per month on salaries under $300; $5 on those over $300.
increases...........................................................
0)------ Individual year for clerical workers.________ __________
Fall 1941.. $120-$240 a
Fall 1942.. Clerical minimum raised to $1,080________________ ____
Feb. 1943- $180 on salaries under $1,800 a year; $240 on those of $1,800
or more.
Individual increases___ _____ ____________ _________ _
Individual increases to lower-salaried workers____ _____
1942......... Individual increases averaging 15 percent, on salaries under
$100 a month.
July 1943- $10 per month cost-of-living bonus on salaries of $200 a
month or less.
18 percent general wage increase................. ....... ...............
percent on salaries
0)—
.....- 15-25those over $200. under $200 a month; 15 percent
on
percent for lower-salaried
0)......... 15for higher-paid workers. workers, ranging to percent
June 1941— 10 percent to highway department.....................................
Oct. 1942- ...... do............ ................................. .................................
Apr. 1943- 15 percent adjustment in rate ranges..................................
(i)------ Salary-range revisions................ ............. .........................
Jan. 1943.. Classifications established, and individual increases..........
Feb. 1942- 10 percent on salaries less than $30 a week....... ..................
May 1943. Revision of salary ranges........................... ........................
July 1943- Standardization of rates.....................................................
$200 bonus on salaries under $3,000....................................
July 1943- $240 bonus on salaries under $1,600.....................................
15 percent bonus on salaries of $l,601-$2,399........................
$360 bonus on salaries of $2,400 or over....................... .........
Revision of salary ranges....................................................
0)......... $7.50 monthly, plus 5 percent; maximum increase, $15.......
July 1943No change..........................................................................
Individual increases...........................................................
----do...........................................................................
Sept. 1941. Classifications established—................................................
July 1943- Classifications established..................................................
Aug. 1942. 15 percent to highway department (white collar)...............
Sept. 1942- 12 percent to clerical............................................................
Mar. 1943. 15 percent to clerical...... .....................................................
July 1943- 20 percent to clerical...................................... ......... ...........
July 1943.. $75 a year, plus 5 percent; minimum increase $150, maxi­
mum $300.
Jan. 1943.. $120 on salaries under $800; 15 percent on salaries $800$2,000; $300 on salaries $2,000-$5,000.
Individual increases........... .......... .....................................
$ ay 1943. 10 percent on salaries under $2,000.................................
7H percent on salaries between $2,000 and $4,000................
$300 increase in clerical minimum.......................................
Jan. 1943.. $5-$24 a month, with greater percentage but smaller dollar
increment for lowest salaries.
(0........... 'Departmental increases....... ...............................................
10 percent on maintenance allowances................................

(lL......

See footnotes at end of table.




Nature of increase

Percent of
workers
affected
(approx.)
(2)

(2)
(3)
(3)

100

35
25
100

100

(2)

100
(2)

85
(2)
(2)

(2)

100

100
50

100

80
50

28
11
95
90

100
100

2
20
3

100
(2)
100

70

20

2

100

100
(2)

13
T a b l e 7.— Salary Adjustm ents Affecting Permanent Salaried Em ployees o f 4 5 State
Governments, January 1941 to January 1944 —Continued

