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Full text of "Evidence study"

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,OSTO.P0BUCUB-S;, 



9999 0631 ' 



NATIONAL RECOVERY ADMINISTRATION 



DIVISION OF REVIEW 



EVIDENCE STUDY 
NO. 32 

OF 



THE RETAIL LUMBER INDUSTRY 



Prepared by 
W. E. YOST 



June, 1935 



PRELIMINARY DRAFT 
(NOT FOR RELEASE: FOR USE IN DIVISION ONLY) 



THE EVIDENCE STUDY SERIES 

The EVIDENCE STUDIES were originally planned as a means of gathering 
evidence bearing upon various legal issues which arose under the National 
Industrial Recovery Act. 

These studies have value quite aside froin the use for which they were 
originally intended. Accordingly, they are now made available for confidential 
use within the Division of rieview, and for inclusion in Code Histories, 

The full list of th-^ Evidence Studies is as follov;s: 



1. Automobile Manufacturing Ind, 23. 

2. Boot and Shoe Mfg. Ind. 24. 

3. Bottled Soft Drink Ind. 25. 

4. Builders » Supplies Ind. 26. 

5. Chemical Mfg. Ind. 27. 

6. Cigar Mfg. Industry 28. 

7. Construction Industry 29. 

8. Cotton G-arment Industry 30. 

9. Dress Mfg. Ind, 31. 

10. Electrical Contracting Ind. 32. 

11. Electrical Mfg. Ind. 35. 

12. Fab. Metal Prod. Mfg., etc. 34. 

13. Fishery Industry 35. 

14. Furniture Mfg. Ind. 36. 

15. Generax Contractors Ind. 37. 

16. Graphic Arts Ind. 38. 

17. Gray Iron Foundry Ind. 39. 

18. Hosiery Ind. 40, 

19. Infant's £: Children's Wear Ind. 41. 

20. Iron and Steel Ind. 42. 

21. Leather 43. 

22. Lumber & Timber Prod. Ind. 



Mason Contractors Industry 

Men's Clothing Industry 

Motion Picture Industry 

Motor Bus Mfg. Industry (Dropped) 

Needlework Ind. of Puerto Rico 

Painting ?■ Paperhanging & Decorating 

photo Engraving Industry 

plumbing Contracting Industry 

Retail Food (See Wo. 42) 

Retail Lumber Industry 

Retail Solid Fuel (Dropped) 

Retail Trade Industry 

Rubber Mfg. Ind. 

Rubber Tire Mfg. Ind. 

Silk Textile Ind. 

Structural Clay Products Ind. 

Throwing Industry 

Trucking Industry 

Waste Materials Ind, 

Wholesale & Retail Food Ind. (See No. 

Wliolesale Fr^sh Fruit & Veg, 31) 



In addition to the studies brought to completion, certain materials have 
been assembled for other industries. These LLfi-TZRIALS are included in the series 
and are also made available for confidential use within the Division of Review 
and for inclusion in Code Histories, as follows; 



44. Wool Textile Industry 

45. Automotive Parts & Equip. Ind. 

46. Baking Industry 

47. Canning Industry 

48. Coat and Suit Ind. 



49. 
50. 
51. 
52. 
53. 



Household Goods & Storage, etc, (Drop- 
Motor Vehicle Retailing Trade Ind, ped) 
Retail Tire & Battery Trade Ind. 
Ship & Boat Bldg. & Repairing Ind, 
Wholesaling or Distributing Trad3 



L. C. Marshall 
Director, Division of Review 



CONTENTS 

Page 

CHAPTER I - THE NATURE OF THE INDUSTRY 1 

Size of Industry 1 

Sales and Employment by States 1 

Capacity 1 

Number of Failures 1 

CHAPTER II - LABOR STATISTICS 2 

CHAPTER III - IIATSRIALS 3 

CHAPTER IV - PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION 4 

CHAPTER V - TRADE PRACTICES 5 

CHAPTER VI - ORGANIZATIONS 6 



-oOo- 



8320 -i- 



TABLES 

Page 

TASLE I - STOHES, SALES, E1£PL0YEES, AIID 

PAYROLLS, BY STATES: 1329 7 

TABLE II - STORES, SALES, EtJLOYEES, AIJD 

PAYROLLS, BY STATES: 1933 8 

TABLE III - FAILURES lil RETAIL LILIBER AIID 

BUILDING l.LATERIAL LlilES 9 

TABLE IV - COLiPARISCK OF HOURLY EARillllGS 

IN 1929 Alffi 1933 10 

TABLE V - STORES, SALES, EMPLOYEES AlTD 
PAYROLLS TU TWENTY- TWO 
i.iETROPOLITAl>I DISTRICTS: 1929 11 

TABLE VI - STORES, SALES, KJLOYEES AND 
PAYROLLS IN F:.'ENTY-TI70 
METROPOLITAN DISTRICTS: 1933 12 



oOo 



-11- 
8320 



-1- 

RETAIL LlJl'.IBER Iin)USTRY 

(Evidence) 

