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March 1982, Vol. 105, No. 3
Nonwool yarn mills experience
slow gains in productivity
James D. York
As measured by output per employee hour, productivity in the nonwool yarn mill industry increased at an average of 2.3 percent during 1958-80, somewhat below the 2.8-percent rate for all manufacturing.1 (See table 1.) Output increased at an average annual rate of 4.5 percent while employee hours advanced at a rate of 2.1 percent. For the most recent period, 1973-80, productivity has risen at a faster annual rateaveraging 3.0 percent. Improved preparatory and spinning equipment have contributed to these gains.
Growth varied over the period of study. From 1958 to 1965, productivity increased every year, rising at an average annual rate of 5.2 percent. The largest jump occurred in 1961 with a rise of 9.3 percent. The 5.2-percent average gain in productivity reflected an average annual growth of 6.7 percent in output and 1.5 percent in employee hours. Since 1965, productivity gains have slowed considerably. During 1965-73, output per employee hour grew at an average annual rate of only 1.2 percent. Output increased at a 4.6-percent ratejust slightly faster than that of 3.4 percent for employee hours. Productivity movements displayed much year-to-year fluctuation during this time. There were increases in only 5 of 9 years, with the largest 7.1 percent occurring in 1971.
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1 "Robots Join the Labor Force," Business Week, June 9, 1980, pp. 62-76.
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