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Facts About Dayton
Transportation, Labor Situation




Transportation Facilities

The annual value of product per wage earner is low in Dayton, if taken for its entire industrial activity.  It is low in about halt of the great groups of industry, and high in the other half. The materials cost ratio (which is the ratio of cost of principal materials to the value of the product), is low because the wage cost ratio is high, and both are what they are because of the precision type of industry practiced. This makes the city somewhat immune against variations in transportation cost on material; and (so far as such cost is involved) it would matter very little if Dayton were located 100 miles away from where it is.  Its strategic position for shipping to all parts of the United States is another matter. There are few points within one hundred miles which otter equal advantages. Dayton is reached by four major railroads, on most of which there is a heavy movement of through freight. Freight (facilities are, in general, fairly well distributed both by roads and by sections of the city. The city is heavily equipped with industrial sidings; the majority of the important Industries have their own sidings. There is universal reciprocity in switching arrangements. Package car service is varied and prompt and is available daily to many points with good connections at important transfer cities.


Freight Bate Structures

Any discussion of freight rates affecting Dayton inevitably must be associated with the general readjustment of rate structures now going on in nearly all parts of the country. These readjustments have as their objectives not the leveling of rates up or down, but the simplification of rate structures and the elimination of obvious discriminations. It seems to be expected that freight rates will be determined primarily by mileage and set up on that basis; that rates between given points will usually be equal, regardless of the direction of the movement; that there will be uniform percentage relationships between rates on various classes of freight; and that joint through rates will be provided much more comprehensively than at present. There also is a continued effort toward uniformity of classification throughout the country and toward a reduction in the number of Commodity rates. This last would be a logical outcome of the policies already mentioned. There is no agreement as yet as to the proper attitude with regard to the long and short haul rule. This subject is constantly under agitation.  For the near future at least it seems probable that discretionary power will continue to be lodged with the Interstate Commerce Commission.

As far as Dayton is concerned, nearby freight rates are on a scientific and equitable basis.

The rate structures between Dayton and the East are satisfactory, but may probably be further improved, and this whole rate structure has been scheduled for early revision.

Discriminatory Southern rates are scheduled for immediate revision, which has been badly needed. Trans-Mississippi rates are theoretically adverse.  For a long time Chicago, St. Louis and various Illinois points have enjoyed through rates with this territory, and while the joint through rate has recently been extended to Indiana cities, it has not yet been extended into Ohio.

Northwestern rates are not generally in question by Dayton.

The Southwestern rate structure is bad, largely because of State controlled rates. A comprehensive readjustment has been proposed, although no proceedings are pending at present.

Dayton occupies a proper position with respect to Pacific coast rates. The Pacific coast territory is reached by joint through rates which are the same for Cincinnati, Dayton, Louisville and Indianapolis.  There are many commodity rates to the Pacific coast which Dayton shares.


Shipping Facilities

General shipping facilities exist in variety. Dayton shippers use the traction lines, motor trucks, mail and express, including parcels post, for shipments, outgoing and incoming. Traction and motor truck lines have complete and comprehensive class rates structures. Many years ago canal navigation in this section ceased to exist. Ohio River transportation is of great potential importance. When the final completion of the long and extensive program of river improvement comes sometime in 1929 it will be an important factor among shipping facilities throughout the Ohio Valley.




Resident Workmen an Asset

The nation-wide drift chiefly from the agricultural districts to the manufacturing and mechanical centers, particularly those which have to do with iron and steel and their products, has been most pronounced in this section of the country. The condition in and around Dayton is that which exists in other sections.  More than one-halt of Dayton's wage earners are occupied in industrial activities.  While the proportion so occupied In relation to the total population of working age is only slightly above that which is normal in industrial cities, even the normal number has now become so great in any sizeable city that any excess percentage is of heavily weighted significance. In Dayton, as elsewhere, the iron and steel industries predominate among the manufacturing plants.  In and for these industries Dayton has an unusually high proportion of highly skilled workers. About 20,000 of the total male workers of Dayton are classed as "skilled employees" in industrial plants. Dayton also is well supplied with the "semi-skilled" groups of workers.


Women In Industries

The percentage of women gainfully engaged in Dayton is low. It is particularly low in the professional group and in the group which covers domestic and personal service. It is lower than it need be In the industrial group. This, in part, is due to the fact that one of the principal industrial opportunities offered women is in the cigar factories. Work in such establishments often carries with it certain social disadvantages.  However, in Dayton many women disregard this handicap (if it may be so designated) and are engaged both in semi-skilled and unskilled labor in such establishments. Singularly enough, the social stigma does not apply so strongly where machines are operated for the making of cigars or cigarettes.

Neither married nor unmarried women in Dayton are particularly apt to become factory workers. There is a present available supply especially among native whites. It is estimated that at least 500 women workers are available in addition to those now employed, and many others may be had for part time work.


