Superior productivity of American industrial workers

Discussions on the economic history of the nations taking part in WW2, from the recovery after the depression until the economy at war.
User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 2602
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: Superior productivity of American industrial workers

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 11 Jul 2021 18:31

KDF33 wrote:
11 Jul 2021 17:50
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
11 Jul 2021 17:45
I'm confused. What role is your upthread (or other thread?) spreadsheet of German production by "empty weight" (as opposed to USSBS's "airframe weight) playing?
The USSBS gave the same figures, in one table, as pounds, and in another table, as metric tons. However, the table here clarifies unambiguously that it is calculated in pounds, therefore indicating that the 'metric tons' table has a typo. Therefore, I can now use the USSBS data (in pounds) rather than having to recalculate everything using Wiki's 'empty weight' figures.
Thanks. I thought you had identified an error/discrepancy in the USSBS's "frame weight" - that USSBS was using max takeoff weight or something for "frame weight" instead of empty weight.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4225
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Superior productivity of American industrial workers

Post by Richard Anderson » 11 Jul 2021 18:38

KDF33 wrote:
11 Jul 2021 07:58
I should have been clearer. Not just 'assemble', but 'build and assemble'. The USSBS is very clear that the figure includes subcontractors. It even has the breakdown for October 1944.
Indeed, the USSBS counted all prime and sub workers both directly and indirectly involved in all aspects of manufacture and assembly. Estimating 425,000 in October 1944 and a work week of 60 hours equals 25,500,000 work hours. Bulletin 800 data ends August 1944, but the trend was clear, employment in the airframe industry was declining 19,000 per month, so October may be estimated as 731,000. The work week in the US in October 1944 was 45.6 hours, which equals 33,333,600 work hours.

Airframes completed by type, October 1944 Germany/US

4-engine bomber 0/1,199
2 engine bomber 326/618
1-engine bomber 0/695
2-3ngine fighter 238/440
1-engine fighter 2,735/2,865

So with roughly two-thirds the working hours, Germany came close to matching productivity in single engine fighters.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

historygeek2021
Member
Posts: 425
Joined: 17 Dec 2020 06:23
Location: America

Re: Superior productivity of American industrial workers

Post by historygeek2021 » 11 Jul 2021 18:56

Richard Anderson wrote:
11 Jul 2021 18:38
KDF33 wrote:
11 Jul 2021 07:58
I should have been clearer. Not just 'assemble', but 'build and assemble'. The USSBS is very clear that the figure includes subcontractors. It even has the breakdown for October 1944.
Indeed, the USSBS counted all prime and sub workers both directly and indirectly involved in all aspects of manufacture and assembly. Estimating 425,000 in October 1944 and a work week of 60 hours equals 25,500,000 work hours. Bulletin 800 data ends August 1944, but the trend was clear, employment in the airframe industry was declining 19,000 per month, so October may be estimated as 731,000. The work week in the US in October 1944 was 45.6 hours, which equals 33,333,600 work hours.

Airframes completed by type, October 1944 Germany/US

4-engine bomber 0/1,199
2 engine bomber 326/618
1-engine bomber 0/695
2-3ngine fighter 238/440
1-engine fighter 2,735/2,865

So with roughly two-thirds the working hours, Germany came close to matching productivity in single engine fighters.
DRZW Vol V II states that in the spring of 1944, a 72 hour work week was imposed on the German aircraft industry, which puts Germany at 30,600,000 work hours vs 33,333,600 for the USA.

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4225
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Superior productivity of American industrial workers

Post by Richard Anderson » 11 Jul 2021 19:43

historygeek2021 wrote:
11 Jul 2021 18:56
DRZW Vol V II states that in the spring of 1944, a 72 hour work week was imposed on the German aircraft industry, which puts Germany at 30,600,000 work hours vs 33,333,600 for the USA.
Shhhh! :lol: Note also that Bulletin 800 stated that the downward trend in US aircraft industry employment in 1944 was matched by an upward trend in US aircraft industry output. I don't think the same was true in Germany?

