Employment in the aircraft industry in the major powers

Discussions on the economic history of the nations taking part in WW2, from the recovery after the depression until the economy at war.
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Guaporense
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Employment in the aircraft industry in the major powers

Post by Guaporense » 12 Jun 2010 04:46

The aircraft industry was the largest single armament industry for all the major powers of WW2, with the possible exception of the USSR, with focused much more resources on ground weapons.

These are the employment figures for Germany of the aircraft industry:

May 1943 - 740,000 - airframes: 373,000
November 1943 - 788,000
January 1944 - 840,000
May 1944 - 868,000 - airframes: 460,000, aero engines: 310,000
July 1944 - 872,000

Source: USSBS, Report on the German Aircraft Industry

For comparison, in the US in 1943, employment in the aircraft industry was 2.1 million and in the airframe production was 1,084,000 (source: USSBS, report on the aircraft industry). The total size of the US labor force was 65 million, compared to 46 million for Germany (source: The Economics of WW2).

In 1943, 3.2% of the American labor worked in the aircraft industry, while 1.67% worked on airframes. While for Germany in May 1943, 1.6% of the labor force and 0.8% on airframes. This means that employment in the US aircraft industry was twice the proportion of the manpower available than in Germany.

The relation is the same when considering the manpower mobilized in service of the armed forces, directly and indirectly in war production. In 1943, second to Harrison (1988), the proportion of the US labor force mobilized to war was 35.4%, while in Germany was 37.6%, so if the relative proportion of the war related labor force mobilized to aircraft production was nearly the same as in total production.

While 17% of the US munitions labor force was employed in the aircraft industry, the proportion to Germany was only 11%, in 1943. This disproportion in employment (inside and outside of the munitions economy) helps to explain how the US produced over 3 times more aircraft in 1943 than Germany. Germany produced 2,300 aircraft in May 1943, when employment in the aircraft industry was 740,000, while the US produced about 7,000 aircraft per month in 1943, with a total employment in the aircraft industry of 2.1 million.

Anybody has data on the other major powers?
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: Employment in the aircraft industry in the major powers

Post by JonS » 16 Jun 2010 01:13

Guaporense wrote:Anybody has data on the other major powers?
Probably. Undoubtedly, even. But they'd have to be mad to provide it to you. You see, your history of manipulating and abusing information to suit preconceived ideas and agenda has consequences.
Last edited by JonS on 17 Jun 2010 00:14, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Employment in the aircraft industry in the major powers

Post by LWD » 16 Jun 2010 13:10

Indeed, for example the above rather implies that the a US air frame was comparable to a German one. Not only does it not take into consideration the larger sizes of many US airframes it doesn't include things like sparing that also went into the production of the aircraft industry.

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Re: Employment in the aircraft industry in the major powers

Post by Hop » 11 Jul 2010 23:07

These are the employment figures for Germany of the aircraft industry:

May 1943 - 740,000 - airframes: 373,000
November 1943 - 788,000
January 1944 - 840,000
May 1944 - 868,000 - airframes: 460,000, aero engines: 310,000
July 1944 - 872,000

Source: USSBS, Report on the German Aircraft Industry
Can you say where in the USSBS?

On the face of it the figures don't make sense. For example, May 1944. If 460,000 worked on airframes, 310,000 on engines, then only 98,000 worked on all other equipment and armament for aircraft.

I suspect there are different definitions in use between the figures you are quoting for the US and Germany.

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Re: Employment in the aircraft industry in the major powers

Post by Guaporense » 12 Jul 2010 00:21

Hop wrote:
These are the employment figures for Germany of the aircraft industry:

May 1943 - 740,000 - airframes: 373,000
November 1943 - 788,000
January 1944 - 840,000
May 1944 - 868,000 - airframes: 460,000, aero engines: 310,000
July 1944 - 872,000

Source: USSBS, Report on the German Aircraft Industry
Can you say where in the USSBS?
total employment:

Volume 3 - The Effects of Strategic Bombing on the German War Economy

pages 221 and 222

employment in airframe:

Volume 4 - Report on the German Aircraft Industry

page 224

employment in aero engine production:

Volume 3 - The Effects of Strategic Bombing on the German War Economy

page 241
On the face of it the figures don't make sense. For example, May 1944. If 460,000 worked on airframes, 310,000 on engines, then only 98,000 worked on all other equipment and armament for aircraft.
A WW2 aircraft consisted of an engine placed in a airframe. It is natural that 85% of the labor force was involved in the production of these components.
I suspect there are different definitions in use between the figures you are quoting for the US and Germany.
Well, the proportion of the labor force employed in airframe production in relation to the total labor force employed in aircraft production is the same. I am quite sure that the 2.1 million figure for US is comparable to the 740,000 figure for Germany, since the proportion of the labor force engaged in airframe production is the same.

