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Bar shearing.-In standard sheet mills sheets are made from sheet bars having a thickness less than 2 inches and a width of from 6 to 12 inches. The bars are sheared from long thin sections, the length of the bar corresponding to the width of the sheet.
In cutting the bars into the desired lengths for the hot mills the bars are taken to the bar shears on rolls and fed into the bar shears, three, four, or five at one time.
The working crew consists of the foreman, bar unloaders, shearmen, pushers, catchers, crane operators, and cranemen.
The data in Table 3 show that for 1929 the average output of sheet bars per man-hour of labor was 2.200 net tons.
This compares with 2.155 net tons for 1928, 2.123 net tons for 1927, 1.956 net tons for 1926, and 1.893 net tons for 1925. Expressed in another way, this means that for 1929 the labor time required to cut a net ton of bars was 0.455 man-hour, as against 0.464 man-hour for 1928, 0.471 man-hour for 1927, 0.511 man-hour for 1926, and 0.528 man-hour for 1925.
While some improvements were made in bar-shearing equipment during the period, the increase of 16 per cent in average labor productivity was due largely to better management.
Hot rolling.-The hot rolling of sheets is still done largely by hand, and this has prevented the increase in productivity so characteristic of many industries. The development of the continuous process in 1923 made possible a reduction of the ingots to sheets approximately 0.06 inch thick without the metal being manipulated by hand. Since the use of this method is confined to a few plants only, figures for companies using this process are not included in the present study.
The following figures refer to operations in standard sheet mills for the years 1925 to 1929. Statistics for earlier years were not available.
The figures in Table 3 show that for the year 1929 the average output per man-hour of labor time was 0.077 net ton, as against 0.078 net ton for 1928, 0.076 net ton for 1927, 0.076 net ton for 1926, and 0.072 net ton for 1925. Expressed differently, this means that for the year 1929 the time required to produce 1 net ton of output was 12.961 man-hours. This compares with 12.805 man-hours for 1928, 13.235 man-hours for 1927, 13.138 man-hours for 1926 and 13.817 man-hours for 1925. The gain in output per man-hour from 1925 to 1929 was about 10 per cent.
The output for 1929 and 1928 was of an average of 23 gauge, while the output for 1927, 1926, and 1925 was of an average of 24 gauge. The data available were such as to make impossible the separation of data to show production by kind and grade of sheet. The figures for each plant were compiled to show the average gauge for the entire year. The average output for individual plants was combined to show the average gauge for all plants.
The labor time charged against the hot-rolling process includes the total hours of all plant labor, except that of repair and maintenance labor. The labor time of clerks, accountants, and salesmen connected with the general office is not included.
The total hours of plant labor include the labor time of the following groups: (1) Hot-mill rolling-rollers, roller helpers, heaters, heater helpers, roughers, catchers, pair heaters, matchers, second roughers, shearmen, leaders, and spell hands (this group is usually paid on a tonnage basis); (2) superintendents, assistant superintendents, foremen, checkers, and weighers; (3) engineers and motor operators; (4) ashmen, furnacemen, firemen, and general labor; (5) scrap, labor; (6) mechanical labor; (7) electrical labor; (8) Cranemen and crane followers; (9) other miscellaneous labor.
Cold rolling.-In order to smooth out the sheets after they come from the hot mills, they are cold-rolled. In the case of 1-pass boxannealed sheets this is done principally for the purpose of removing the kinks and other uneven places, preparatory to annealing. This process also permits the sheets to be packed more closely in the annealing box. To reduce stiffness and give the sheet a better surface finish, this kind of sheet is again cold-rolled.
Sheets receive one or more "passes,” depending on the kind or grade of sheet desired. The total output includes the tonnage for all “passes," on the unit basis of one "pass” or rolling.
Labor hours include all plant labor engaged on the process, except repair and maintenance labor. The labor time of all employees in the general office has not been included.
The average output per man-hour for those plants covered in the report shows a gain of 12 per cent in average productivity, from 1925 to 1929.
The output per man-hour for 1929 was 1.480 net tons, while for 1928 it was 1.566 net tons; for 1927, 1.397 net tons; for 1926, 1.199 net tons; and for 1925, 1.159 net tons. The production of 1 net ton required 0.675 man-hour in 1929, 0.639 man-hour in 1928, 0.716 man-hour in 1927, 0.834 man-hour in 1926, and 0.863 man-hour in 1925.
Annealing.--The sheets are annealed to remove the strains incident to hot rolling and to permit the grain structure to readjust itself. This is done in suitable furnaces, where the sheets are subjected to different degrees of temperature in different parts of the furnace.
The sheets are given one or more annealings, depending on the grade of sheet desired. The total output of the plants in Table 2 is reported on a unit basis of one annealing.
The period from 1925 to 1929 was characterized by an increasing demand for loose-rolled, full-finished sheets of deep-drawing quality, which require more labor time per unit of product in the annealing process.
The averages of labor productivity in Table 3 show that for 1929 the average output per man-hour was 1.346 net tons, which compares with 1.335 net tons for 1928, 1.336 net tons for 1927, 1.394 net tons for 1926, and 1.415 net tons for 1925. Expressed in labor time per unit of output, for 1929 it required 0.743 man-hour to anneal 1 net ton. This compares with 0.749 man-hour for 1928, 0.748 man-hour for 1927,0.718 man-hour for 1926, and 0.707 man-hour for 1925.
The labor time charged against the output included that of foremen, firemen, sandmen, ashmen, checkers, floormen, crane operators, and crane followers, but not that of maintenance and repair men in the plant, or of clerks, accountants, salesmen and other labor connected with the general office.
