The Labour Force

  • George Sayer Bain
  • Robert Bacon
  • John Pimlott


Manpower statistics cover a wide field.1 This chapter concentrates on those aspects which are of particular importance to sociologists: the structure of the occupied population, unemployment, hours of work, wage rates and earnings, the cost-of-living and retail prices, trade union membership, and industrial disputes. Statistics on other aspects of the labour force, such as mobility and turnover and vacancies in industry, are not discussed here partly because of lack of space but mainly because of lack of adequate historical data. The emphasis in the following discussion is generally upon the strengths and weaknesses of the various series rather than upon the trends which they reveal.


Labour Force Wage Rate Trade Union Married Woman Union Membership 
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  1. 1.
    For a more complete discussion of the diverse sources of manpower statistics and of their strengths and weaknesses, see Labour Statistics (HMSO 1958); Ely Devons, An Introduction to British Economic Statistics (C.U.P. 1961), especially chaps 2 and 3;Google Scholar
  2. and F. M. M. Lewes, Statistics of the British Economy (Allen & Unwin 1967), chap. 2.Google Scholar
  3. 1.
    This decline in the employer and proprietor group should be interpreted with caution. Although there is a legal distinction between an employer and a manager, in social science the dividing line is more imaginary than real, for an employer becomes a manager as soon as his business is incorporated. The trend towards the incorporation of business enterprises is at least part of the explanation for the decline in employers and proprietors and the increase in managers and administrators. On this point see Guy Routh, Occupation and Pay in Great Britain (C.U.P., 1965), pp. 19–21.Google Scholar
  4. 2.
    A considerable amount of research has been carried out into the question of labour force participation among married women, particularly in the United States. See, for example, Jacob Mincer, ‘Labor Force Participation of Married Women’ in National Bureau of Economic Research, Aspects of Labor Economics (Princeton U.P. 1962), pp. 63–105;Google Scholar
  5. Clarence D. Long, The Labor Force Under Changing Income and Employment (Princeton U.P. 1958).Google Scholar
  6. Some of the more recent British studies are the following: Viola Klein: Britain’s Married Women Workers (Routledge 1965);Google Scholar
  7. Alva Myrdal and Viola Klein, Women’s Two Roles, Home and Work (Routledge 1962);Google Scholar
  8. E. M. Harris, Married Women in Industry (Institute of Personnel Management 1954);Google Scholar
  9. Audrey Hunt, A Survey of Women’s Employment (HMSO 1968), Government Social Survey, SS 379, vol. I, Report, and vol. II, Tables;Google Scholar
  10. and P. Pinder, Women at Work (Political and Economic Planning 1969).Google Scholar
  11. 2.
    See, for example, the Committee on Industry and Trade, Survey of Industrial Relations (HMSO 1926), pp. 219–20 and 244–5,Google Scholar
  12. and W. H. Beveridge, Full Employment in a Free Society (Allen & Unwin 1944), pp. 40–6.Google Scholar
  13. 1.
    A. G. Hines, ‘Trade Unions and Wage Inflation in the United Kingdom, 1893–1961’, Review of Economic Studies, XXXI (October 1964), pp. 250–1; Routh, op. cit., p. 110; and Beveridge, op. cit., P. 47.Google Scholar
  14. 1.
    See A. L. Bowley, Wages and Income in the United Kingdom Since 1860 (C.U.P. 1937), pp. 118–26, for a discussion of how his index was constructed.Google Scholar
  15. 2.
    D. Seers, Changes In the Cost of Living and the Distribution of Income Since 1938 (Blackwell, Oxford, 1949), and The Levelling of Incomes Since 1938 (Blackwell, Oxford, 1949).Google Scholar
  16. 1.
    See G. S. Bain, The Growth of White Collar Unionism (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1970), pp. 132–3.Google Scholar
  17. 3.
    For a discussion of the trends in union membership see Keith Hendell, Trade Union Membership (Political and Economic Planning 1962)Google Scholar
  18. B. C. Roberts, ‘The Trends of Union Membership’, Trade Union Government and Administration in Great Britain (Bell 1956), Appendix 1;Google Scholar
  19. Guy Routh, ‘Trade Union Membership’, Industrial Relations: Contemporary Problems and Perspectives, rev. ed. (Methuen 1968), pp. 35–55; and Bain, op. cit., chap. 3.Google Scholar
  20. 2.
    See K. G. J. C. Knowles, Strikes — A Study In Industrial Conflict (Blackwell, Oxford, 1954), pp. 299–306. The following discussion relies very heavily upon this source.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© A. H. Halsey 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • George Sayer Bain
  • Robert Bacon
  • John Pimlott

There are no affiliations available

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