Friday, February 19, 2016

The Life of American Workers in 1915

Canned goods were sophisticated, overweight was a sign of good health, there was no such thing as standard time, and phonographs were the must-have tech. These are just a few of the fascinating facts revealed by a Monthly Labor Review article about the lives of workers in 1915. By examining the demographics, occupations, working conditions, and home life of workers in 1915, Bureau of Labor Statistics' economist Carol Boyd Leon reveals how much has changed...
  • In 1915, nearly 1 in 3 workers was a farm laborer versus fewer than 1 in 100 today. 
  • In 1915, 56% of men aged 65 or older were in the labor force versus 23% today.
  • In 1915, the average man earned $687 per year ($16,063 in 2015 dollars) compared with median earnings of $40,638 for male workers today. 
This look at the life of American workers in 1915 also reveals some things that haven't changed. Kellogg's Corn Flakes and Shredded Wheat were popular breakfast foods in 1915, for example, and there was a debate about whether cereal was a healthier breakfast food than meat or eggs.

Source: Monthly Labor Review, The Life of American Workers in 1915

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