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On the basis of quarterly reports covering the months of January, February, March, July, August and September, in each year, the Bureau has ascertained that the average earnings of organ. ized workmen for every day of employment were $2.56 in 1897 and $2.92 in 1905. This is equivalent to an increase of 14 per cent. in eight years. The increase is not explained by an increase in the representation of the workmen in New York City, where wages rule higher than elsewhere in the state, since the proportion of metropolitan unionists has been declining rather than increasing (page chxxv). It does not appear to be due to a larger representation of the skilled trades; as a matter of fact, the organization of unions has been spreading from the skilled to the unskilled trades. The best paid workmen are those in the building and the printing trades; but the proportion of mechanics and artizans in the building trades' unions has somewhat declined (being 24 per cent. of all unionists in 1905, and 25.4 per cent. in 1897), as has that of the typographical trades (6.7 per cent. in 1905, as compared with 8 per cent. in 1897). The increase has therefore been in the face of tendencies that ordinarily would bring about a decrease in the average wage. This will appear more clearly after an examination of the table on the opposite page, which shows the average wages per diem in 51 of the leading trades.

Seven of the 51 trades were not represented in 1897 and cannot be used for comparison with 1905. Nor should the figures for actors be included, as it must be entirely clear that the men earning $1.85 in 1897 are a different class from those earning $5-$7 in subsequent years. The decline in the earnings of letter carriers is also purely factitious, and is explained by the entrance of organizations in the smaller cities where salaries are miuch smaller than in New York City, which was almost the only city organized in 1897. For the remaining 42 trades the average increase in 1897-1905 is 15 per cent., or virtually the same ratio as that already arrived at on the basis of general averages. This may therefore be regarded as a fair statement of the trend of daily wages in organized occupations. The increase in the unorganized trades is probably somewhat less.

But the man who works for a daily wage gains less benefit in prosperous times from increases in the rate of wages than from more regular employment. A previous chapter has already set forth the astonishing improvement in the stability of employment in recent years. It appeared that in 1897 the average member of a trade union worked only 227 days in the year

*As this renort is passing through the nress, the United States Bureau of Labor publishes a report on waves and hours of labor, 1990 to 1905, which sets the increase in average weekly earnings, 1897 to 1905, at 14.9 per cent (Builletin No. 65, July, 1906, p. 18).

TABLE 20.-AVERAGE EARNINGS FOR Eack DAY OF Work IN THIRD QUARTER 1897 AND 1902-1905: (MEN ONLY).

Number

reporting OCCUPATION. 1897. 1902 1903 1904 1905

1905 Actors.

$1 85 86 73 $5 78 $6 55 $6 53 2,631 Bakers and confectioners.

2 01 2 29 2 30 2 40 2 44 3,939 Barbers...

1 71 1 81 1 83 1 94 1 93 2,295 Bartenders.

1 87 1 97 2 11 2 16 2 22 5,833 Bookbinders (all branches)

2 92 3 06 3 00 3 02 3 07 2,334 Boot and shoe workers..

1 94 1 97 2 12 2 16 2 19 2,184 Brewery workmen.

2 45 2 69 2 61 2 66

2 68

6,188 Bricklayers and masons.

3 81 4 65 4 55 4 73 5 11 11,755 Building material drivers.

2 43 4,275 Butchers....

2 19 2 27 2 39 2 36 2 45 1,992 Cabmen and coach drivers.

1 88 1 90 1 86 2 01 1 87 1,832 Carpenters and joiners.

3 03 3 10 3 27 3 30 3 45 22,335 Cigar makers....

1 56 1 89 1 92 1 SO 2 01 7,853 Clerks and salesmen.

2 19 2 04 2 10 2 19 2 24 1,617 Cloak makers. 2 78 2 32 3 06 2 59 1 92

2,200 Clothing cutters.

3 17 3 08 3 10

3 42

3 45 3,071 Coat makers..

1 86 2 32 2 40 2 44 2 14 3,461 Compositors...

3 40 3 39 3 43 3 53

3 52 9,140 Conductors, railway.

2 90 3 13 3 18 3 23 3 37 2,280 Electrical apparatus makers.

2 24 2 52 2 76 2 68 1,822 Electrical workers(d). 2 61 2 78 c3 34 2 89 2 92

4,524 Engineers, locomotive..

3 64 3 83 3 73 3 77 3 94 3,932 Excavatorg..

1 57 1 49 1 87 16,000 Firemen, locomotive.

2 16 2 29 2 43 2 53 2 53 4,071 Hod carriers

2 38 2 82 2 75 2 75 2 87 14,816 Houses niths and bridgemen.

