Business: Inadequate Indicators

In wage negotiations, a key statistic for comparing different industries usually is the Government's figures on hourly earnings. But last week U.S. Steel Corp., the nation's largest steel producer, questioned the accuracy of the figures. Said its annual report, in which Chairman Roger Miles Blough reported a 15½% drop in earnings because of the steel strike: the Government's "widely quoted data on average hourly earnings are no longer representative of total employment costs" and are "completely inadequate as an indicator of an hour's work."

Blough and fellow steel executives charge that the steel industry's average basic wage rate of $3.10 quoted by...

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