Hey, should we examine productivity in the engine manufacturing sector? I wonder where the engines for all those airframes stacked around the aircraft centers in Germany were?
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

KDF33
Member
Posts: 943
Joined: 17 Nov 2012 01:16

Re: Superior productivity of American industrial workers

Post by KDF33 » 11 Jul 2021 22:52

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
10 Jul 2021 06:12
Nice work.
I've created two new, better tables. The first is roughly for the 'pre-bombing period', January 1942 to June 1943:

Image

The second is for the period of strategic bombing, July 1943 to December 1944. Note that most July 1943 bombing occurred between July 25th and 30th ('Blitz Week'), so most of the effect would show in August:

Image

'Output' is weight of airframes + spares, in pounds. 'Avg. labor' is the average of the airframe workforce (including subcontractors) for the first and last day of the month. 'Lbs/worker' is 'Output' / 'Avg. labor'. 'USAAF bmb' is the bomb tonnage (unclear if in metric or short tons) dropped on German aircraft industry by the 8th and 15th Air Forces.

The productivity ratios, per 6-month periods, are:

01/42 - 06/42: German industry has 65% of U.S. productivity
07/42 - 12/42: German industry has 67% of U.S. productivity
01/43 - 06/43: German industry has 76% of U.S. productivity
07/43 - 12/43: German industry has 58% of U.S. productivity
01/44 - 06/44: German industry has 41% of U.S. productivity
07/44 - 08/44: German industry has 54% of U.S. productivity (2 months)

The fall in German productivity coincides to the month (August 1943) with the beginning of sustained strategic bombing on aircraft production targets.

Sources used:

-German output
-German workforce
-Tonnage dropped on German aircraft industry
-American output (p. 2, sixth column)
-American workforce (p. 22, Table 10)

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 2602
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: Superior productivity of American industrial workers

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 11 Jul 2021 23:01

KDF33 wrote:
11 Jul 2021 22:52
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
10 Jul 2021 06:12
Nice work.
I've created two new, better tables.
Very helpful again.

I would suggest revising the pre-/post-bombing division to reflect RAF's Battle of the Ruhr campaign. As Tooze writes in WoD, this campaign created from February '43 the Zulieferungskrise (subcomponents crisis).

Because the crisis began affecting subcomponents output in Feb 43, and because subcomponents take time to flow through the supply chain, Feb '43 is the relative apex of German productivity. This is perhaps a powerful piece of evidence supporting Tooze's revisionist history of the bombing campaign.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

KDF33
Member
Posts: 943
Joined: 17 Nov 2012 01:16

Re: Superior productivity of American industrial workers

Post by KDF33 » 11 Jul 2021 23:50

Richard Anderson wrote:
11 Jul 2021 19:43
Shhhh! :lol: Note also that Bulletin 800 stated that the downward trend in US aircraft industry employment in 1944 was matched by an upward trend in US aircraft industry output. I don't think the same was true in Germany?
Of course. By October 1944 the German aircraft industry - to say nothing of German industry and society in general - was collapsing due to the destruction of the transport infrastructure.
Richard Anderson wrote:
11 Jul 2021 19:43
Hey, should we examine productivity in the engine manufacturing sector?
We should. Do you have data on the respective German and American workforces?