Here is the comparable number for the workers engaged in airframe production:
--------------1941-----------1942----------1943
Germany -- 291,000 ----- 340,000 ----- 373,000
USA -------- 203,000 ----- 510,000 ----- 1,084,000

For 1943, the US had 3 times the number of workers in airframe production and 3 times the size of the aircraft industry labor force.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: Employment in the aircraft industry in the major powers

Post by Guaporense » 12 Jul 2010 00:42

LWD wrote:Indeed, for example the above rather implies that the a US air frame was comparable to a German one.
Actually, it doesn't. If I said: The number of workers hours that the average German worked needed to churn out was about the same as the American, with means that the productivity of both workers was the same. Them I would imply that the average size of the US air frame was the same as the German.

However, I only said that the US produced 3 times more airplanes because they had 3 times more men working in airplane production. If course, in 1943, the productivity of the American worker was greater.

In 1943 the average US airframe worker produced 172,5 lbs of aircraft and spare parts in the 3 month period of may-july 1943. The average German airframe worker produced 116 lbs of aircraft and spare parts.

However, considering that the average american airframe was larger and larger airframes follow the increase in productivity of a third of a power in the ratio of size. We need the average size of airframe produced to compare productivity. The average US airframe weight was 8,000 lbs in mid 1943, while the average German airframe weight was 6,000 lbs in mid 1943 (source: pag. 123 Vol 4, USSBS). So the cube root of 4/3 is 1.10064, with means that the German worker productivity was 74% of the American.
Not only does it not take into consideration the larger sizes of many US airframes it doesn't include things like sparing that also went into the production of the aircraft industry.
The proportion of spares in German and US aircraft production was about the same until 1944. In 1944, with the average German plane lasting 15 sorties, they cut the production of spares and concentrated on the production of complete aircraft.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: Employment in the aircraft industry in the major powers

Post by Guaporense » 12 Jul 2010 01:05

Complementing with data for the earlier years:

The German aircraft industry in WW2

---------------------- Employment ------- Production (units) ---- Production (weight, thousands lbs)
May 1941 ---------- 550,000 ------------ 1,037 -------------------- 6,582
November 1941 --- 630,000 ------------ 895 ---------------------- 6,951
May 1942 ---------- 685,000 ------------ 1,315 -------------------- 10,405
November 1942 --- 715,000 ------------ 1,307 -------------------- 9,804
May 1943 ---------- 740,000 ------------ 2,196 -------------------- 14,348
November 1943 --- 788,000 ------------ 2,077 -------------------- 14,596
January 1944 ------ 840,000 ------------ 2,445 -------------------- 13,972
May 1944 ---------- 868,000 ------------ 3,248 -------------------- 17,791
September 1944 -- 872,000 ------------ 4,103 -------------------- 17,034

Sources: USSBS, vol 3 and 4, pages 221,222 (vol 3) and pages 216 and 228 (vol 4).
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: Employment in the aircraft industry in the major powers

Post by Guaporense » 12 Jul 2010 01:26

Calculating total value produced for Germany's aircraft industry in terms of airframes:

Based on the third of a power rule for cost reduction in airframe cost to increased scale. This means that the ratio of value of an airframe is the power of 2/3 of the ratio of weight.

---------------------- Production quantity index (may 1941= 100) -- Average weight index (may 1941 = 100) -- Unit value index
May 1941 ---------- 100 -------------------------------------------------- 100 ------------------------------------------- 100
November 1941 --- 86.3 ------------------------------------------------- 122.4 ---------------------------------------- 114.4
May 1942 ---------- 126.8 ------------------------------------------------- 124.7 ---------------------------------------- 115.8
November 1942 --- 126.0 ------------------------------------------------- 118.2 ---------------------------------------- 111.8
May 1943 ---------- 211.8 ------------------------------------------------- 102.9 ---------------------------------------- 101.9
November 1943 --- 200.3 ------------------------------------------------- 110.7 ---------------------------------------- 107.0
January 1944 ------ 235.8 ------------------------------------------------- 90.0 ------------------------------------------ 93.2
May 1944 ---------- 313.2 -------------------------------------------------- 86.3 ----------------------------------------- 90.6
September 1944 -- 395.7 -------------------------------------------------- 65.4 ----------------------------------------- 75.3

---------------------- total value index --- per capita productivity index
May 1941 ---------- 100 ------------------ 100
November 1941 --- 98.7 ----------------- 86.2
May 1942 ---------- 146.8 ---------------- 117.9
November 1942 --- 140.9 ---------------- 108.4
May 1943 ---------- 215.8 ---------------- 160.4
November 1943 --- 214.3 ---------------- 149.6
January 1944 ------ 219.8 ---------------- 143.9
May 1944 ---------- 283.8 ---------------- 179.8
September 1944 -- 298.0 ---------------- 188.0

Note however, that aircraft production takes months between the start of the work and the delivery to the air-force. Hence, for increased rigor employment figures should be averages of the last 6 months before the output data point.
"In tactics, as in strategy, superiority in numbers is the most common element of victory." - Carl von Clausewitz

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Re: Employment in the aircraft industry in the major powers

Post by LWD » 12 Jul 2010 14:24

Guaporense wrote: ...
The proportion of spares in German and US aircraft production was about the same until 1944. In 1944, with the average German plane lasting 15 sorties, they cut the production of spares and concentrated on the production of complete aircraft.
Source please.

