The Mining Machinery Industry: Labor Productivity Trends, 1972-84

By O'Neil, Barbara A. | Monthly Labor Review, June 1987 | Go to article overview

The Mining Machinery Industry: Labor Productivity Trends, 1972-84


O'Neil, Barbara A., Monthly Labor Review


Productivity, as measured by output per employee hour, in the mining machinery industry declined at an average annual rate of 1.2 percent from 1972 to 1984.(1) (See table 1.) This trend was substantially below the rate for the manufacturing sector, which grew at a rate of 2.0 percent during this period. Since 1972, the mining machinery industry has introduced new technology and work methods. However, major shifts in demand for coal have created wide variability in capacity utilization rates. Periods of both strained and excess supplies of coal have resulted in low productivity in mining machinery.

The decline in productivity was accompanied by a drop in output of 3.3 percent and a decline in employee hours of 2.2 percent. Although the productivity trend was negative, there was significant year-to-year variation. Many of the annual movements were associated with changes in output. In 5 of the 6 years that output advanced, there were increases in productivity. Similarly, productivity declined in 4 of the 6 years that output fell.

From 1972 to 1974, productivity in the mining machinery industry advanced nearly 12 percent, as output surged 35 percent. Over the following 2 years, productivity declined by 9 percent as employment in the industry increased substantially. From 1972 to 1976, employee hours increased more than 50 percent.

The industry's output rose in the early 1970's in response to increased energy-related demand for coal. From 1971 to 1975, coal production increased more than 17 percent. Purchases of mining equipment grew significantly during this period, leading to high levels of capacity utilization. However, by 1975, these rapid increases in demand also dampened productivity advances as mining companies became overbooked and capacity became strained.(2)

During the 1977-82 period, productivity fell at an average annual rate of 0.9 percent; both output and employee hours dropped. The industry was particularly hard hit by the economic downturn which occurred during this period.

The 1981-82 recession brought a substantial decline in the demand for many metals and minerals during 1982. The low level of construction activity and the decline in production of durable goods-such as automobiles, construction machinery, and electrical appliances-significantly reduced the demand for steel, copper, aluminum, and other metals. As many U.S. mines curtailed or halted production, the year was marked, in particular, by a slowdown in the demand for mineral processing equipment such as flotation machines and crushers. Although there was expanding coal production in 1982 which served to offset some of the decline in the demand for equipment used in other types of mines, it was not enough to prevent a severe drop in output and a decline in employee hours. This resulted in a sharp decline in productivity.

The recovery during the 1983-84 period was strong enough to turn around the productivity decline, leading to a rise of 4.3 percent. Although output continued to drop in 1983, an even steeper drop in employee hours resulted in a productivity gain of nearly 6 percent. In 1984, both output and employee hours reversed their long-term rates of decline. Productivity advanced 2.9 percent as output rose 4.8 percent and employee hours increased 1.9 percent. Growth of U.S. and foreign coal mine production in 1984 was a major stimulant for sales of mining machinery, particularly continuous miners, shuttle cars, roof bolters, and longwall mining systems. Increased use of coal in electric power generation, which now accounts for 50 percent of all fuel used, has helped the demand for mining equipment.(3)

Employment and plant size

Over the 1972-84 period, employment in the mining machinery industry decreased more than 20 percent, falling at an average annual rate of 1.8 percent. For the first 4 years of the period, employment increased steadily, rising from 21,300 employees in 1972 and peaking at 31,900 in 1976. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

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.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Mining Machinery Industry: Labor Productivity Trends, 1972-84
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

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?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.