historygeek2021
Member
Posts: 425
Joined: 17 Dec 2020 06:23
Location: America

Re: Superior productivity of American industrial workers

Post by historygeek2021 » 12 Jul 2021 03:22

KDF33 wrote:
11 Jul 2021 07:20

For the time being, the only sector where we have a clear idea of what we are comparing is the airframes industry, including subcontractors for both countries. And here it shows:
While airframe assembly may be the only component of the aircraft industry for which we have a source on monthly employment in both Germany and the United States, we have other sources giving us data on overall employment in the aircraft industry in each country at various times:
  • USSBS page 153 tells us that the German aircraft industry employed 1.35 million workers on August 1, 1941.
  • DRZW Vol V I/B, page 902, describes 480,000 out of 907,965 Luftwaffe armaments employees on August 1, 1940 as engaged in aircraft building (52%).
  • DRZW Vol V I/B, page 1068, tells us that the German aircraft industry employed 1.3 million workers in June, 1941.
  • DRZW Vol V I/B, page 1086, gives quarterly figures for Luftwaffe manufacturing workers from 2Q 1941 through 2Q 1942: 1,234,738 to 1,696,878.
  • DRZW Vol V II/B, page 852, states that the German aircraft industry employed 1.85 million workers in the summer of 1942.
If we extrapolate the 52% figure from the second bullet point in the above list based on overall trends in German aircraft industry employment, we get a slightly higher estimate of aircraft building workers in mid-1943 than the source we have been using for the 935,000 figure for that period. While you are right that it is possibile that certain items, such as weapons, are included in the German figures for direct aircraft assembly but not in the U.S. figures, the USSBS report, page 182, shows that aircraft weapons represented a miniscule portion of German armaments spending relative to aircraft production, so it would only affect our calculations by a miniscule amount.

Taking all of the foregoing into account, I come up with the following estimates of German and US aircraft manufacturing productivity using the various data points identified in this thread:
WW2 Air Productivity Compilation.png
Taking into account the average workweek in the United States and Germany, we get the following estimate of hourly productivity in each country:
WW2 Air Productivity Compilation Hourly.png
Not surprisingly, when we consider more than just direct airframe production, and the closer we get to taking into account all aircraft industry employees in both countries, the more apparent the productivity advantage of the United States becomes. This is because Germany had considerably more plant and equipment available for airframe production than other components, and airframe production exceeded that of aircraft engines, even though the former was the principal target of U.S. bombing (see USSBS page 158). With more plant and equipment devoted to airframe production, German airframe employees were more productive than their counterparts in other branches of the aircraft industry.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

KDF33
Member
Posts: 943
Joined: 17 Nov 2012 01:16

Re: Superior productivity of American industrial workers

Post by KDF33 » 12 Jul 2021 05:15

historygeek2021 wrote:
12 Jul 2021 03:22
While airframe assembly may be the only component of the aircraft industry for which we have a source on monthly employment in both Germany and the United States, we have other sources giving us data on overall employment in the aircraft industry in each country at various times:
We do, but we must be careful in assessing them. To wit:
historygeek2021 wrote:
12 Jul 2021 03:22
USSBS page 153 tells us that the German aircraft industry employed 1.35 million workers on August 1, 1941.
Here the USSBS is being sloppy. The quoted figure doesn't account for 'workers in aircraft production', but rather, as the very same report (!) shows here, for 'workers producing for the Luftwaffe'.
historygeek2021 wrote:
12 Jul 2021 03:22
DRZW Vol V I/B, page 902, describes 480,000 out of 907,965 Luftwaffe armaments employees on August 1, 1940 as engaged in aircraft building (52%).
A figure completely in line with the data I have presented in this thread. Incidentally, it makes evident that 'aircraft production' isn't synonymous with 'Luftwaffe production'.
historygeek2021 wrote:
12 Jul 2021 03:22
DRZW Vol V I/B, page 1068, tells us that the German aircraft industry employed 1.3 million workers in June, 1941.
Again, see here.
historygeek2021 wrote:
12 Jul 2021 03:22
DRZW Vol V I/B, page 1086, gives quarterly figures for Luftwaffe manufacturing workers from 2Q 1941 through 2Q 1942: 1,234,738 to 1,696,878
Which roughly matches the figures from the USSBS:

6/30/41: 1,519,000
12/31/41: 1,762,000
6/30/42: 1,822,000

Again, 'Luftwaffe production' is a wider category than 'aircraft production'. Among other things, it includes ammunition (including aerial bombs), Flak, radar installations, etc.
historygeek2021 wrote:
12 Jul 2021 03:22
DRZW Vol V II/B, page 852, states that the German aircraft industry employed 1.85 million workers in the summer of 1942.
More sloppy writing from DRZW - or maybe the translator? Compare to 'Air force employment' for 1942:

