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Occupational wages in textile manufacturing, June 1985.

Occupational wages in textile manufacturing, June 1985

The top wage earners in the Nation's textile mills were loom fixers and maintenance electricians, according to a June 1985 occupational wage survey. The survey, conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, covered 210,735 production and related workers--nearly 200,000 in cotton and man-made fiber mills and 11,000 in wool yarn and broadwoven fabric mills. Wage data--averages and earnings distributions--were developed separately for more than three dozen occupational classifications in each industry, as well as for nonsupervisory production and related workers as a group. Pay levels varied by location, union status, type of mill, and type of fiber processed. (See table 1.)

In cotton and manmade fiber mills, pay averages in the occupations studied ranged from $8.46 an hour for electricians and $8.27 for loom fixers to $5.12 for janitors.1 Yarn winders and ring-frame spinners, numerically the largest occupations, averaged $5.89 and $5.92 an hour, respectively. Weavers operating shuttleless looms averaged $7.50 an hour, compared with $7.32 for weavers on conventional looms. (See table 2.)

Earnings data for the occupations studied separately in wool textile mills are presented for three major categories-- woolen, worsted, and the combination of woolen and worsted occupations. Among the woolen occupations, average hourly earnings were highest for loom fixers ($7.96) and lowest for yarn winders ($5.81); the worsted jobs registered averages from $8.53 for loom fixers to $5.54 for cloth menders. For the combination jobs, the range was from more than $8 an hour for shuttleless loom fixers, carpenters, electricians, and maintenance machinists to $5.55 for janitors.

Textile worker pay and employment moved in opposite directions between August 1980, when a similar survey was conducted, and June 1985.(2) Pay levels were up 25 percent in cotton and manmade fiber mills and 30 percent in woolen mills. During this period, the wage and salary component of the Bureau's Employment Cost Index for all nondurable manufacturing rose 29 percent.

Employment, however, declined sharply over the period--down 21 percent in the cotton-manmade fiber sector and 23 percent in woolen mills. Among the regions studied separately, employment losses in cotton-manmade fiber mills reached 40 percent in the Southwest, 21 percent in the Middle Atlantic and Southeast, and 11 percent in New England. In woolen mills, employment dropped 23 percent in New England and 12 percent in the Southeast. At the time of the June 1985 survey, textile employment was heavily concentrated in the Southeast (nearly 90 percent of the total), was located largely in nonmetropolitan areas, and was comprised of mostly nonunion workers.

The 1985 survey also reported on the incidence of employee benefits. Virtually all production workers were in mills providing paid holidays and vacations. In cotton-manmade fiber mills, workers typically received between 6 and 8 holidays annually, and between 1 and 3 weeks of vacation pay, depending on their length of service. Provisions in the woolen mills were slightly more liberal--6 to 10 paid holidays and between 1 and 4 weeks of vacation pay were typical. In both textile sectors, retirement pension plans and various insurance plans--including life, hospitalization, surgical, basic medical, major medical, and accidental death and dismemberment coverage--also were available to a majority of the workers.

For each industry, separate reports for selected States and areas of industry concentration are available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics or any of its regional offices. A comprehensive report, Industry Wage Survey: Textiles, June 1985, Bulletin 2265 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1986), may be purchased from the Superintendent of Documents, Washington, DC 20402, or from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Publications Sales Center, P.O. Box 2145, Chicago, IL 60690.

1 Wage data contained in this article are straight-time hourly earnings which exclude premium pay for overtime and for work on weekends, holidays, and late shifts. Cost-of-living pay increases (but not bonuses) were included as part of the workers' regular pay. Excluded were performance bonuses and lump-sum payments of the type negotiated in the auto and aerospace industries, as well as profit-sharing payments, attendance bonuses, Christmas or yearend bonuses, and other nonproduction bonuses. For survey purposes, Virginia is included in the Southeast region.

2 For a report on the 1980 survey, see Industry Wage Survey: Textile Mills and Textile Dyeing and Finishing Plants, August 1980, Bulletin 2122 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1982).

Table: 1. Number and average hourly earnings of production workers in yarn and broadwoven textile mills by selected characteristics, United States and Southeast region, June 1985

Table: 2. Average straight-time hourly earnings of workers in selected occupations, by type of mill, yarn and broadwoven textile mills, United States and Southeast region, June 1985
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Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Feb 1, 1987
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