CHAPTER I 

THE NATURE 01? THE INDUSTRY 

The handling of lumber by the retail dealer is an oatgrowth of the early 
raill. As the timber v.'as cut out in each section, the lu"ibernan became a re- 
tail distributor acquiring his product from distant sources to fill local de- 
mands . 

Sise of Ind u stry 

In 1929 there vere 26,377 establisliments employing 134,483 persons and 
doing an annual business of $1,918,284,000. In 1933 there were 21,015 estab- 
lisliments employing 64,613 persons rrith an annual business of $603,416,000,17 
The Administration has been furnished by the Code Authority ^.Tith names and 
addresses of 23,531 retail lumber dealers in 1934. Reta.il lumber dealers 
generally handle many items competing nith lumber, but such materials as bric^ 
tile and steel give the most serious competition. 

Sales and Em-ployment by States 

Tables I and II recapitulate for a representative cross section of the 
country the number of establishments and volume of business in each state in 
1929 and 1933, together '-'ith a comparison of the number of employees and the 
payrolls in each state. 

Ca-pacitv 

The shift of production centers of materials has not affected to any ex- 
tent the retail business, for, as explained later, retailers draw uiDon the 
resources of the entire United States and their capacity is limited only by 
the supply available. There is no doubt but that the retailers could handle 
any demands r'hich the Construction Industrjr might malre. 

Number of Failures 

According to information from Dun and Bradstreet reports, shoTm in Table 
III, there xrere 168 failures in 1933 viith total liabilities of $9,655,146 and 
82 failures in 1934 \7ith total liabilities of $1,571,591. 

1/ The above fi,;;;ures include the entire volume of business done by retailers 
grouped in the Census of Retail Distribution as follows:- Lumber end. 
building material dealers; lumber and hardware dealers; roofing dealers 
and other retailers of building materials (brick, stone, cement, etc.). 
They do not, therefore, represent the amount of lumber sold at retail. 
Such figures, if available, would be considerably lower than the figures 
■presented here. 



8320 



-2- 

CHiPTFil II 

LABOn STATISTICS 

In 1929 there \7ere 134,483 full-time employeeG in this Industrj'' and 15,- 
076 part-time employees. The total annual payroll r/as $222,854,000, In 1933 
there were 64,613 full-time employees and 19,589 part-time. Their total an- 
nual earnings amounted to $87,222,000. The details of employment and payroll-, 
by states are shoTm in Tables I and II, 

As illtistrative of the waf^e decline, Table IV, furnished by the National 
Retail Lumber De&lers Association, shors that the niomber of erroloyees at 50 
cents per hour or over declined from practically 100,000 in 1929 to approxi- 
mately 43,000 in 1933. At the sf'jne time the number of employees paid 15 cents 
per hour or less increased from 2,132 in 1929 to 3,734 in 1933. 

Practically all establishments worked 60 hours per week prior to the Code 
which established a maximum of 40 hours. 

There are no figures available giving the employment of minors in this 
Industry, but it is the opinion of the writer that this -oractice has not de- 
veloped to any serious extent. 



8320 



-3- 

CHAPTER III 

IvLiTERIALS 

The principal materials handled Ly retail Itunter dealers are luralier of 
all sizes, grades and species, A retail dealer in any city purchases his 
material from practically every state in the Union. Douglas Fir dimension and 
finish come from Oregon and Washington; rednood from California; Ponderosa 
pine, Idaho white nine, sugar nine, i"'hite fir, snruce, larch nud cedar from the 
Western Pine Region consisting of llontana., Idaho, ¥/yoning, Utah, Nevada, 
Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico; hardwoods from practically all states east 
of the abT3ve; Southern pine from all the southern states; maple flooring from 
Wisconsin and iachigan; and spruce and hardwoods from the northeastern states. 
The species overlap in the various states to such an extent that it is im- 
possihle to determine the amount of any product going to any particular sec- 
tion. 