Image
historygeek2021 wrote:
12 Jul 2021 03:22
Wartime Development of the Aircraft Industry, Bulletin 800, Table 1, gives us total employment numbers for the U.S. aircraft industry on a monthly basis.
Indeed, it does. The question is whether or not it is directly comparable to the German figure of 935,000 workers for 3Q43.
historygeek2021 wrote:
12 Jul 2021 03:22
If we extrapolate the 52% figure from the second bullet point in the above list based on overall trends in German aircraft industry employment, we get a slightly higher estimate of aircraft building workers in mid-1943 than the source we have been using for the 935,000 figure for that period.
Why would we extrapolate when we have actual data? Besides, it would make sense for that % to go down, given how the overall armaments production's share for AA guns and ammunition increased quickly after 1940.
historygeek2021 wrote:
12 Jul 2021 03:22
While you are right that it is possibile that certain items, such as weapons, are included in the German figures for direct aircraft assembly but not in the U.S. figures, the USSBS report, page 182, shows that aircraft weapons represented a miniscule portion of German armaments spending relative to aircraft production, so it would only affect our calculations by a miniscule amount.
For 3Q43, it is ~10% of weapons production. Based on 30,000 workers on 'Submarine weapons' and 241,000 on 'Weapons', this would give us 30,000 workers employed on 'Aircraft weapons'. Incidentally, the USSBS table on p. 182 shows the share of 'Air Force' and 'Navy' weapons to be comparable during that period.

Throw in radios, airborne radars for night fighters, or any other miscellaneous equipment not covered by the U.S. data in 'Wartime Development of the Aircraft Industry' and the 935,000 shrinks further.

Again, my point is that until we know what we are comparing, it is difficult to say anything conclusively. What we do know for now is the airframe workforce ratios:

1941: 124% of the U.S. workforce (without January)
1942: 59% of the U.S. workforce
1943: 35% of the U.S. workforce
1944: 41% of the U.S. workforce (January - August only)

We also know that German productivity declined precipitously starting in August 1943, which coincides with the beginning of large-scale USAAF attacks on aircraft production targets.
historygeek2021 wrote:
12 Jul 2021 03:22
Taking all of the foregoing into account, I come up with the following estimates of German and US aircraft manufacturing productivity using the various data points identified in this thread:
We can already discount the 4th table, 'All Aircraft Industry', given that it doesn't actually show data for the German aircraft industry.

The same can be said of the 3rd table - there is absolutely no reason to assume that the figure of '935,000' is comparable to the U.S.'s 'prime contractors'. In fact, the sensible assumption is that it includes subcontractors and parts suppliers - i.e., the 'Specialized components' mentioned in the header.

The other two tables more-or-less compare valid data, although some descriptors are wrong - i.e., the 2nd table's dates for airframe production are a three-month period (May-July), whereas the dates for workforce numbers are always May 31st.
historygeek2021 wrote:
12 Jul 2021 03:22
Taking into account the average workweek in the United States and Germany, we get the following estimate of hourly productivity in each country:
We don't actually know what the average German work week was. The USSBS gives unclear, contradictory information:

Image

First, it tells us that the pre-Fighter Staff work week was 'between 50 to 60 hours', and not '60 hours'. Second, it notes that 'time and one-quarter' was introduced for work 'over 48 hours', an odd statement in the context of an industry where the work week was supposedly already 'between 50 to 60 hours'.

Even the Fighter Staff's fabled '72-hour work week' doesn't seem to have been the average:

Image

Although I am confident that the German work week was somewhat longer than its American counterpart, the extent of the difference is very much an open question at this time.
historygeek2021 wrote:
12 Jul 2021 03:22
Not surprisingly, when we consider more than just direct airframe production, and the closer we get to taking into account all aircraft industry employees in both countries, the more apparent the productivity advantage of the United States becomes.
This is a premature conclusion. Perhaps we should refocus our research effort, first, to finding data similar to that for airframes, but this time for German engines and propellers production. That would allow us, in turn, to compare the lion's share of the German and U.S. aircraft industries.
historygeek2021 wrote:
12 Jul 2021 03:22
With more plant and equipment devoted to airframe production, German airframe employees were more productive than their counterparts in other branches of the aircraft industry.
I don't think we know that. Even if true, the question of the magnitude of the differential is important.