2 48

3 71 4 32 4 36 4 38 3,404 Iron molders....

2 56 3 06 3 00 2 98 3 04 6,826 Letter carriers.

2 75
2 54

2 49 2 53 2 57 3,916 Lithographers.

3 41 3 76 3 77 4 09 3 87 2,036 Longshoremen.

3 00 2 93 3 01 3 06 2 97 3,073 Machinists....

2 24 2 70 2 69 2 79 2 86 7,643 Marine engineers.

2 50 3 31 2 99 3 24 3 66 2,986 Masters and pilots.

3 53 3 78 2,259 Musicians....

2 79 2 90 2 65 2 84 2 87 876 Painters and decorators.

3 25 3 22 3 34 3 37 3 47 13,636 Paper and pulp makers.

1 93 1 83 1 87 1 88 2,429 Piano and organ workers.

1 70 2 58 2 69 2 61 2 54 2,516 Plasterers......

3 32 4 81 5 29 5 31 5 46 4,843 Plumbers and gas fitters.

3 49
3 67
3 72 3 79 4 34

6,447 Post office clerks. 2 32 2 61 2 50 2 47 2 08

2,197 Press feeders

2 39 1 94 2 24 2 43 2 25 3,760 Pressmen...

3 43 3 07 3 21 3 13 3 40 2,642 Roofers and sheet-metal workers.

3 15 3 35 3 24 3 56 3 63 3,625 Seamen. 1 88 abl 35 11 18 1 70 1 67

4,118 Stationary engineers.

3 00 2 85 2 92 3 27 3 21 7,682 Stationary firemen

2 34 2 13 2 17

2 07 2 31

4,150 Stone cutters (f). 3 74 3 85 4 11 4 23 4 35

3,250 Tailors..

2 09 2 19 2 38 2 46 2 66 2,721 Team drivers.

1 66 2 08 2 16

2 22 7,035 Telegraphers(e).

1 66 1 80 1 85 2 13

2,542 Trainmen.

1 96 2 12 2 24 2 26 2 29 6,359

aCorrected average, the figures in the Annual Report of the Bureau for the year in quest on being based on the assumption of 6 days' work per week instead of 7 as in later reports.

bExclusive of board which is included in figures for later years.

cThis high average is due to the absence of any returns for helpers (which appear in other years) in the report of a large union of 2,200 members in New York City.

dIncludes cable splicers and linemen.
eIncludes both railway and commercial telegraphers.
fIncludes bluestone cutters.

with its 308 working days. But in 1905, as nearly as could be estimated, the average number of days of employment was 272,—or an increase of 20 per cent, in the amount of employment enjoyed by workingmen. In this gain the organized trades are not much more fortunate than the unorganized trades, because on the whole, all industries rise or fall together. When the well organized masons and printers are busy, the unorganized employees of sugar refineries, tanneries and other important industries are also working nearly full time. The effects of the great industrial activity in the present year may be seen in the following table of estimates of yearly income of organized wage earners :

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for year.

YEAR.

1 1897..... 1898. 1899. 1900, 1901. 1902 1903. 1904. 1905..

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TABLE 21.

Average

number
Computed Average of days' Average INCREASE OVER 1897
average

earnings work in yearly
per day.* year.f earnings. I col.

col.
3
4

5
6
3

6
$650 $2 56
227 $581

100

100
678
2 66
232
617
105

102
747
2.73
258
704
115

114
716 2.70

246
664
110

108
756 2.75

260
715
116

115
765
2 75
264
726
118

116
753
2 72
256
696
116

113
745 2 76

258
712
115

115
815
2 92
272
794
125

139

Average
quarterly
earnings.*

2
$162 50
169 49
186 63
179.11
189.05
191 33
188 28
186 20
203 77

In the third column are the average earnings of the male members of trade unions in this state as calculated on the basis of the average quarterly earnings actually reported. they were 18 per cent. larger than in 1897, and in 1905 25 per cent. greater. But these figures assume that conditions are the same in the six months not embraced in the reports as for the six months actually covered in the figures actually reported for the other six months, which is not usually true. More accurate results are obtained by using the average daily wage in connection with the average number of days of employment per annum, which, as shown in Chapter I, can be estimated more closely. Column 6 contains the results of this calculation, and the last column the ratio of increase from year to year over the average of 1897, which is taken as 100. In 1898 the average is represented by 102, or 2 per cent, increase over 1897 and so on. In 1905, owing to the combined influence of a high daily wage and extended employment, the average yearly earnings were 39 per cent. greater than in 1897. How does this increase compare with the increase in the cost of living?

