Manufacturing Employment and Hours per Worker: 1929-31

Lee E. Ohanian
UCLA and Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
July 29, 2009

"By late 1931, real manufacturing average hourly earnings had increased more than 10 percent as a consequence of the Hoover program and deflation. By September 1931, manufacturing hours worked had declined more than 40 percent, and the average workweek in manufacturing had declined by about 20 percent.

To evaluate the quantitative impact of Hoover's program, I calculate the equilibrium of a model economy with fi rms paying the observed real wage in the industrial sector and following the observed workweek. I fi nd that Hoover's program substantially depressed the economy, reducing aggregate output and hours worked by about 20 percent. But why would firms be willing to follow the Hoover program? Because in return for paying high wages, Hoover offered protection from unions at a time when fi rms deeply feared unionization and when court decisions and unionization policy - including policies advanced by, and signed into law by Hoover - substantially increased the likelihood of organization and raised union bargaining power.
...
Figure 2 decomposes manufacturing hours into changes in employment and changes in the length of the workweek, as both decline significantly. Employment declines by about 30 percent over this interval and the workweek declines by about 20 percent."

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Chart or Graph

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Primary Document

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NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS ACT

cited NLRA or the Act; 29 U.S.C. §§ 151-169

[Title 29, Chapter 7, Subchapter II, United States Code]


FINDINGS AND POLICIES

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From the Preface:

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We've built Intellectual Takeout to provide you with quick, easy access to information. In time, we hope to become your one-stop-shop for the ideas of freedom. If your professor allows you to bring your laptop to class (if not, you can use an iPhone), we recommend keeping a tab open to Intellectual Takeout. As we continue to generate new content on the site, you will be able to fact check the...
When it comes to campus life injustices, student fees rank high on any list. On most campuses across the country a mandatory student fee is assessed to each student at the beginning of the year. A portion of this fee, which may be several hundred dollars, will go toward funding various political, religious, and interest groups.  A college requiring you to support groups espousing ideas which...
If you're not happy with the direction of the country and you want to take back your future, at some point you will have to do something. It's not enough to just know that we're going in the wrong direction. You actually have to step out and get involved. Most college campuses have conservative and libertarian student groups. Find one of them to join. Below is a list of some of the larger non-...
Now that you're at college and the initial excitement has worn off, maybe you're thinking that the course selection is a bit biased and you'd like some options. So how do you (the consumer) get the college (the business) to change up its offerings? It certainly won't be easy. Nevertheless it's something that should be done--particularly since you're footing the bill. A good, education in a free...
Whatever activism you choose to do on campus, you need to get your story out. A popular tactic used by the Left is to isolate and intimidate freedom-loving students. You're not alone and there are a lot of people in your city, state, and country that can probably support your efforts. They just need to know what is happening. Whenever you can, record in-class bias, discrimination against...
The reality is that most students (and people for that matter) won't speak out. It's called human nature and it was recognized in the Declaration of Independence: "...all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed." While you might feel alone when debating a teacher,...
In the land of the free and the home of the brave, speech codes are a particularly odious example of politically correct repression on many a college campus. In some ways, college campuses are the least free places for thinking and speech in America. Your best friend for fighting your school's repressive speech codes is the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Here's a short clip...
Running for office isn't easy, even in college. Not everyone is cut out for it, either. For those of you who are, this completely non-partisan section is for you. If you are inclined to pursue student government, we're not going to spend time on telling you how to get elected. A good place to go for ideas and training is CampusReform.org. Rather, we want to help you in office, as a believer in...

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