We need more data.

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 2602
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: Superior productivity of American industrial workers

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 12 Jul 2021 06:51

Others have done most of the work in this thread (and I appreciate that work); I haven't so far taken a strong stance on relative productivity figures other than American was probably higher but not due to the Fordism myth. So I hope I can play a somewhat-neutral observer part.

On analysis of what happened on factory floors, I'm inclined towards KDF's view that, properly adjusted for factors like slavery/bombing/dispersal, German-US labor differential is in the neighborhood KDF suggests. Indeed, because I think later-war German production should be given more credit, and because I don't agree with KDF's suggestion that trainers ameliorate higher-than-German average American frame weights, I think KDF is understating his case regarding late-war German productivity.

I lean towards KDF's view on factory-floor productivity because of exchanges like this:
KDF33 wrote:
12 Jul 2021 05:15
historygeek2021 wrote:
12 Jul 2021 03:22
While airframe assembly may be the only component of the aircraft industry for which we have a source on monthly employment in both Germany and the United States, we have other sources giving us data on overall employment in the aircraft industry in each country at various times:
We do, but we must be careful in assessing them. To wit:
...it is very clear that LW production encompassed much more than airframe production. This is an understandable metric, however - Nobel-prize winning economist John Kenneth Galbraith supervised the USSBS.

KDF is insisting on apples-apples comparisons and, though I've expressed doubts on how much certainty we can gain before we've counted apples in the relative bushels, he seems to have maintained more consistency on that point.

---------------------

HG21, however, invites taking a broader view - IMO more accurate at certain levels of description - of US v. German production efficiency, one that implicitly looks beyond the factory floor. His OP and subsequent posts invoke total raw/intermediate materials stats like steel, aluminum, and coal production.

I promised upthread to argue that American advantages lay particularly in these fields but, given other demands this weekend, didn't get around to that yet. For now I'll just point out that, per the 1940 U.S. Census, US had 1,110 thousand miners while in 1943, per USSBS, Germany had 903 thousand miners [USSBS Germany overall, table 15]. Compare that small differential to the vast differences in oil, coal, and ore mining outputs [and my USSBS stat might be for only prewar Germany].

An aircraft embodies many tons of coal and ores - not just in its flying weight but also in the energy (mostly from coal) needed to make aluminum from bauxite, to keep factory lights on, to transport workers, and to run machine tools (inter alia). The construction industry underlying aircraft factories (and every other related industry) likewise relies on the efficiency of those primary industries (e.g. railways need efficient construction). These non-aviation efficiencies would be reflected in the relative non-labor costs paid by airframe firms (for electricity, plant construction, raw materials) rather than in aviation firms' relative in-house or subcontracted workforces. As I've discussed elsewhere, there's good evidence that German aviation firms' direct labor costs were surprisingly low against total costs.

For those reasons, I'd expect the US to exceed Germany - overall - by a greater measure than the relative productivity of Boeing vs. Junkers employees and subs. Even were this metric very close, the US would see significantly greater production due to other input factors.

I invite HG21 or others to explore this avenue of analysis in greater detail (and/or I will, but can't say when).

-------------------

On broader (war-determining) questions most thread-readers will know that I lean more towards KDF's position than HG21's: economics is a big thing but not the only thing. In addition, to the extent that HG21 wants to reduce economic potential to raw/intermediate materials outputs, he's biasing the analysis homeward.

Somewhat ironically, I suspect that the US was the WW2 power best-positioned to focus its economic power on ground warfare: there steel and coal figure more prominently, as army ammunition (by far the biggest expenditure item for armies) is the nearest thing to flying chunks of steel. Additionally, the US chemical industry, aided by cheap access to vast petroleum, was probably best-positioned to fill those chunks of steel with mayhem. Plus tanks and artillery are closer to the primary/raw industries than is aircraft manufacture.

