xt7gms3k0n8d https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7gms3k0n8d/data/mets.xml Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina United States Works Progress Administration Division of Social Research Rural Section 1936 Preliminary report; Prepared by W. W. Troxell, under the supervision of T. J. Woofer, Jr., Coordinator of Rural Research; 31 leaves: illustrations maps, charts, 27 cm; Cover title has Research Bulletin (Not for Release); UK holds archival copy for ASERL Collaborative Federal Depository Program libraries; Call number Y 3.W 89/2:13/J2 books English Washington, D.C. This digital resource may be freely searched and displayed in accordance with U. S. copyright laws. South Carolina Works Progress Administration Publications Employment in the Cotton Textile Industry in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina text Employment in the Cotton Textile Industry in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina 1936 1936 2015 true xt7gms3k0n8d section xt7gms3k0n8d , amucxv ‘
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~ ¤ Harry L. Hopkins, Administrator
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I2 Assistant Administrator Social Research Division
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R E S E A R C H B U L L E T I N To i at
(Not for Release) »
Preliminary Report A I U
February , 1936 J-g

Preface '
This report is the second in a series presenting i
the results of a detailed study of combined farming—indus—
trial employment undertaken by the Research Section, Division
of Research, Statistics and Finance, F.E.R.A., in cooperation
with the Land Policy Section, Division of Program Planning of
the A.A.A. Since the study was begun the former agency has
become the Division of Social Research, W.P.A. and the latter
has become the Land Use Planning Section, Land Utilization
A Division, Resettlement Administration. The study has been
continued by these agencies. The application of the findings
of this report to.combined.farming—industrial employment will
be found in W.P.A. Research Bulletin J—l, entitled "Combined
_ Farming—Industrial Employment in the Cotton Textile Subregion
of Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina".
Part I of this report seeks to answer the question:
Will employment in the cotton mills of Georgia, Alabama, and
South Carolina tend to be greater or less in the future than c;
in recent years? An examination of the trends and problems
of the industry is undertaken to point the answer. Part II _
discusses those features of the industry which must be consid-
ered in any combination of farming with cotton mill employment,
All of the statistical data and some of the other
information contained herein were drawn from official reports
and other publications; the remainder was gathered from inter-
views with mill executives and inspections of mills and mill
villages made in the summer of 1955..
V x\
Prepared by .
W. W. Troxell "
under the supervision of
T. J. Woofter, Jr.
Coordinator of Rural Research

' 4
SU.Z1E‘:1¢3.3L’y............ ..... .... ........... .].
Thx) IIl(IIJ.S`*CI`y •.........••......·......•.·• 2
The Shift 1:0 thu; Svuth: NLu21b01·s Exmplcyywd, .
Sgindlqs and Pzmduct 1011 .............. 3
I"`1 .- · 1 A
Ihu N.};.-x. Code . . . ...................... 4
Exports; €..5"`1.d IIf`fQOI‘tS ................... . . 5
C01;1p0‘bit;3; 7}..izmtc.1·iaIs . . . . ............... · . . 6
Tha Pxvcblems of the I;·;dus%21*y ............ 5
°.  The Outlook for Enplcgmzent . ......,,.,.,, *7
Suxmuaxry . ..... . . . . . ...................... IO
Loccdzicm. ........... , ................... ull
Labaiic . ...... . . . Q ........................ II
Hours and WzV1;:r>s . . ....................... I2
Scuscnwl Vm?i:¤.1;ic>n:: in H‘mp2h0yn111’c Dwxcmd . IB
Thu Mill. Ville}  ..... . ................. I3
AFPEIEDIX A. Tablres .......... . ....... . .... . .... I5
APPENDIX B . Fi_gu1‘-JS . ........................¤. SEQ;
APPENDIX C. Dcscrigvbions Of Mi II Villagers .....  
9 .