State

Date of
change

Nature of increase

Ohio........................ Jan. 1943.. 10 percent on salaries under $1,800; $15 on those of $1,800$3,600.
No change...........................................................................
Oklahoma________
Oregon.................... July 1943.. Standardization of rates............. ..................... ..................
Pennsylvania.......... Oct. 1942- 15 percent on salaries under $3,000; those between $3,000
and $3,456 increased to $3,456.
Rhode Island......... Feb. 1942- Classifications and salary ranges established-.....................
South Carolina____ July 1943— $10 a month on salaries under $2,500...................................
15 percent to 2 departments...............................................
South Dakota_____ (i)_______ Individual increases..................... -........................ .........
Tennessee....... ....... Oct. 1943- Standardization of rates......................................................
No change..........................................................................
Texas.....................
Vermont............... . Jan. 1943.. Individual increases____ ______ _____-...........................
Virginia................. . Jan. 1942- 10 percent on first $1,000 and 5 percent on second $1,000, on
salaries under $2,400.
After Jan. Individual increases.............. -...........................................
1942.
Washington........... Aug. 1943- Departmental increases; amount not specified...................
We.st Virginia _
_
(i)............ 10 percent on salaries under $2,400.................... .................
Wisconsin.......... .
July 1942— $10 a month on minimum salaries of $100 or less.................. .
Apr. 1943- Bonus of $7-$15, lower amounts going to higher-paid
workers.
Wyoming............... After Jan. Individual increases......................................................... .
1943.

Percent of
worker*
affected
(approx.)
95
100

i5

(2
)
(*)
(*)

80
65
10
100
100

100
75

6

85

100

i After January 1941, but exact date not available.
* No data.
3 All employees paid on monthly basis.

Three of the 45 States—Mississippi, Texas, and Oklahoma—
reported that they had effected no general salary increases since
January 1941. The 42 States that have increased salaries may be
grouped in four chief classes: (1) Although no State reported a
uniform increase to all employees, 19 States—the largest group—
granted systematic percentage or dollar increases to substantial groups
of employees (often the lowest-paid workers). In some instances the
period of effectiveness of these salary revisions was limited by the
legislature or by executive directives to 1 or 2 years or the duration
of the war. (2) Ten States gave no specific salary increases, but
raised the salary levels of large numbers of workers by establishing or
raising salary ranges for specific occupations. (3) Nine States
effected increases by means of adjustments for individual employees.
(4) The remaining four States employed combinations of the above
methods.
It is difficult to evaluate the net effect on salary levels of the various
measures taken. Of 37 States for which fairly reliable estimates can
be made, however, 6 raised salaries about 10 percent on the average,
and 17 raised salaries by amounts varying from 10 to 20 percent.
The median for all 37 States was about 12 percent.
I t would appear that merit increases and similar adjustments for
individual workers or small groups have been almost as important as
general salary increases in accounting for the rise in salaries of State
employees.
Salary Changes in Small Towns

The material presented in the preceding pages, although indicating
wide differences in the extent of salary increases for various groups of
white-collar workers, provides convincing evidence of an appreciable
general upward movement. In order to discover whether increases



14
for these workers were confined to large industrial centers or had
occurred more generally, the Bureau conducted a brief, special study of
the salary trends of such workers in a number of small towns "not
substantially affected by the war production program. The subjects
of the study were 12 widely scattered towns ranging in size from 6,000
to 20,000 inhabitants.
The methods employed were such as to yield highly dependable
results. Except for their limited scope, the findings of this study
are probably the most reliable information at hand regarding the
movement of white-collar wages during the war period. All data
were obtained by the Bureau's trained field representatives and were
based on company pay rolls and other basic records for the months of
January 1941 and December 1943. The findings here shown apply
to one key job in each of 7 nonmanufacturing industries, and to two
clerical occupations common to both manufacturing and nonmanu­
facturing. The figures for the two periods refer to identical establish­
ments and in many cases to identical workers. The increases shown
are in terms of hourly earnings and reflect not only general increases
but also merit increases, seniority promotions within the job, and all
similar adjustments. The commissions of certain sales clerks are
included, but not overtime premiums.
The study indicates that although white-collar workers in these
towns are still employed at relatively low rates, they have enjoyed
substantial and widespread wage adjustments (table 8). Despite
the absence of a highly competitive labor market in these communities,
white-collar workers received increases in straight-time hourly earn­
ings averaging somewhat over 20 percent.
8.— Straight-Tim e Average H ourly E a rn in g sD ecem ber 1943, in K e y Occupations
in Selected Industries in 12 Towns, and Percent o f Change Since January 1941