But that's not the war the US fought or wanted to fight: We focused on air power in our European war, a domain in which - even though we were more efficient than Germany - we didn't show our greatest potential relative economic strength. Query whether we were willing to show it.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

Richard Anderson
Member
Posts: 4225
Joined: 01 Jan 2016 21:21
Location: Bremerton, Washington

Re: Superior productivity of American industrial workers

Post by Richard Anderson » 12 Jul 2021 15:58

KDF33 wrote:
12 Jul 2021 05:15
We don't actually know what the average German work week was. The USSBS gives unclear, contradictory information:

Image

First, it tells us that the pre-Fighter Staff work week was 'between 50 to 60 hours', and not '60 hours'. Second, it notes that 'time and one-quarter' was introduced for work 'over 48 hours', an odd statement in the context of an industry where the work week was supposedly already 'between 50 to 60 hours'.
It is referring to two different things. 'Time and one-quarter' refers to the compensation. It was for any work 'over 48 hours' per week and is unrelated to the mandated length of the work week. In other words, it is forced overtime.

It is also obvious that every work week was not '60 hours', since such would rapidly lead to exhaustion and loss of efficiency of the workforce, something I am all too familiar with. So, yes, the average was probably somewhere between 50 and 60 hours per week, just as in the US the work week in October 1944 was not mandated as 45.6 hours, but actually averaged that.
Even the Fighter Staff's fabled '72-hour work week' doesn't seem to have been the average:
Of course, since a 72-hour work week is impractical, unless the objective is to reduce efficiency and quality. That may have been a slogan-based objective, but I doubt anyone ever really thought it achievable as an industry-wide goal.
Although I am confident that the German work week was somewhat longer than its American counterpart, the extent of the difference is very much an open question at this time.
Well, '50 to 60 hours' sounds like 55 hours may be a good WAG, compared to the American average, which was known, without running the numbers, the 1944 average was around 46 hours, so call it 9 more hours or around 20% more than the American work week. Given the lack of hard data that is probably as reasonable an estimate as any of the many other estimates being bruited about here.
This is a premature conclusion. Perhaps we should refocus our research effort, first, to finding data similar to that for airframes, but this time for German engines and propellers production. That would allow us, in turn, to compare the lion's share of the German and U.S. aircraft industries.
Sadly, as ever, it seems the German data has numerous holes in it. The last time I looked I don't recall finding any solid data in the various industry or physical damage reports on employment by engine manufacturers. I suspect the data was recorded by various ministries, but where it can be accessed is another question.
I don't think we know that. Even if true, the question of the magnitude of the differential is important.

We need more data.
Indeed.
"Is all this pretentious pseudo intellectual citing of sources REALLY necessary? It gets in the way of a good, spirited debate, destroys the cadence." POD, 6 October 2018

historygeek2021
Member
Posts: 425
Joined: 17 Dec 2020 06:23
Location: America

Re: Superior productivity of American industrial workers

Post by historygeek2021 » 12 Jul 2021 17:05

KDF33 wrote:
12 Jul 2021 05:15

Here the USSBS is being sloppy. The quoted figure doesn't account for 'workers in aircraft production', but rather, as the very same report (!) shows here, for 'workers producing for the Luftwaffe'.
No, Appendix Table 13 shows 1,519,000 German workers producing end products for the Luftwaffe on June 30, 1941. The USSBS report page 153 states that 1.35 million were working on aircraft production on August 1, 1941. Page 153 is telling us the subset of the workers in Table 13 that were working on aircraft production (off by a few months).
historygeek2021 wrote:
12 Jul 2021 03:22
DRZW Vol V I/B, page 902, describes 480,000 out of 907,965 Luftwaffe armaments employees on August 1, 1940 as engaged in aircraft building (52%).
A figure completely in line with the data I have presented in this thread. Incidentally, it makes evident that 'aircraft production' isn't synonymous with 'Luftwaffe production'.
It's in line with only one data point presented in this thread - the figure of 935,000 German aircraft workers in spring 1943, thus adding weight that that figure is a good estimate of German workers on airframes, engines and propellers (since we know from the USSBS above and DRZW below that the total aircraft workforce was still higher).
historygeek2021 wrote:
12 Jul 2021 03:22
DRZW Vol V I/B, page 1068, tells us that the German aircraft industry employed 1.3 million workers in June, 1941.
Again, see here.
Same point as above. 1.3 million on aircraft production is a subset of the 1.5 million working for the Luftwaffe.
historygeek2021 wrote:
12 Jul 2021 03:22
DRZW Vol V I/B, page 1086, gives quarterly figures for Luftwaffe manufacturing workers from 2Q 1941 through 2Q 1942: 1,234,738 to 1,696,878
Which roughly matches the figures from the USSBS:

