Studies in a local labour market with special reference to pay and wastage.
Cowling, Alan George
Research was carried out into the structure of inter and intra plant standard weekly earnings and the labour wastage of workers in eight manual occupations employed by a sample of 20 manufacturing plants located in North West London covering the period Autumn 1969 to Spring\ud 1975. Information on travel to work patterns and the accuracy of information concerning pay rates within the local labour market area was also investigated. The results have been compared with earlier studies into local labour markets in an attempt to clarify the degree of economic rationality that prevails in the earnings of manual workers. (Analysis of the travel to work patterns of a sub sample of these manual workers established the practical usefulness of the concept of the local labour\ud market).\ud Whilst a wide range of median standard hourly earnings was found for similar jobs, the coefficient of variation was appreciably lower than that found in earlier local labour market studies. Most of the 20 firms retained their general rank order in relation to each other over the\ud period, and a common internal hierarchy of earnings by manual workers was displayed. During the period inter and intra occupational differentials decreased in a marked fashion.\ud The labour turnover and completed length of service patterns of the manual workers showed wide variations as between firms, in line with earlier studies. However a significant differences between occupations was uncovered, which points to the importance of occupational analysis. In the case of certain manual occupations a statistically significant negative correlation was found to exist between variations in standard hourly earnings and labour turnover. Local unemployment levels appeared to exert little influence on labour wastage, but again some variation between occupations was discernable.\ud Taken together these results indicate a more economically rational structure of earnings and labour mobility than had been found in earlier studies, but also suggest that the 20 firms together form a 'submarket' within the local labour market. These results also underline the importance of local labour studies in understanding pay structures and the phenomenon of labour wastage, and indicate a need for further research in this area.
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