The clothing industry in Cleveland has grown very rapidly in recent years. During the 10 year period from 1900-10 the number of persons employed in the industry increased approximately 100 per cent. This increase was much greater than the increase throughout the country as a whole and was more than twice as large as the increase in the population of the city. There is every indication that this rapid growth is still continuing. It is estimated that approximately 10,000 workers are employed in the industry at the present time.
The distribution of men and women in the industry is most interesting. The making of men’s garments has been more fully standardized and is subject to fewer changes than the making of women’s garments. In this standardized and systematized branch of the industry the women now outnumber the men. In the manufacture of women’s garments, where the styles change more frequently and the work is of a more varied character, more men than women are employed.
The methods of work are of three general types: The old tailoring system known as “team work,” or a slight modification of it; piece operating; and section work. Under the team system, used extensively in the making of women’s coats, a head tailor hires his own helpers (operators and finishers), supervises them and pays them by the week out of the lump sum he receives for the garments from the clothing establishment. Under the piece operating system each operator sews up all the seams on one “piece,” or garment, and each finisher does all the hand sewing on one garment. Each operator and each finisher is an independent worker. The whole body of finishers keeps pace with the whole body of operators. Piece operating is used almost entirely in dress and skirt making, and to some extent in coat making. The section system is based on the subdivision of processes into a number of minor operations. The workers are divided into groups, each group making a certain part of the garment. The various operations are divided into as many minor operations as the number of workers and quantity and kind of materials will warrant. Each of these minor operations is performed by operators who do nothing else. This specialization has been carried to a high degree in the manufacture of men’s clothing, and section work is increasingly used on women’s coats.
One of the objects of the study was to find how many positions there are for men and women in each occupation in the industry. Through the cooeperation of employers data were obtained from the records of 50 establishments employing a total of 8,337 garment workers, approximately four-fifths of the total number in the city. The distribution of workers by sex in the various occupations is shown in Diagram 7. The apportioning of work to the two sexes seems to depend partly upon the weight of materials and partly upon