6/30/41: 1,519,000
12/31/41: 1,762,000
6/30/42: 1,822,000

Again, 'Luftwaffe production' is a wider category than 'aircraft production'. Among other things, it includes ammunition (including aerial bombs), Flak, radar installations, etc.
It matches the foregoing data showing that this is the subset of Luftwaffe manufacturing employees who were working on aircraft production.
historygeek2021 wrote:
12 Jul 2021 03:22
DRZW Vol V II/B, page 852, states that the German aircraft industry employed 1.85 million workers in the summer of 1942.
More sloppy writing from DRZW - or maybe the translator? Compare to 'Air force employment' for 1942:
Dismissing the writing of Germany's foremost scholars on the Second World War as "sloppy" because of a potential inconsistency with data from other sources isn't helpful.
Why would we extrapolate when we have actual data?
The only "actual data" we have according to you is a hand-drawn chart in one USSBS report, limited solely to airframe production. We have other data showing total aircraft workers, and we have trends in overall workforce growth rate, so we can make estimates of inputs and outputs at various times, i.e., extrapolate.
Again, my point is that until we know what we are comparing, it is difficult to say anything conclusively.
Agreed. This is far from conclusive. It is at best a preliminary estimate showing the U.S. productivity advantage in the aircraft industry during WW2.

KDF33
Member
Posts: 943
Joined: 17 Nov 2012 01:16

Re: Superior productivity of American industrial workers

Post by KDF33 » 12 Jul 2021 23:42

historygeek2021 wrote:
12 Jul 2021 17:05
No, Appendix Table 13 shows 1,519,000 German workers producing end products for the Luftwaffe on June 30, 1941. The USSBS report page 153 states that 1.35 million were working on aircraft production on August 1, 1941. Page 153 is telling us the subset of the workers in Table 13 that were working on aircraft production (off by a few months).
That's an unsupported conclusion. For all we know, the figure of '1.35 million' is from a planning document, whereas the actual workforce attained on 6/30/1941 was slightly higher. It defies credulity to believe that in the summer of 1941, the Luftwaffe had 1,350,000 workers employed on aircraft production and merely 169,000 on everything else, from ordnance to radars to Flak to non-armaments production.
historygeek2021 wrote:
12 Jul 2021 17:05
It's in line with only one data point presented in this thread - the figure of 935,000 German aircraft workers in spring 1943, thus adding weight that that figure is a good estimate of German workers on airframes, engines and propellers (since we know from the USSBS above and DRZW below that the total aircraft workforce was still higher).
Actually, it's also in line with the time series for employment on airframes and engines:

Workers on engines, 1/1942: 194,000
Workers on airframes, 3Q43: 382,333 (average)
Workers on engines, 3/1944: 310,000

Total: 576,333 - 692,333 / 935,000

Are we to believe that the Germans employed 242,667 - 358,667 workers on propellers production, against ~70,000 for the U.S. over the same period?