‘ Summary of_Part I
» . . .
During recent years the cotton textile industry has under-
gone a striking shift from New England to the South, Attracted
primarily by low labor costs, manufacturers built numbers of new
mills in the South in the period from about lS8O until l950. This
loaded the industry with excess capacity and resulted in the decline
of the industry in New England, beginning in l925.
The year l925 was the peak year of employment for the indus-
try as a whole. In the South however averaqe emplo<.ent in 1955 was
7 7 C i. JH,
slightly higher than the previous peak in l929.
Domestic consumption of cotton cloths has varied between
about 55 and 72 square yards per capita per year in the last lO years,
but shows no well defined trend.
Exports of cotton cloths varied between 464 million and 587
million square yards in the years from l922 to l929, and fell sharply
to 225 million square yards in l954.
• . .
· Until 1955 imported cotton clotns were mostly fine fabrics
from Great Britain or Switzerland. In l955 Japan becanm the principal
_ source of imports, mainly bleached goods of print cloth construction.
Their volume is not large when compared to total United States pro-
duction, but it is large when compared to the domestic production of
competing cloths.
Cotton competes with silk, rayon, wool, linen, paper, and
jute. The use of rayon has been steadily increasing, and the paper has
made some inroads on the market for cotton goods.
Factors affecting future employment demand are the probable
retirement of excess or obsolete mills and equipment, increased efficien-
cy, loss of export markets to Japan and other low cost producing countries,
competition by other materials, and possible failure to maintain N.R.A.
hour standards. In view of these trends and problems facing the industry
it seems probable that total employment in southern cotton mills in the
immediate future will be somewhat less than it was in l95d.

The Industrv. The cotton tettile industry, or "cotton goods“
, industry, as defined in the Census of Manufactures includes those mills
engaged in preparing raw cotton for spinning, in spinning cotton yarn,
or in weaving cotton or cotton—miied piece goods. Its relative imnor—
tance in the textile group, of which it forms a part, is indicated in
the following table.
Table A. U. S. Textile Industries, Value of Products, 1933g/ I
  *‘¥‘_‘;"*`_ .;:~T—‘.T.i`I"·
Textile Value of Products —7
____ Indpgtrips _ in millions of dollars
‘ ietsi I 4,sii I
Cotton goods I 961
Cotton small weres 39
Lace goods l7
Knit goods 499
Silk and rayon goods I 291
Woolen gpods . I 14%
Worsted goods _ 3Cl
·s I Carpets end rugs I 72 ,
` Dyeingtand finishing I 279 I
I other I is? I
• I Wearing apparel made from purchased I
fabrics I 1,793 I
Other articles made from purchased I I
fabrics I 340 I
g/ "Cotton Textile Industry,“ 7gth_Qgngggsi, Senate_Qoc. # l§§,
p. 55.
The industry includes over n thousand separate establishments.
Some mills do spinning only, producing yarns for sale orimarily to
weavers of specialty products and to knitting mills. Those mills which
weave only usually produce specialty fabrics such es small wares or up—
holstery and drapery fabrics. Most of the mills do both spinning and
weaving, approximately BO percent of all spindles and 96 percent of all
looms being in such establishments in 1929.}/
The industry produces a wide variety of cotton fabrics for
both industrial and household or personal use. It has been estimated `
, that more than half of the total quantity of cotton goods consumed in
this country is now used for industrial and farm purposes, and that in—
dustrial use of cotton has been increasing while there has been a de-
a crease in use for clothing and household purposes in the last 25 yenrs.§/
1/U. S. Censushpf Manufactures, l929, Vol.II, p. 262.
I Q/"Cotton Textile Industry“, 74th Congress, Senate Doc. {IE6, p. 36.

