Labor Mobility in Six Cities

Labor Mobility in Six Cities

Labor Mobility in Six Cities

Labor Mobility in Six Cities

Excerpt

The project whose principal findings and data are summarized in this volume constitutes a notable experiment in carrying out a very large undertaking through the cooperation of several independent research organizations. That the many problems inevitably encountered in an enterprise of this magnitude and complexity were overcome successfully is due principally to the extraordinarily skillful and tactful leadership given to the project by Gladys L. Palmer, to whom the Committee on Labor Market Research and the Social Science Research Council accord their exceptionally great indebtedness.

Discussion of a major study of labor mobility was initiated by the Committee on Labor Market Research seven years ago, in the hope that it would be feasible to undertake a series of repetitive observations and continuing analyses over a five-year period. The Committee's reasons for holding that existing knowledge of the patterns and factors affecting labor mobility was insufficient for either peacetime or wartime purposes are set forth in the introductory chapter of the report. When tentative plans for the five-year study were completed it was found that the field observations required would be too costly to fit the resources of any of the governmental or private organizations interested in manpower and labor problems. The central focus of the Committee's plans was, however, direly relevant to the interests of the Department of Air Force in stimulating research dealing with manpower aspects of military production problems, and early in 1950 it became possible to work out arrangements whereby funds were provided by that Department for a revised study based upon a single field survey.

The funds thus provided were allocated to the U. S. Bureau of the Census, which in January and February 1951 collected ten-year work history information from workers in sample households in each of six cities-Chicago, Los Angeles, New Haven, Philadelphia, St. Paul, and San Francisco. The Social Science Research Council in turn was assigned funds by the Bureau to cover the principal costs of analyzing . . .

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