Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

Reimagining the Monthly Review, July 1915

Academic journal article Monthly Labor Review

Reimagining the Monthly Review, July 1915

Article excerpt

To help mark the Monthly Labor Review's centennial, the editors invited several producers and users of BLS data to take a look back at the last 100 years. This article looks back at the first issue from July 1915, called the Monthly Review, and seeks parallels with today's Review. Many of the topics found in the 1915 publication are still present today, including labor law, women in the labor force, immigration, and price changes.

--With this issue the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the United States Department of Labor begins the publication of its Monthly Review.

With those words, published 100 years ago, the Monthly Labor Review (MLR, the Review)--originally called the Monthly Review--came into existence. Today, this journal is the oldest continuously published periodical of the U.S. government. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is commemorating that milestone with a yearlong celebration on the MLR website. This article is just one of dozens of articles, essays, and excerpts that will look back at BLS, its programs, and its products, and look forward toward changes in the nature of work and in the information available about employment, prices, compensation, productivity, workplace safety, and a host of other issues. Among the topics to be featured in this centennial celebration are the following:

* Milestones of BLS programs, such as 125 years of Producer Price Index data and 75 years of Current Population Survey data

* Changes in BLS methodology, such as the evolution of the sample design for the Current Employment Statistics program

* A new look at old data, such as the "lost" Consumer Expenditure surveys

* Changes in labor laws over the past 100 years

* Changes in the production process for the MLR

* Short essays on the future of work, from a variety of prominent Americans.

The material that follows takes a look back at the first issue of the Monthly Review, seeking parallels between the BLS of that bygone time and the BLS of today. Certain themes were prominent in 1915: war was raging in Europe, concerns about safe working conditions were just beginning to take hold, labor unions were growing in prominence, and waves of immigrants were coming to America. Some of these themes have parallels in 2015, and BLS continues to explore a number of them. Other themes have been replaced with new ones.

   The Monthly Review will be from henceforth the medium through which
   the Bureau of Labor Statistics will publish the results of original
   investigations too brief for bulletin purposes, notices of labor
   legislation by the States or by Congress, and Federal court
   decisions affecting labor, which from their importance should be
   given attention before they could ordinarily appear in the
   bulletins devoted to these subjects. Through the Monthly Review the
   Bureau of Labor Statistics will deal with such news items of labor
   as may officially come to its notice. Attention will be given to
   the current work of this bureau, the other bureaus of the
   Department of Labor, or any other Government agencies dealing
   directly with labor matters.

The world in 1915

A review of the events of 1915 highlights some of the important issues of the day. The war was under way in Germany, Belgium, France, Russia, and elsewhere. In May, the British ocean liner RMS Lusitania was sunk by a German U-boat off the coast of Ireland, killing nearly 1,200 civilians. At the box office, Americans watched Charlie Chaplin in The Tramp.

In the fall of 1915, the Red Sox beat the Phillies in the World Series, 4 games to 1. Ty Cobb led all hitters, with a .369 average. Home runs were hard to come by; Braggo Roth led the American League with seven. But in a signal of changes to come, Babe Ruth hit his first home run.

Also marking a centennial in 2015 are singers Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday, actors Ingrid Bergman and Anthony Quinn, and economist Paul Samuelson. …

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