Re: [OPE-L] Intensities of labour

From: Jerry Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Sat May 13 2006 - 22:15:18 EDT

Hi Jurriaan,

Sure, if you can find branches of production where technological change
hasn't occurred in the period studied yet less (or the same) workers
working less (or the same) working hours produce more output, then
one could attribute that increase in productivity to increased labor
intensity.  It's not so easy, generally, to come to such a conclusion
because within a branch of production there is often technological
change _and_ (simultaneously) changes in labor intensity.  To what
extent workers are producing more output is also difficult to ascertain
when the product mix is heterogeneous.

In the case of the airline industry which you cited, I wonder whether
there was a decline in customer services.  In the context of deregulation,
the maintenance schedules could have also been cut back.  One could
be able, for instance, to think of *rationalization* (or perhaps I should
have said "rationalization") occurring even in the absence of
technological change or changes in labor intensity.

In solidarity, Jerry

> Tuesday, November 15, 2005 - U.S. scheduled passenger airlines employed
> 436,350 workers in September 2005, 5.5 percent *fewer* than in September
> 2004, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation
> Statistics (BTS) reported. The decline was almost totally due to a decline
> in fulltime staff, the level of parttime staff is justabout the same.
> Yet, on November 10, 2005 the BTS also reported that U.S. airlines carried
> 5.2 percent *more* domestic passengers and flew 1.6 percent *more*
> domestic  flights during the first eight months of 2005 than they did
> during the same period in 2004.

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