Dayton's Boys

Under the strict Ohio child labor law Dayton maintains a well-ordered school attendance among children.  It exhibits almost a maximum percentage of employment among boys 10 to 16 years old. The larger proportion of these boys carry newspapers or work in stores.  In both instances the work is probably on a part-time basis, and therefore is relatively harmless. The same thing holds true as to the small number of girls listed as engaged In trade at early ages. These girls probably are acting as extra people in larger stores. Child labor—especially that of girls—has been declining.


Workers Largely Native Born

About 70 percent of all the people in Dayton were born in the state of Ohio. Among the foreign born whites, 60 percent came from Central Europe. Germans constitute about halt of these, or about one-third of the total foreign born. Northwestern Europeans constitute the next most important element. Nearly half of all the foreign born have been here since 1900. Dayton's industrial workers are largely native born. This is true of over 70 percent of those engaged In industrial activities, and it is true in even larger percentages of those who may be classed as "skilled workers."


Americanization Program

Human values are given large attention In Dayton. The Community Chest, with an annual budget exceeding halt a million dollars, finances many social welfare organizations. Dayton has a definite Americanization program. From three to four hundred persons attend English-for-foreigners classes each year. The city has over 100,000 citizens and has registered as many as 72,000 voters. A notable improvement is observed over conditions recorded in 1920, when the proportion of foreign born who had their first or final citizenship papers was only median. With respect to the ability of the foreign born to speak English, Dayton's position also in 1920 was not better than median. At the time of the present survey, however, the city's illiteracy figure was the very best in a long list of competitive cities.


No Negro Problem

Dayton's negro population is increasing, and the illiteracy rate is high among these people. The marriage rate is low, and the ratio of males to females distinctly high. There are no important recognizable negro sections, the negro families being generally scattered. Some infiltration of population is going on in both directions: namely, whites among negroes and negroes among whites. According to a recent survey by the National Inter-Racial Council which involved comparisons of eight cities, there is a minimum of improper housing and congestion among the negroes in Dayton.


Vital Statistics

Dayton's death rate has declined notably and steadily. Dayton occupies an excellent position with respect to automobile fatalities. The death rate from this cause is declining. Local traffic control is excellent. As in many cities, cars—especially taxicabs—are driven too fast. The activities of the department of public welfare and particularly of its division of health, may be expected to bring about further Improvement in vital statistics if the necessary funds are provided.

Dayton has a very low birth rate and this rate is declining.  The infant mortality index in 1924, 72.1 percent, was only fairly good. Press reports put it at 61.7 percent for 1926. This is almost a record-breaking low figure.

Taken as a whole, Dayton's population shows a high marriage rate; that is, an unusually large number of ifs people are married, although this is not true among the native whites of native parents taken alone. The nationality class just mentioned Is, of course, the predominating group in Dayton.


Room for More Young Men

An analysis of the population by age groups shows an undue preponderance of those of older age, and this is especially true among the native whites of native parentage. Dayton's workers also are relatively old. Eighty percent of the males engaged in industry are 25 years of age or older, and the older group are not being adequately replaced. The foreign born are more apt to be industrial workers than the natives, but since the supply of foreign born has now been checked, replacements can not be expected from immigration. Dayton, in common with other cities, has not yet adjusted itself to the new immigration policy.


Wage Scales Are Normal

Some apparently well-informed authorities regard Dayton as a town of high wages; while others who seem to be equally well-informed describe the wage scale as low. No single source of evidence, however, professes to find Dayton's wages either notably high or notably low. Opinions differ with respect to the position which Dayton occupies in the wage scale in putting the city on the one side or the other of a median line- but they all agree in putting it close to that median line. The general conclusion which stands out is that the wage scale in Dayton is a normal scale. Actually, it is impressive from its normality, and leaves few striking points to be discussed.

As compared with most of the manufacturing cities of the middle west, rates for common labor in Dayton are slightly low. This seems natural in view of the tact that the nearby south is the general source of supply for this kind of labor. In the metal trades, Dayton's rates seem to be somewhat higher than those of Columbus. This is the natural result of the types of industry prevalent in the two cities. Dayton has none of Columbus' heavy basic Iron and steel industries. In the "service groups" Columbus' scale, on the other hand, is above Dayton's.


Not a White Collar City

The most significant thing in connection with employment in Dayton is the immensely greater demand for hand workers than for those who "dress up" at their work. There have been other indications of this in connection with other subjects of this survey, but the ratio of applicants to placements in the overall and white collar groups, respectively, is impressive. This is true whether attention is directed to male or female workers.


A City of Steady Work

Fluctuations in employment in Dayton are moderate or less noticeable than moderate.  As measured by various arbitrary standards the foregoing statement expresses the fact, but as measured by comparing annual earnings with hourly wage rates Dayton's fluctuation in employment in recent years has been extremely slight. It is a city of steady work.


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