Research Highlights

Industrial Characteristics and Employment of Older Manufacturing Workers in the Early-Twentieth-Century United States

  • Author : Chulhee Lee
  • Journal : Social Science History / 39 (Winter 2015), 551-579


This study explores how industry-specific technological, organizational, and managerial features affected the employment of old male manufacturing workers in the early twentieth-century United States. Industrial characteristics favorably related to the employment of old industrial workers include high labor productivity, less capital- and material-intensive production, short workdays, low intensity of work, high job flexibility, and formalized employment relationship. Results show that aged industrial workers were heavily concentrated in “unfavorable” industries, suggesting that the contemporary argument of “industrial scrap heap” was applicable for most of the manufacturing workers in the early twentieth century United States.