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Re: Employment in the aircraft industry in the major powers

Post by bf109 emil » 18 Aug 2010 02:57

Guaporense wrote:Complementing with data for the earlier years:

The German aircraft industry in WW2

---------------------- Employment ------- Production (units) ---- Production (weight, thousands lbs)
May 1941 ---------- 550,000 ------------ 1,037 -------------------- 6,582
November 1941 --- 630,000 ------------ 895 ---------------------- 6,951
May 1942 ---------- 685,000 ------------ 1,315 -------------------- 10,405
November 1942 --- 715,000 ------------ 1,307 -------------------- 9,804
May 1943 ---------- 740,000 ------------ 2,196 -------------------- 14,348
November 1943 --- 788,000 ------------ 2,077 -------------------- 14,596
January 1944 ------ 840,000 ------------ 2,445 -------------------- 13,972
May 1944 ---------- 868,000 ------------ 3,248 -------------------- 17,791
September 1944 -- 872,000 ------------ 4,103 -------------------- 17,034

Sources: USSBS, vol 3 and 4, pages 221,222 (vol 3) and pages 216 and 228 (vol 4).
does it say from what source does USSBS draw it's figures from.
In 1943 the average US airframe worker produced 172,5 lbs of aircraft and spare parts in the 3 month period of may-july 1943. The average German airframe worker produced 116 lbs of aircraft and spare parts.
this sounds about right as the average German airframe worker was a forced labor worker of lower skill.
So the cube root of 4/3 is 1.10064, with means that the German worker productivity was 74% of the American.
German worker? or labor forced to make munitions for the Reich?
However, I only said that the US produced 3 times more airplanes because they had 3 times more men working in airplane production. If course, in 1943, the productivity of the American worker was greater.
??? NO it was 3 times higher because they had the means and finances and industry to make it 3 times higher!!! by your simple logic are we to assume had Germany marched a million people to airplane factories rather then the gas chambers, that they simply could have equaled the USA production numbers by simply equaling the number of forced laborers available??

America employed 3 times as many people in the airplane industry because they had 3 times the economic might, power, resources and ability to do so.

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Re: Employment in the aircraft industry in the major powers

Post by bf109 emil » 26 Aug 2010 06:45

as we can see here by the following, that both forced labor and slaves made up a huge % of german labor...here is a breakdown of each factoryhttp://orbat.com/site/sturmvogel/exhibit.html#exiv

another graph showing the American aircraft industry was vastly superior to germany's Image

Index of Utilization of Manpower in American and German Industries as source here we can see how USA went from being almost equal with Germany in 1941 vastly more efficient and productivehttp://orbat.com/site/sturmvogel/exhibit.html#exiv chart shown 2/3 of the way down page

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Re: Employment in the aircraft industry in the major powers

Post by Boby » 04 Aug 2019 12:36

I have seen other totally different figures on employment in aircraft industry

According to a WiRüAmt position paper of August 1940, there were on 31.7. 908.000
According to Speer memo to Hitler on 20 July 1944, there were 2,330,000

???

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Re: Employment in the aircraft industry in the major powers

Post by Smag » 23 Jan 2020 11:48

Some data about USSR aircraft industry from Simonov N.S. "USSR military industrial complex in 1920-1950-es"
In Russian: http://nozdr.ru/militera/research/simonov_ns/index.html

People's Commissariat of Aviation Industry of the USSR
_____Number of factories__Production area (1000 sq. m)__Machine tools (1000 pcs)__Employers (1000)
1940 100________________3457_______________________41_____________________370,2
1941 135________________4581_______________________58_____________________450,4
1942 136________________5445_______________________77_____________________478,9
1943 147________________7356_______________________85_____________________670,6
1944 164________________7700_______________________87_____________________732,6
1945 171________________8461_______________________93_____________________715,0
1946 158________________7890_______________________106____________________623,3

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Re: Employment in the aircraft industry in the major powers

Post by HistoryGeek2019 » 24 Jan 2020 15:04

OP's figures are definitely wrong. Germany employed 1.8 million workers in the aircraft industry by 1941 according to Richard Overy in War, Economy and the Third Reich.

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Re: Employment in the aircraft industry in the major powers

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Jan 2020 19:52

HistoryGeek2019 wrote:
24 Jan 2020 15:04
OP's figures are definitely wrong. Germany employed 1.8 million workers in the aircraft industry by 1941 according to Richard Overy in War, Economy and the Third Reich.
My guess is the discrepancy traces to the OP including only airframe and engine manufacture. Most of the work goes into the thousands of subcomponents required for a plane; final assembly isn't even half the story. Do you have comparable figures for the U.S. aircraft industry? Looks like OP used the same standard there, so at least his ratio might be in the ballpark.

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