Womanpower in Mobilization

January 24, 1951

Report Outline
Woman as a National Labor Resource
Women in Military Service and Civil Defense
Problems of Utilizing Women in Industry
Community Services for Working Women
Special Focus

Woman as a National Labor Resource

Rapid expansion of personnel and materiel requirements of the armed services, with civilian employment already at an all-time high, is forcing consideration of how best to tap the country's largest labor reserve: women not now working outside their homes. President Truman told Congress in his annual economic report, Jan. 12, that present defense targets will call for “probably not less than four million more workers in defense production” by the end of 1951 and nearly a million more men and women in the armed forces. Secretary of Labor Tobin had stated earlier that manpower would be “the most significant limiting factor” in all-out mobilization.

Certain reservoirs it was possible to tap at the start of the last major defense effort now stand at much lower levels. The unemployed, who numbered over eight million in 1940, now number only about two million. Owing to low depression birth rates, the number of teen-agers in the population is less by about two million than in 1940, and the number of young people of 20 to 24 is no larger than ten years ago. These age groups furnish most of the annual addition to the labor force in normal times and manpower for the armed forces in time of war.

Employed workers, like the population as a whole, are on the average older than in 1940, and the labor force is therefore somewhat less flexible. Another factor making for inflexibility within the group already employed is the considerable expansion of pension plans and other benefits which tend to inhibit movement from one job to another.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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