An aiialysis of costs of retail dealers, made by the Division of Research 
and Planning, ITRA, showed tha,t the cost of goods sold was about 72 per cent of 
total sales for 1934. 



8520 



-4- 

CHAPTER IV 

PRODUCTION AND DISTRIBUTION 

?or the purpose of de terra in in.^; the value of products distributed by retail 
dealers in interstate commerce, figures have been compiled in Tables V and VI 
for a nuanber of raetro-oolitan districts for 1929 and 1933, Trhich show the ver- 
centage relation which sales in these districts bear to the total national 
sales, With truck transportation making points 250 miles or more from origin 
easily accessible, all dealers near state lines compete and obtain business 
within a radius of 500 miles, whicli makes the cross-state-lines movement of 
lumber a matter of moment, and the price in any section vitally affects all 
territories. 

It has been estimated from fi;!rures compiled by the Forest Service 1/ that 
in 1932 approximately 64 per cent of the lumber produced in the United States 
moved in interstate commerce. 

Most of the advertising is of a local chara.cter throu^^^h newspapers and to 
some extent by radio. 

As far as the writer knows, there is no e:cporting done by retailers. 

ly U, S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Lumber Distribution and 
Consum-ption. 1932 . 
(1934), pp. 2-7. 



8320 



-5- 
CHAPTEE V 

TRADE PRACTICES 

The practices of long term credits, excessive discoujits, price 
cutting and substitution were prevalent among retail lurater dealers 
prior to the Code. In addition it was considered unfair for mills and 
wholesalers to sell direct to consumers. The retailers attempted to 
legislate through the Code a provision to outlaw dealers who sold other 
than from producer to wholesaler to retailer and then to consumer. This 
unfair trade practice, however, the Administration would not recognize 
holding that it was an economic necessity to provide for the movement 
of lumlier to the consiimer ty the cheapest possible method. 

The statistics show that the volume of business declined from 
$1,918,234,000 in 1929 to $603,416,000 in 1933. This enormous decline 
in the volume of business brought about extreme competition and com- 
petitive methods which forced sales below actual cost and resulted in 
lowering wages, reducing employment, bankruptcy and general depletion 
of resources. This situa.tion has been further accentuated by the fact 
that producers suffering greatly curtailed volume of business have found 
it necessary to enter the retail field in sales direct to consumers. 
The raandatorj^ mark-up provision in the Code stopped this loss to some 
extent, but the volume has not increased appreciably. 



8320 



-6- 

CIIJiP'rEH VI 

OnGALIIZjiTIOlTS 

The rets.il Iviuter trade is a local Industry employing practically 
all conLion lator, and it ha,s never ercperienced any serious laToor troLioles, 
Ho lal)or unions e::ist aaong employees in this Industry so far as the 
Tvriter lmo\7s. 

Gradually the dealers hp,ve ''oeen drann together in \7ell organized 
group>s or associations. Under the Code there r;ere 32 divisions handled 
"by well organized and functioning trade associations. 



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TABLE III 
PAILUHES III BETAIL LmffiE?. AHD BUILDING- I14.TEIIIAL LIKES a/ 

Lia'bility 
Year llnm'ber Involved 

1933 168 $9,655,146 

1934 82 1,571,691 



Source: Dim and Bradstreet's Llonthly Reviews. 

a/ Lijm'ber and Building Material Lines include "building 

materials and satr, planing, sash, and door mill 
■oroducts. 



8320 



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8320 



-11- 



TA3LE V 



STOKES, SAIES, ELiPLOYEES Aiff) PAYROLLS 
IIT TTffil-ITY-TWO IvIETHOPOLI TAiT EISTHICTS: I929 a/ 













IJumb 


er of 




Interstate 


ITuinter 
of 


K 


et Sales 


Errol 


oyees 


Total 


Metropolitan 


I\ill 


Part 


Payroll 


Districts 


St 


ores 


( thouoriids) 


Time 


Time 


( thousands) 


