The National Recovery Administration: An Analysis and Appraisal

By Leverett S. Lyon; Paul T. Homan et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXXVII
THE NRA AND EMPLOYEE INCOME

The discussion of the effect of the NRA on employee income falls naturally into two parts, the one concerned with aggregate payrolls and the other with individual earnings.


EFFECT OF THE NRA ON AGGREGATE PAYROLLS

The NRA has affected the total wage and salary payments of industry in two ways: (1) by raising earnings per man hour; (2) by increasing or decreasing the total number of man hours worked. Let us consider these separately.

We have already presented an index of the average hourly earnings of all employees in the United States (see the chart on page 788). This shows a level shortly after the inauguration of the codes or the President's Agreement of roughly 10 per cent above the pre-NRA lows. This gain may be safely credited to NRA influence. How much of the advance occurring subsequent to 1933 may be attributed to this cause it is impossible to say. The further we recede from the transition period in the summer of 1933 the more the special effects of the NRA are submerged in the effects of other factors in the situation. It seems likely that average hourly earnings would have turned upward in 1934. without the codes.1

While changes in hourly earnings attributable to the

____________________
1
In the recovery from the previous major depression ( 1921) average hourly earnings in manufacturing (the only series available) did not begin to rise until some time after the turn in production, but within a year thereafter they were apparently advancing steadily. See Wages in the United States, 1914-1930, National Industrial Conference Board, p. 24.

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