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Theobald, Robert, economic consultant and author of "The Challenge of
"White Collar Automation," by Thomas O'Toole, from the Reporter, De-
cember 5, 1963---
EXPLORING THE DIMENSIONS OF THE MANPOWER
From Vay to December 1963, the Subcommittee on Employment and Manpower conducted extensive hearings designed to plumb the depths of the Nation's manpower and employment problem. This was the first time a congressional committee had attempted to look at our employment problems on a comprehensive rather than piecemeal basis. Members of the subcommittee had been convinced for some time that piecemeal policies were no longer adequate if the national goal of full employment, first proclaimed in the Employment Act of 1946, was ever to be achieved in the United States. Many members had begun to sense that a profound change was taking place in the kind of labor force required to man an increasingly sophisticated technological economy. The pace of this change, it seemed, had accelerated and posed serious challenges to the course of future social and economic policy. We referred to this complex phenomenon as a “manpower revolution."
The subcommittee heard over 150 witnesses. Yet, despite the enormous volume of testimony gathered, it was quite evident that much information still remained to be gathered if the subcommittee's erentual recommendations were to have any applicability to reality. This document supplements the testimony of witnesses heard by the subcommittee.
In the hearings, an attempt was made to give voice to the full range of opinion on controversial issues. The same policy has been followed in elections for this volume. No member of this subcommittee agrees with the views of all of the authors. They cannot, for many of the riews are diametrically opposed. Nevertheless, it is from the factual material and various viewpoints presented in the hearings, this volume, and other similar volumes which will follow, as well as other sources, that the subcommittee members will form the conclusions which are embodied in their final report and recommendations.
Since the selected materials included herein will be essential to the subcommittee in its deliberations and enlightening for the Senate and Congress as a whole, I order this document to be printed.
JOSEPH S. CLARK, Chairman, Subcommittee on Employment and Manpower.
INTRODUCTION Only 4 years ago, economic forecasters and publicists were hailing the advent of the “soaring sixties.” Business publications glowed with projections of the high levels of demand, the new markets and the continuous prosperity expected of the decade. There was concern that the labor force might prove inadequate to feed, clothe, house, entertain and otherwise serve the burgeoning population. A best seller of the period was John Kenneth Galbraith's The Affluent Society. Inflation was the prevailing concern of the administration and most of the economics profession. Even the recession that followed during that same year was called a “rolling readjustment.”
All of these glowing projections were made at a time when, in retrospect, the level of unemployment had been climbing persistently for several years. After each recovery, unemployment failed to return to the level which had prevailed before the previous downturn. The wholesale price index had not moved for 2 years and the Consumer Price Index was drifting upward at a snail's pace. Employment had been rising, consumption had been rising, personal income, retail sales-every indicator but unemployment was showing improvement but GNP had been rising slowly and there was no "soaring."
The pattern of the late 1950's has continued. The GNP growth rate has returned to its 1947–57 average but it has been insufficient to meet the job needs of a more rapidly growing labor force and continued high productivity trends. Unemployment has averaged above 6 percent for 6 years. In addition, involuntary part-time employment and long-term unemployment have risen. It is generally conceded that in addition to the over 4 million unemployed and the 2.6 million unemployed part-time for economic reasons, 800,000 to 1.500.000 persons would enter the labor force if jobs were more readily available. The highly educated and, with some specialized exceptions, the highly skilled are experiencing full, if not overemployment and, though job vacancy statistics are lacking, there are recurring echoes of shortages of high-talent manpower. The dichotomy between affluence and poverty is painfully apparent. Automation, not inflation, is the fear word of the day.
With the disappointing decade one-third on its way, it appeared to members of the Subcommittee on Employment and Manpower that the time for a reappraisal had arrived. Many of the subcommittee members had been among the minority who were pessimistic about the employment outlook for the sixties. Some had served on the Special Committee on Unemployment Problems in 1959 and 1960. ` All had been involved in the development and passage of such landmark legislation as the Area Redevelopment Act and the Manpower Development and Training Act.
It was the conviction of several subcommittee members that the Nation was experiencing a manpower revolution which was altering fundamental manpower and employment relationships in the Nation through a combination of forces of which most Americans seemed blissfully unaware. Believing that past consideration of manpower problems had been approached in too piecemeal a fashion to yield the evidence needed to support effective recommendations, the subcommittee undertook for the first time a comprehensive congressional study of the manpower and employment problems which now confronts the United States. Hearings were held for 8 months, over 150 expert witnesses appeared before the subcommittee, and 9 volumes of testimony were compiled.
In addition to that testimony it was believed desirable to give subcommittee members and other interested persons the advantage of published literature on the subject, thus assuring full exploration of the problem without undue expense or even more excessive pressures on the time of subcommittee members. This volume, which was compiled by Frazier Kellogg, is a representative selection of those materials relevant to the changing labor force requirements of the economy—the manpower revolution. Some testimony from the subcommittee's hearings which is particularly pertinent has been included. Other volumes will be compiled relevant to other aspects of the subcommittee's investigations.
The hearings were designed as an exploration, not as support for a preconceived position. A deliberate attempt was made to select witnesses from varying backgrounds and of differing points of view. The same philosophy has been followed in the selection of materials for this volume. The existence of unemployment and other manpower problems in the United States cannot be gainsayed. But the cause and nature of these problems and their significance is a subject of controversy. A full range of opinion is represented in this volume.
It is to be hoped that the information elicited by the subcommittee will add substance to the dialog within the Congress and throughout the Nation out of which an effective employment and manpower policy for the United States can grow.
GARTH L. MANGUM,
Research Director, Subcommittee on Employment and Manpower.