_ lhc mills spocislizc in production of csrtsin typos snd
weights of fsbric ond most of than crc cquipyod with thc mschincry
host sdsptsd to thc typc of goods undo. With modcrn unchinory, shifts
_ csn hc msdc from sons typos of nrocucts to othcrs with littls sxpcnss,
but with ohsolctc or highly spccisliz.c.mschinos it cannot hs donc.
Tshlc l shows thc production of various typos of wovcn cotton
goods in thc Unitcd Stutcs in l929 cnc lQ5Z. Nhilc thsrc wss only s
rivc pcrccnt dccronsc in totsl ysrdsgc from l92Q to l93$, comparison of
thc dots for thc two yisrs io·i msrkod chongcs in cartsin items, ro-
flccting chsngss in stylcs and in industrial usc.
Few mills src squippod to finish thc goods thoy producs. Most
of tho product is sold, diroctly or through brokors, to convortcrs, Con-
vcrtcrs dosign thc fabrics, buy thc unfinishsd or "grcy" goods rsquirsd
from thc mills, and hsvo it shippsd to finishing mills which process thc
cloth sccording to tho convcrtcrs' snecificstions. Finishcrs work on a
contrsct or commission hssis. `
    [sd ¥`t¤~
*d_u£t_i;o_ii. Tli`_z;·o ;·-rt; two i·npc>ir·t;u1t   css of cotton ,-,_, oois   Now
Fnglsnd and thc Southosst. Tho rapid dcclinc or thc industry in Now
_ England sinco l935, and its risc in the South, constituting s shift or
*c "mi;rstion" southward, src outstsnding snd much discussod fcoturss.
This shift snc thc resulting chsngc in rank of thc various ststcs ss
. produccrs of cotton goods can ho soon in Tdhls 2.
Growth in tho South stsrtcd about l880, nnd continucd stosdily
until l950. Tho principal factors attracting thc industry to thc South
wcrc sn immcnsc supply of chcsp labor, rolstivoly low tsxstion and chcsp
clcctric powor. Powcr rcprcscnts about fivc pcrccnt or production cost,
Ncsrncss to raw nstcrinl is of insignificnnt odvsntcgo to tho southcrn
mills bccsusc dirrcrcnco in frcight costs is slight, (wstor rstcs from
Gslvoston or New Orlcsns to Now Ehgl».d src low) ond most of thc groy
goods must hs shippcd north to bo finishcd.
Southorn.mills msko thc chcspor, hosvior grades of cloth, whilc
thc bulk of thc fine goods concs from Now Englsnd. In l98$ thc cotton-
growing ststcs produccd about 87 pcrcont of all shootings mods in thc
Unitod Stntcs, Qs porccnt of print cloths, 95 pcrcsnt of drills, 75 por-
ccnt of twills and sstocns, 78 porccnt of reps, yoplins, and brosdcloths,
95 pcrcont of dcnims, B5 pcrcont of ginghsms, and only 26 pcrccnt of
lawns, nsinsooks, snd cumhrics.i/ Production of finc goods roquirss s
more skilled typs of labor, which is ons rsnson for thc wsgs diffcrsntisl
hotwssn thc South snd New England.
In rsccnt ycsrs thc cost diffsrontinl bstwcon tho southsrn and
thc northern branches hss bcsn nsrrowcd. Tho N.H.A. sst s diffsrcntisl
“ of $l.OO por wcck in thc minimum wsgc rntc, but tho principal purposc of
this wss to ofrsct thc low rsnts chnrgod in southern company vill&gcs.E/
Small Yarcs, ctC.," Spccisl Bul., 1955, p.4.
2/iF.dl·;“~· ¤¤Q2.l¤r_‘e®n ._Q<1i>i¤_21i,?£s>_>;t_i,ls. lssus;@.n<» Lsttsf Of T‘f&¤Smitt¤1·

Taxes have been increasing in the South, and many northern communities
, have been forced by ths sad pliwht of thsir hills to rsducs ths tax
burden on thsm.
. One result of ths attraction of nom units to tho low cost area
in the South has been that since the war the industry has found itself
with an sxcsss capacity. This sxcoss capacity has caused the closing of
E many How England mills, particularly tho older, more obsolete onss, and
_ a drying up of profits in ths South. Ths yssr l92Z wss tho last yssr of
1 prosperity for ths New England branch of tho industry. While other in-
dustriss wars booming from l925 to l92Q, Nsw England cotton mills were
closing their doors snd selling or junking machinery. The rapid decline
in spindlosgc is shown in Figurs l, which gives both number of spindles
in place snd active spindles. Tho figuros for active spindles src yosrly
svsrsgos of monthly numbers of spindles that were active st soho time
· during tho month. Activs spindles undcrwsnt an even Moro drastic doclino
than spindles in plscs.
whils how England mills wors shutting down there wss s steady
increase of installations in ths South up to l950. Substantial growth
ccssod in North Carolina in 1927-28, in South Gsrolino in l9EOg3l, in
Gcorgia in l952. in Alabama it continued to tho sud of l954.l/
, Tho posh ycsr of smploymont in tho industry was lQ25 whon
‘ svorago wsgo earners rosohcd 47l,OOG. Figuro 2 shows production and wage
corners for tho Census yosrs from l§2l to l95§. Tho low point of omploy—
• mont was roschod in l932 which, unfortunately, is not s Census year, and
honco doos not show on tho chart. Tho dcclinc in wsgc corners took placc
only in New England, however, omploymnot in tho South in l95Z bcing slightly
highcr than tho previous high in l929. The steady incrossc in rclstivc im-
- portsnco of South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama is shown by tho rising `
curve of wsgo osrncrs cxprcsssd ss u pcrccntsgo of tho Unitod States total.
Tho output of cotton cloth in tho past l2 ycars hss vsricd bo-
§ tween about 7 billion and 9 billion yards, with l927 as tho pooh yosr.
. Tho quantity svsilstlo for domcstic consumption (production plus imports
l A loss oxports) wss’65.5 sqisro yards por copits in lQ25, Vl.7 in l927,
? 66.l in 1929, 54.9 in lQ6l, and 62.4 in l9B5, sud is ostimntcd at about
55 yards in 1934.2/ Thoso figuros show considcrsblo fluctuation from ycor
i to yosr, but no woll defined trond.
i Tho N.H.At_Qodo. Tho H.R.A. codo for tho cotton toxtilo indus~
try, offootivo_$ul§_l7:—l953, was tho first codc odoptod. It providod for
s maximum 40-hour wack, and limitod machine hours to two 40—hour shifts.
I Tho minimum.wago was sot at §l2 por wook for thc South and @13 ptr wouk
, for tho North, oxcspt for lcsrnors, who woro oxomptcd from this provision
I · for s poriod of six wcoks, and outsidc omployocs. An om ndmtnt spprovod
  Docombor 27, l955 sot tho roto for outsidc omployocs ond closnors st not
loss than 75 pcrccnt of tho minimum wsgo. Tho codo provided that differ-
i “ onoos oxisting prior to July l7, l955 botwoon rates paid various clossos
t Eywiotton Tcxtiloiiihisgggwrwgéth Congrcss, §gngg;jgy&_#l26, p. 4G
_ gf Association of Cotton Tcxtilc Merchants of How York.