T able

Banks

Hospitals

Hotels

Insurance
and real
estate

Paying and
receiving
tellers

Sales clerks

Nurses2
general
duty

General desk
clerks

Cashiers

Cur­ Per­
rent cent of
rate, change
De­ since
cem­ Janu­
ber
ary
1943
1941

Town and State

Department
and clothing
stores

Cur­ Per­
rent cent of
rate, change
De­ since
cem­ Januber
uary
1943
1941

Cur­ Per­
rent cent of
rate, change
De­ since
cem­ Januuary
ber
1941
1943

Town A, Vermont......... $0,923
Town B, New York___ 1.055
Town O, Maryland....... .845
Town D, Virginia.......... .676
Town E, Ohio............... .915
Town F, Michigan.......
.636
Town G, Illinois............ .835
Town H, Nebraska....... .667
Town I, Colorado.......... .749
Town J, Oklahoma....... .‘920
Town K, California....... .845
Town L, Washington... .811

11.2 $0.465
-11.6
.538
10.5
.394
5.3
.471
- .7
.471
.422
40.1
7.9
.407
28.8
.415
.521
9.5
- 1 1 .7
.416
5.5
.510
9.3
.489

See footnotes at end of table.




10.9 $0,441
19.3
.577
24.7
(3)
22.3
.460
4.9
43.1
26.4
.414
.476
28.1
.531
15.8
23.8
15.6
.760
.832
5.4

Cur­ Per­ Cur­ Per­
rent cent of rent cent of
rate, change rate, change
De­ since
De­ since
cem­ Janu- cem­ Januber
uary
ber
uary
1943
1941
1943
1941

14.8 $0,516
.507
40.0
(3)
(3)
.439
42.9
.382
4 .283
36.2
.412
23.0 4 .157
45.5
.518
.314
.624
67.8
.432
33.1

8 8

25.9 $0,563
38.5 1.156
(3)
28.0
8.2
.548
133.9
(3)
15.4
.392
27.6
26.7
52.4
33.6
28.6

11.3
14.9

(3)

1.1

81.5

15
T a b l e 8 . — Straight-Tim e Avera
in Selected Industries in 12

rings,1 Decem ber 1 943, in K e y Occupations
*owns, and Percent o f Change Since January 1941

Limited-price
variety stores
Sales clerks
Town and State

Public utilities
Meter readers

All industries
'Stenographers

General office
clerks

Per­
Per­
Per­
Per­
Cur­ cent of Cur­ cent of Cur­ cent of Cur­ cent of
rent change rent change rent change rent change
rate,
rate,
rate,
rate,
since
since
since
since
Decem­ Janu­ Decem­ Janu­ Decem­ Janu­ Decem­ Janu­
ber
ber
ber
ber
ary
ary
ary
ary
1943
1943
1943
1943
1941
1941
1941
1941

Town A, Vermont............... $0,259
.310
Town B, New York............
.298
Town 0 , Maryland.............
.266
Town D, Virginia...............
.283
Town E, Ohio.....................
.312
Town F, Michigan..............
.306
Town G, Illinois..................
.293
Town H, Nebraska.............
.295
Town I, Colorado................
.310
Town J, Oklahoma.............
.446
Town K, California.............
.385
Town L, Washington..........

22.2
21.1
36.7
26.1
24.7
41.8
28.0
36.3
17.1
40.3
20.2
14.2

$0,705
.814
(«)
.543
.608
.700
.762
.550
.719
.918
.975
.889

50.0
16.5
(3)
17.3
17.6
31.1
0
24.4
13.6
10.1
30.0
13.2

$0,549
.563
.481
.515
.564
.547
.566
.348
.546
.791
.934
.921

11.4
14.9
28.3
19.8
31.2
41.3
19.4
43.8
30.3
25.0
21.1
14.3

$0,542
.469
.381
(3)
.472
.459
.493
.346
.460
.407
.827
.636

10.4
19.9
28.3
(3)
37.2
36.6
14.4
33.1
14.4
23.3
20.2
10.6

Median
percent
of increase
for oc­
cupa­
tions
other
than
stenog­
raphers
and
general
office
clerks,
1941-43
15
19
25
24
7
42
26
28
16
24
25
14

1 Exclusive of premium payments for overtime or night work.
2 Excludes allowances for board and room. These additional perquisites are commonly furnished in hos­
pitals in addition to wages.
3 Data not available.
<Excludes allowances for meals.