Besides, you quoted DRZW thus: '480,000 out of 907,965 Luftwaffe armaments employees on August 1, 1940 as engaged in aircraft building'. That leaves 427,965 not engaged in 'aircraft building'. Going by the figure of 1.35 million mentioned in your first point, are we now to believe that between 8/1/1940 and summer 1941, that number shrank to just 169,000?
historygeek2021 wrote:
12 Jul 2021 17:05
Same point as above. 1.3 million on aircraft production is a subset of the 1.5 million working for the Luftwaffe.
Same point as above for me too. Besides, could you post a screen caption of the specific quote from DRZW, as well as the source quoted?
historygeek2021 wrote:
12 Jul 2021 17:05
It matches the foregoing data showing that this is the subset of Luftwaffe manufacturing employees who were working on aircraft production.
Hardly. Besides, now DRZW calls it 'Luftwaffe manufacturing' rather than 'aircraft production'. Again, posting a screen caption would be helpful, as well as the source used by DRZW.
historygeek2021 wrote:
12 Jul 2021 17:05
Dismissing the writing of Germany's foremost scholars on the Second World War as "sloppy" because of a potential inconsistency with data from other sources isn't helpful.
I'm not dismissing their work. I'm dismissing the validity of their use of the term 'aircraft industry' rather than 'industry producing for the Luftwaffe'. Besides, the issue here is not one of inconsistency, but rather consistency: the DRZW figure for summer 1942 is virtually identical (1,850,000 for 'summer 1942' to 1,822,000 for 6/30/42) to that of the USSBS, the latter being clear about what its numbers account for.
historygeek2021 wrote:
12 Jul 2021 17:05
The only "actual data" we have according to you is a hand-drawn chart in one USSBS report, limited solely to airframe production. We have other data showing total aircraft workers, and we have trends in overall workforce growth rate, so we can make estimates of inputs and outputs at various times, i.e., extrapolate.
Apart from the chart, we have the following data points:

Airframe industry, including subcontractors (matches the chart):

5/31/41: 291,000
5/31/42: 340,000
5/31/43: 373,000
5/31/44: 460,000
10/31/44: 425,000

Aero-engine industry:

1/42: 194,000
3/44: 310,000

Airframes, Aircraft engines, Aircraft equipment:

Q3/43: 935,000

Aircraft (subset of 'Machinery, transportation and other industrial equipment'):

5/31/41: 550,000
11/30/41: 630,000
5/31/42: 685,000
11/30/42: 715,000
5/31/43: 740,000
11/30/43: 788,000
1/31/44: 840,000
3/31/44: 847,000
5/31/44: 868,000
7/31/44: 873,000
historygeek2021 wrote:
12 Jul 2021 17:05
Agreed. This is far from conclusive. It is at best a preliminary estimate showing the U.S. productivity advantage in the aircraft industry during WW2.
You wrote previously:
historygeek2021 wrote:
10 Jul 2021 22:46
The obvious conclusion of this thread is that the U.S. industrial workforce was far more productive than the German industrial workforce, and that therefore, even if Germany had been able to increase the size of its industrial labor force, it never could have come close to matching U.S. industrial output
As I see it, all the data* presented in this thread shows that the U.S. was somewhat more productive (IMO, when we factor in lower slave labor productivity and the effects of bombing and dispersal, by ~25%) than Germany. Had Germany committed a comparable number of prime workers to industry, I would tentatively conclude that they would have reached ~80% of the U.S. output. They obviously couldn't do that, since their prime workforce was busy killing and dying in Russia.

*Admittedly almost entirely related to the aircraft industry.

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 2602
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: Superior productivity of American industrial workers

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 13 Jul 2021 01:02

KDF33 wrote:
12 Jul 2021 23:42
historygeek2021 wrote:
12 Jul 2021 17:05
Same point as above. 1.3 million on aircraft production is a subset of the 1.5 million working for the Luftwaffe.
Same point as above for me too. Besides, could you post a screen caption of the specific quote from DRZW, as well as the source quoted?
Here, with some context:

Image

Minor nitpick, guys: could we cite pages in the English translation as "GSWW" and the German as "DRZW"? The German language being ridiculous, DRZW is longer and page cites different.
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

User avatar
TheMarcksPlan
Member
Posts: 2602
Joined: 15 Jan 2019 22:32
Location: USA

Re: Superior productivity of American industrial workers

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 13 Jul 2021 01:19

historygeek2021 wrote:DRZW Vol V I/B, page 902, describes 480,000 out of 907,965 Luftwaffe armaments employees on August 1, 1940 as engaged in aircraft building (52%).
Image
https://medium.com/counterfactualww2
"The whole question of whether we win or lose the war depends on the Russians." - FDR, June 1942

Return to “Economy”