Chattanooga 




11 


$ 


1/^37 


I7H 


1 


$ zko 


Chicago 




259 




Us, 733 


3,173 


135 


7,363 


Cincinnati 




65 




S,563 


SGh 


6 


1,117 


Ilv.venvoTt 




20 




7,SU2 


63 s 


6 


1,000 


Dalutii 




30 




2,5S2 


ISI 


IS 


367 


Evan svi lie 




22 




1,630 


21s 


5 


329 


Huntington 




9 




575 


71 


h 


9S 


Kansas City 




lOU 




11,S13 
U;0954 


9S6 


67 


1,735 


Louisville 




Ui 




375 


6 


514 


Menphi s 




37 




5,056 


US6 


s 


711 


Nev; York 




650 




10s, 13U 


5,S79 


127 


12,290 


Onalia 




5U 




6,605 


U96 


60 


912 


Philadelphia 




171 




17,2146 


1,^27 


Us 


2,U22 


Portland 




61 




2,505 


23 s 


30 


3S2 


Providence 




S5 




11,260 


579 


3^ 


1,619 


St. Louis 




135 




11,535 


1,056 


57 


1,791 


Springfield 




20 




2,621 


175 


7 


330 


Trenton 




IS 




3,03s 


185 


2 


U20 


Washington, D. C. 




31 




U,59S 


3'46 


S 


5S1 


Wheeling 




Ik 




S39 


99 


6 


195 


ITilnington 




9 




2,691 


235 


11 


365 


Young stonn 




50 




5,U6o 


I152 


20 


SU9 


Total 


1 


,S96 


$ 


269,602 


13,533 


666 


$ 35,632 


Total United Stat^ 


es 














1929 


26 


,377 


$1 


,915,2SU 


13U,US3 


15,076 


$ 222, S5U 



Per Cent Total 
Districts of 
Total United 
States 



7.19 



IU.05 



13.7s 



k.kz 



15.99 



Source: Areas included in Iletropolitan Districts froii Fifteenth 
Census of United States: 1930, Iletropolitan Districts. 
Other data from Fifteenth Census of the United States, 
Census of Distrihution, Volui.ie I, lletail Distribution. 

a/ Includes luifoer and "building naterial dealers,* luinoer 

and hardr/are dealers; roofing dealers; and other retailers 
of "building Wiaterials. 



S3 20 



-12- 
TAP.LS VI 



STOHES, SALES, EMPLOYHIES Ai© PAYEOHiS 
III Ti;ZEiJTY-TT70 lETEOPOLITM DISTRICTS: 1953 a/ 









ll-umber 


of 




Interstr,te 


ITumher 
of 


i'et Sales 


Ern-oloyees 


Total 


Metropolitan 


Rill 


Part 


PajToll 


Districts 


Stores 


(thousands) 


Time 


Time^/ 


(thousands) 


CliattajLoo^a 
Chicago 'bj 


9 


$ 464 


114 


46 


$ 118 


233 


15,280 


759 


390 


2,581 


Cincinnati 


61 


2,451 


Oii2 


86 


452 


Davenport t/ 


7 


200 


26 


8 


33 


Duluth t/ 


14 


614 


100 


41 


139 


Evansville 


9 


281 


37 


12 


44 


Huntington ^/ 


17 


579 


110 


6 


107 


Kansas City 


64 


2,903 


361 


147 


524 


Louisville 


25 


1,248 


163 


59 


224 


Liemphis 


28 


1,270 


205 


79 


220 


He'7 Yorl: ;b/ 


522 


21,535 


2,096 


468 


3,573 


Omalia ^ 


31 


2,456 


2G3 


101 


383 


Philadelphia ;b/ 


93 


2,972 


363 


150 


550 


Portland 


42 


1,190 


139 


93 


199 


Providence h/ 


36 


2,015 


237 


68 


414 


St. Loris Id/ 


62 


2,608 


331 


77 


448 


Springfield 


22 


839 


129 


25 


181 


Trenton 


4 


101 


9 


8 


18 


Washing-ton, D. C. 


23 


2,260 


247 


51 


359 


Uheeling h/ 


5 


295 


42 


15 


50 


T/ilmington 


12 


402 


45 


53 


85 


Youngs to-.7n h/ 


18 


393 


61 


16 


89 



Total 1, 342 

Total United States 

1933 21,015 

Per Cent Total 

Districts of 

Total United 

States 5.39 



$ 52,355 6,174 1,999 $10,801 
$605,415 64,513 19,589 $87,222 



10.33 9.55 10.20 



12.38 



Source: Areas included in Hetropolitan Districts iron Pifteenth Census 

of United States: 1930, I.ietropolitan Districts. Other data from 
Census of American Business: 1933. 

a/ Includes lunher and huilding material dealers; Iranher and hard- 

TTDxe dealers; roofing dealers; and other retailers of huilding 

materials. 
h/ Incc:Tplete, Do not include all cities reporting in these 

districts for 1929. 
_c/ ITumher of part-time employees for each district computed 

■oro-oortionately from state totals. 



8320 # 



TT