Forecasting Business Conditions

By Charles O. Hardy; Garfield V. Cox | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XX
INDEXES OF THE LABOR MARKET

Labor conditions show clearly the effect of fluctuations in business activity. Wages, the volume of employment, the attitude of workers toward their jobs, the attitude of employers toward their employees, the strength of trade unionism, the frequency of strikes, and the proportion of successes among them, the political strength of the "labor movement"--all these show definite correlations with the swings of the business cycle.

Comparatively little use has been made by forecasters of the records of these conditions. Some of them it is impossible to measure definitely. There is always a larger margin of error in judgments concerning such indefinite things as the cooperativeness of labor than there is concerning things which can be described in figures. Moreover, indexes of labor conditions are of comparative recent origin, and it is always hazardous to base predictions on the continuance of phenomena which have been observed for only a short time. For the present, therefore, interest in the so-called barometers of labor conditions is in the light they throw on the consequences of business changes rather than in their use in forecasting. As our body of data grows it is not unlikely that we shall be able to make much

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