Labor Markets, Unions, and Government Policies

By Everett Johnson Burtt Jr. | Go to book overview
Save to active project


A GENERAL wage level is a statistical fiction that is useful for certain purposes but misleading for others. The "real" world of labor consists of many wages--wage rates, fringe benefits, and similar rights and duties. "Wages" differ according to occupation, geographical area, industry, firm, sex, and color. To bring order to the sheer task of describing the maze of wages, it is helpful to use the concept of a wage structure, or the relationship of one wage to another in any given category of analysis. In this chapter we shall review three types of wage structures--occupational, industrial, and geographical--and in each case we shall be concerned with the extent of the differential, historical changes in the differential, and the reasons for the changes.

Occupational Wage Structure

Wage Differentials

Because there are thousands of different occupations, the first step in a systematic description of occupational wage structures is to determine what key occupations should be selected for comparison. The wages of workers with skills in the construction trades can be compared with those of unskilled laborers only if the groups of workers form well-recognized and standardized separate categories. In many manufacturing industries where unskilled labor is less important, however, no common occupation may be apparent. One solution to this problem is the approach employed by Harry Ober of the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, which uses the definitions of "skilled," "semiskilled," and "unskilled" shown on p. 341.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Labor Markets, Unions, and Government Policies


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 458

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?