Despite the increase in efficiency during the period, the average labor output per man-hour shows a decrease of about 10 per cent. This was due to the extra labor time required to meet the increasing demand for full-finished sheets of special quality and grade.
Sheet pickling.–To remove the scale or oxide that results from the hot-mill operations, the sheets are given a bath in a dilute solution of sulphuric acid. This is done by an automatic pickling machine, which immerses the sheets in the bath. The sheets are then dipped in water and thoroughly cleaned.
The figures in Table 3 include the output for both loose-rolled and tight-rolled sheets. The former class includes furniture, auto-body, and special-quality sheets requiring a smooth finish. The total production is given on a unit basis of one pickling.
The labor time includes that of all plant labor, except repair and maintenance labor. None of the time of general office employees has been charged against the production.
The data in Table 3 show that for 1929 the output per man-hour was 0.857 net ton. This compares with 0.853 net ton for 1928, 0.659 net ton for 1927, 0.681 net ton for 1926, and 0.702 net ton for 1925. The labor time required to produce 1 net ton of output for 1929 was 1.167 man-hours, as against 1.173 man-hours for 1928, 1.516 man-hours for 1927, 1.469 man-hours for 1926, and 1.424 manhours for 1925.
EMPLOYMENT CONDITIONS AND UNEM
Cost of Filling Jobs by California State Employment Agencies THE expenditure of the California Division of State Free Employ
ment Agencies totaled $180,067.76 in the biennial period ending June 30, 1930. The number of jobs filled by these offices in the two Fears was 295,385, the average cost per job filled being 61 cents.!
The cost per job filled during the last five biennial periods beginning with 1920–21 and 1921–22 was, for the respective periods, 54 cents, 36 cents, 46 cents, 54 cents, and 61 cents.
According to the biennial report of the California Division of Labor Statistics and Law Enforcement for the fiscal years 1928-29 and 1929–30, the average cost to the workers per job received through a private employment office was $4.17. If the 295,385 jobs secured free of charge through State employment agencies had been obtained through private employment bureaus at the above average rate, the cost to the clients would have been $1,231,755. This sum may, therefore, be considered, the report states, as representing the savings to California workers as an outcome of the operation of the free employment agencies of the State.
Stabilization Measures in Hartford County, Conn. SURVEY recently completed by the Manufacturers’ Association
of Hartford County, Conn., and summarized in a press release of November 11, 1931, shows what measures have been taken by member firms to stabilize employment and lessen the harmful effects of unemployment. For 81 factories, both large and small, employing a total of 36,250 persons and thus regarded as a representative sample, it is stated an employment decrease of 27 per cent occurred between January, 1929, and the date of the survey. Had the firms in question not employed 8,871 more persons than the number actually needed for production needs on a full-time basis, the decrease would have amounted to 45 per cent. In order to keep on these extra workers, factories representing 93 per cent of the total workers resorted to some plan for spreading work. It is stated that unemployment has affected skilled labor less than either semiskilled or unskilled labor.
Devices for Creating Extra Work IN ORDER that work might be further stabilized resort has been had to increases in manufacturing for stock. While this has not been practicable for factories manufacturing goods subject to style changes, on direct order, etc., it is stated that only 6 firms reported reduced
California, Department of Industrial Relations. First biennial report, 1927-1930. Sacramento, 1931, P. 116. 91909°-32- -3
inventories and 23 produced inventories far in excess of their needs. Replacement of equipment has also taken place in a number of factories, and the use of workers on jobs other than their regular jobs has been reported. At the same time research activities have been maintained, only 2 firms reporting a curtailment of research work, while 29 had greater expenditures for this purpose. In all, one-half of the plants reported the development of new products.
Investigation of Home Conditions The summary under review indicates that attempts to alleviate and mitigate actual and probable distress due to unemployment are more far-reaching than was at first anticipated. Factories to the number of 64 and employing 90 per cent of the workers covered by the survey had developed some plan of assisting persons in the greatest need of work.
Minnesota Unemployment Research Project THROUGH the medium of the Employment Stabilization Re
search Institute of the University of Minnesota a series of studies of the various aspects of unemployment is being undertaken. In a foreword to a pamphlet describing the unemployment program of this institution it is stated that a university is well adapted to carrying through this kind of study, that the various research facilities of the University of Minnesota will be made use of in carrying the work forward, and that necessary funds supplementing the resources of the university will be made available from grants made by three foundations.
It is proposed to develop three projects, the first of which will be devoted to the economic aspects of unemployment, the second to individual diagnosis of cases and retraining, and the third to development of public employment agencies. Preliminary to undertaking these studies, the report states, such industrial surveys as were in process of being made by different members of the university staff were coordinated in 1930 into one project. Among these studies was one of employment indexes for the cities of St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Duluth. The indexes were completed in the summer of 1930.
Machinery for Carrying on Work A COMMITTEE designated as the Tri-City Employment Stabilization Committee has made use of the findings mentioned and it is this body that has been intrusted with the duty of coordinating the activities of the various State and local groups dealing with employment conditions and unemployment. It is this committee, also, that serves as a contacting agency between the research staff of the Employment Stabilization Research Institute and the business community.
The Employment Stabilization Research Institute carries on its research work as a university function. A separate administrative unit has been set up by the board of regents for the institute. The function of the institute is to conduct studies and experiments.
1 University of Minnesota. Employment Stabilization Research Institute. Bulletin, Vol. I, No. 1: The Minnesota Unemployment Research Project, by Russell A. Stevenson. Minneapolis, The University of Minnesota Press, November, 1931,