The wage increases, it will be noted, were not confined to a single
industry but extended to all of the industries included in the study.
Meter readers, selected as being typical of public-utilities systems,
received increases averaging between 10 and 30 percent (the median
increase was 17 percent). Sales clerks in department stores and in
limited-price variety stores were granted wage adjustments averaging
approximately 21 and 25 percent, respectively. Bank tellers received
somewhat smaller increases on the whole, the average being about 10
percent. In this occupation the limited increase is due in large measure
to the fact that women, who have been replacing male tellers in
increasing numbers in recent months, have not been employed long
enough to receive the automatic wage adjustments which are com­
monly granted in banking houses after specified periods of service.
Data for the two general clerical occupations for which wage infor­
mation was reported—stenographers and general office clerks—also
give evidence of substantial wage increases. The median increases in
salary for these two groups were approximately 23 and 20 percent,
respectively. Increases for clerks in the hotel industry averaged 28
percent, while general-duty nurses in hospitals received sufficient
mcreases to bring their December 1943 wage rates approximately
38 percent above the average for January 1941.
Comparative Increases in M anufacturing Industries

Although, as is indicated above, salary adjustments granted to many
groups of white-collar and professional workers have been fairly sub­
stantial, the available evidence indicates that these increases have not



16
kept pace with the wage adjustments extended to the Nation’s factory
workers.
Data regularly collected by the Bureau’s Division of Employment
Statistics indicate the variations in wage increases for manufacturing
and nonmanufacturing employees. Average hourly earnings of factory
workers have increased by about 47 percent since January 1941, and
average weekly earnings have increased almost 70 percent. These
data mclude overtime pay and other premium payments. Similar
data for the nonmanufacturing industries in which large proportions
of white-collar workers are employed indicate increases in average
hourly earnings of only 20 to 30 percent for most of the industries
for which data are available, and in weekly earnings of 35 percent
or less.
Wage and income data compiled by the U. S. Bureau of Foreign
and Domestic Commerce also indicate a contrast in the movement of
average weekly earnings for these two major groups of workers for
the period 1939-43 (table 9). By the end of 1943 mcreases in those
private nonmanufacturing fields which employ large numbers of whitecollar workers ranged from 7 to 30 percent above 1939 levels. Other
branches of nonmanufacturing in which much smaller proportions of
white-collar workers are employed showed considerably higher per­
centage increases in weekly earnings. Factory workers during the
same period enjoyed increased earnings of almost 75 percent.
T a b l e 9.— Average W eekly W age and Salary Incom e, in Private Nonagricultural
Em ploym ents, 1 9 3 9 -4 3

Branch of employment

All establishments excluding agriculture, Government,
and the armed forces....................—............................
Manufacturing...............................................................
Private nonmanufacturing—
Including mining, construction, and transportation.
Excluding mining, construction, and transporta­
tion.......................................................................
Service...............................................................
Wholesale trade.................................................
Power and gas...................................................
Retail trade........................................................
Insurance...........................................................
Banking.............................................................
Communications...............................................
Security, brokerage, and real estate..................
Other.................................................................

1

Estimated
average
numbers
of employ­
ees in 1943
(thousands)

Average weekly wage and salary
income
1939

1943

Percent of
increase

38,554

$24.81

$39.17

17,265

26.06

45.44

74

21,289

24.40

34.08

40

16,092
4,984
1,625
344
5,491
561
404
491
539
1,653

22.85
17.92
32.50
33.96
20.31
32.71
35.90
30.06
24.69
24.87

30.23
25.83
46.13
43.56
26.10
39.21
38.50
34.65
30.65
32.29

32
44
42
28
29
20
7
15
24
30

58

i Derived from data supplied by the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce.