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*First and third quarters.
Partly estimated; see table 7, page cxxxii, ante.
1 Columns 4 and 5.

CosT OF LIVING. It is well known that the cost of living has increased in recent years and the only matter in doubt is the extent of the increase. Not all articles of consumption have increased in price in the same ratio, and the increased cost of living therefore varies from family to family according to the commodities most largely consumed. Moreover, retail prices of identical articles vary from one locality to another, thus rendering difficult a comparison for families that all use about the same variety and grade of commodities.

The United States Bureau of Labor through a comprehensive investigation of the expenditures of typical workingmen's families has supplied data which yield a sufficiently accurate measure of the cost of living of a normal family in 1901. It found that of 2,567 families with an average annual income of $827.19 the average expenditure was $768.54 of which $326.90 was for food; in the North Atlantic states the figures were all somewhat higher,-income $834.83; total expenditures $778.04, for food $338.10. By ascertaining the retail prices of the articles of food consumed by the typical family, the Bureau has supplied evidence as to the cost of sustenance throughout the period 18901905. According to its statistics the cost of the food used in the normal family in the North Atlantic states was $312.91 in 1897 as compared with $362 in 1905, thus revealing an increase of 15.7 per cent. in the eight years.

But while food is the most important item in the household budget, it is not the only item. In the poorer families the cost of food comprises about one-half of the annual expenditure, while in the more comfortably situated families it amounts to little more than one-third of the total expenses. * In the average family, the expenditure for food constitutes about 43

*Eighteenth annual report of the United States Commissioner of Labor, 1903, p. 101, where the following figures are given: PER CENT. OF EXPENDITURE FOR FOOD IN 11,156 NORMAL FAMILIES.

Per cent.

of all Classified income.

expenditures, $1,200 or over....

36.45 1,100 or under $1,200.

37.68 1,000 or under 1,100.

38.79 900 or under 1.000.

39.90 800 or under 900.

41.37 700 or under 800.

41.44 600 or under 700.

43.48 500 or under 600.

46.16 400 or under 500.

46.88 300 or under 400.

48.09 200 or under 300

47.33 Under $200...

50.85 Total..

43.13

per cent. of all expenditures, while rent absorbs 18 per cent., clothing 13 per cent., fuel and light 6 per cent., leaving 20 per cent for sundries. What has been the increase in rent and in the price of clothing, fuel, light, etc., in the period under consideration? On this point, precise information is wanting, as the only statistics available are those of wholesale prices, which are not comparable with retail prices. The Federal Bureau of Labor's comparison of wholesale and retail prices of food, confirm the general opinion that retail prices do not fluctuate so widely as wholesale prices; assuming, for example, that the price level for the decade 1890-99 was 100, the wholesale price of selected articles of food fell to 84 in 1896 while retail prices did not decline below 95. In 1897 again, wholesale prices were under 88 and retail prices were 96, and so on. It is clear that consumers did not obtain the full advantage of the low prices that prevailed in the wholesale markets in the year 1895-98.

But while retail prices did not fall as rapidly as wholesale prices in the lean years following the industrial depression of 1893-97, they have since advanced with equal rapidity. When the wholesale price level reached its highest point, in 1902 (111.3), retail prices were virtually the same (110.09). Wholesale prices thereafter declined, but retail prices continued to advance and have since been higher relative to their average for the decade) than have wholesale prices.

To obtain some idea of the change in the price of other articles of consumption than food, the statistics of wholesale prices are nevertheless of value. They show, for example, that while the price of 53 articles of food increased 23.9 per cent. between 1897 and 1905, the prices of all articles considered advanced 29.2 per cent. These are the conclusions of the United States Bureau of Labor (Bulletin, March, 1906), but another series of index numbers prepared by “ Dun's Review” shows the advance to be 35.7 per cent. The discrepancy is probably due to different methods of quoting prices of food staples, as the fluctuations of other prices in the two series seem to coincide. If, as seems probable, the Bureau of Labor attaches insufficient weight to prices of wheat, corn, potatoes and other articles most largely consumed, that would explain why its percentage of increase falls below that of Dun's index number.*

From the various considerations mentioned above, seems clear that the cost of living in the last eight years has increased

1

1

*As this report passes thro the press the American Statistical Association publishes (June, 1906) an analytical comparison of the two index numbers. A new index number constructed according to the methods of Sauerbeck and other European statisticians comes much nearer to Dun's than to the Bureau of Labor's results (i.e., an increase of 36.6 per cent, in the period 18971905).

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