° of smgloysss should not bs decreased, ond thot in no ovont should
anyone bo paid loss for tho qO—hour wook than ho was receiving for tho
_ longer wook of 48 or more hours prevailing prior to July 17, 1933.
Emtloymont of any minor loss than 16 years of ago was prohibited.
The offset of tho code was to inorosso tho wage bill of tho
industry by approximately 65 peroontl/ and to spread this payment to s
grantor number of employees. Tho grsatost increases in rates wors in
tho lower paid brackets.
Since the H.R.A. was declared unconstitutional, May 27, 1935,
evidence inqicutos that a great majority of tho cotton goods manufacturers
have voluntarily continued to adhere to tno code hour ans wage provisions.g/
Some of tho smaller mills huvo not done this, but these include only a small
part of tho iniustry. Many of tho mill oxocutivos interviewed during tho
summor of l§3j thought it would bo possible to maintain those standards
indofinitsly, but others fourod that tho pressure of oompotition would
sooner or lutor gradually foroo s lowwring of wage rotos and an increase in
  A foot of grout importunoo in intsr~ '
nutionul trudc in toxtilss is the recent growth of tho industry in tho
.~ Orient, particularly Japan. From 1926 to 193q, while spindloago declined
A5 poroont in Now England und 19 poroont in Great Britain, Japan increased
hor syinélcs by éj poroont, Chinn by B8 porosnt, und India by 13 psrcont.3/
Eiguro Q snows cotton consumption for tho United States, Great
britain, and Jugsn for tho crop yoors l9l2—lj to 1933-Bq. Tho tide of
cotton goods monufaoturo pissed its crest in tho Unltol Kingdom prior to
l}12, in Now England ourinj tho wor, in tho ootton—growing statos during
tmc lots twontios. It is now rising rupidly in Japan.
Unitod Etntos oxyorts of cotton cloths variod botwoon Aon
million und 587 million squuro yurds in tho yours from 1$22 to 1929. In
1929 tho umount oxyortud wss j39 million, falling from thut figure to 223
million in 19jA. Tho Philippine Islands, Cuba, Central Amorica, and
Ganudu woro tho principal foreign markets in thoso yours, whilo before tho
war China was ons of tnu lzrgost oonsumsrs. In 19jh oxports to thc
Ehilippinos dropped sharply while thoso to Cubs 1HCTClSOd•ij
Imports wsro ubout 219 million squuro yards in 1923, 109 million
in 192j, and dropyod to about AO million in 1934. In the first five
months of 19j§, 32 million squuro yards como in. From 1922 to 1930 most
of tho imyorts uoro fino goods from tho United Kingdom. From 1931 to 193Q
£¤itzor1~ni €.·. wns tho loading supplier, mostly of fino—yurn fabrics. During
· 1935 Juyun tocnmo tho prinoipul sourco of imports.h/
1/Burouu of lmggr 5tutiéjg£§J"Wngo Rotos ond Uookly Eurnings in tho Cotton
Goods lndustry from July 19jQ to August 1934'§ mimoogruphcd roport, 2nd
1 odition with minor oorr;ctions, p. 12·
Q/brow stutomonts of trudo association und mill oxooutivos (July, 1935).
A;oo ulso "Cotton Ttmtilo Industry", Tlth Congress, Sonuto Doc;_é1gé} p. 127
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