COMPARISON OF INCREASES IN IDENTICAL MANUFACTURING ESTABLISHMENTS

Further light is shed on comparative increases for factory and
salaried employees by the Bureau’s experimental study of applica­
tions filed with the National War Labor Board by employers seeking
approval of wage increases. These applications offered an unusual
opportunity for examining the relationship between salary adjust­
ments affecting white-collar workers and wage revisions of factory
employees in identical manufacturing establishments. Although the
individuals included in the category of salaried workers apparently



17
covered some nonclerical workers, such as superintendents and truck
drivers, most of the persons included were office employees.
Some 20,000 applications for wage increases were filed with the
Board during the 4 months from October 1942 to January 1943 (the
period during which such applications included the data essential to
this study). After elimination of all applications which for one reason
or another were not usable for the special purpose of this survey, only
1,600 remained; these included representation for each of the major
geographical areas of the country.
Table 10 shows the number of establishments studied for each of
the Board’s administrative regions. The establishments included
are not necessarily representative of all applicants before the Board;
but, for the purpose of the present inquiry, this was not necessary
since the comparison is between white-collar and factory workers in
identical manufacturing establishments. The table indicates that in
each of the 11 regions for which data are shown, white-collar workers
suffered a disadvantage in wage adjustments, by amounts ranging
from 1 cent per hour in the Atlanta region to almost 6 cents in the
Mountain area and in Michigan. For the country as a whole the
median difference, based on the workers covered, was about 3 cents
an hour. The median increase in average straight-time hourly
earnings for factory workers, based on plant averages, was about 13
cents while the median increase for office workers in the same group
of plants was about 10 cents. Stated another way, in the period
between January 1941 and January 1943, the 1,600 manufacturing
plants covered granted factory workers wage increases averaging 3
cents an hour more than those they granted to salaried workers.
T able

10.— Increases

in Straight-Tim e Average H ou rly Earnings 1 o f Salaried and
Plant W orkers in Identical Factories, January 1941-J an u a ry 1943

War Labor Board administrative
regions

Excess
Number of workers em­ of plant
ployed,winter 1942-43 over
(in thousands)
salaried
work­
ers' in­
crease
(in
Sala­ cents
All
Plant
ried
per
hour)3

Number of plants in
which salaried work­
ers received increases
(in cents)—
Num­
ber of
plants
More
Less
studied Equal than
than
to those those of those of
of plant plant plant
workers workers workers

All regions______________________

704

611

93

3.1

1,600

172

780

648

I. Boston__________ ___________
II. New York........ _............ ...........
III. Philadelphia..............................
IV. Atlanta......................................
V. Cleveland.—
................................
VI. Chicago____ _______ ________
VII. Kansas City.............................
VIII. Dallas.....................................
IX. Denver_____________________
X $ San Francisco3............................
XI. Detroit............... .......................

73
101
106
38
98
130
44
34
3
33
44

66
85
94
35
87
114
36
28
2
26
38

7
16
12
3
11
16
8
6
1
7
6

2.3
4.0
3.4
1.0
3.0
2.6
3.9
4.2
5.5
4.0
5.7

133
222
247
79
197
284
101
105
13
140
79

12
23
22
12
26
31
13
16
1
13
3

63
114
127
24
100
151
46
39
6
69
41

58
85
98
43
71
102
42
50
6
58
35

1 Exclusive of premium payments for overtime and night work.
* Estimated median amount by which increases of (individual) salaried workers fell short of average
increase of wage workers in the same plant. If the median were computed on the basis of plant averages,
salaried workers would still be shown to sustain some disadvantage, but in a smaller amount.
* Includes Region XII, Seattle.




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