EMPLOYMENT: Contrasts

A neat anomaly was to be found last week in the statistics of 1939's war boom. In October the Federal Reserve production index reached 120, past its 1937 peak of 118. Yet October employment (up 1,250,000 from 1938, according to Madam Secretary Perkins) was down by more than 1,000,000 men from 1937's peak.

In part this contrast may be due to screwy statistics (the production index is heavily weighted by certain industries), but in large part it represents technological improvements. For if improved machinery increases output per man, it is perfectly possible to...