Based on their themes, the tables of this chapter can be grouped into two categories, one of which deals with production and the other with production conditions.
Production and Value Added
There is no publication for the second sector comparable to the Swiss Farmers Office official production and value added statistic. Nevertheless, it is possible to more or less reliably reconstruct the evolution of Switzerland’s industrial production for the last century and a half. Value added at the branch level were retrospectively estimated for the period between 1851 and 1913 some time ago by the Research Institute for Swiss Social and Economic History of the University of Zurich (“Forschungsstelle für schweizerische Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte der Universität Zürich”), and by the St. Gall Center for Future Research (“St. Galler Zentrum für Zukunftsforschung”) for the years 1960–1990. The value added of some of the larger branches for the period 1910–1960 will be computed within the context of another project planned by the Zurich Research Institute.
Despite the lack of production data for the core branches of Swiss industry, the Swiss Statistical Office attempted as early as the mid-1920s to plot the path of the Swiss industrial economy through partial tallies at the plant level. The procedure consisted of asking plant owners to perform “a subjective evaluation of the employment situation” by ranking it as “good, satisfactory, bad, or not determined” (Federal Office for Industry, Trade, and Labor: Handbook of Swiss social statistics 1932–1971). The evaluations given by plant owners were classified by branch by the Federal Statistical Bureau and later by the Federal Office for Industry, Trade, and Labor (BIGA/OFIAMT) and processed into the socalled situation assessment numbers. The BIGA/ OFIAMT employed this practice until the year 1968, but by 1958 also started to use numbers aggregated by associations and to perform direct tallies, the results of which were published in the Statistical Yearbook of Switzerland. The Office computed the master index – the “Index of Swiss Industrial Production” – by estimating for a given year (1964) the absolute weight of individual branches of the net value of industrial production, and transferring the percentage with which the branches participated in overall production to the preceding and following years.
Thomas David recently attempted to generate such index series for earlier decades as well. David’s estimates of the path of Swiss industrial production, divided into branches, covers the period of 1914–1945 and features many dramatic jumps. A further set of estimates of second sector branch production and value added originates from the “skunk works” of the Research Institute for Swiss Social and Economic History of the University of Zurich and covers the period of 1851–1913. In the table section of this chapter, it is primarily the results of studies by Peter Dudzik, Jutta Schwarz, Michael Bernegger and Erich Projer which we present. The last-mentioned contribution can, for the time being, be seen as the final word, as Projer managed to estimate the nominal value added of the industrial sector for the entire period of 1851–1913, partially based on the study results by Dudzik, Schwarz, and Bernegger, and partially based on his own review of sources. Even though this estimate is a projection – production and value added of some important branches, especially those of the straw weaving industry which still played a role in the 1850s, and those of the rapidly expanding chemical industry towards the turn of the century, had to be left aside – we consider it of high quality, as it not only reflects the development in the main branches of the food, clothing, and textile industries, but also of the metal and machine industry, construction, and the watch making industry.
At this point it seems appropriate to briefly summarize the estimation methods used by Projer. Projer usually began by determining the gross production value of a certain branch. In order to compute this value, he needed either physical production series or production indicators in the form of quantity indices which revealed the weight of exports and the volume of intermediate consumption. He used the wholesale price indices, which he had constructed in an earlier study, to valuate the production series. Using contemporary production value figures for certain years, Projer transformed those indices into ongoing absolute series. He determined the value added of the branches included in the estimates by computing a figure relating to the gross production value, the quota of gross proceed, which he based – depending on available sources – on plant data such as sales, salary sums, profit, depreciation, and interest, or on the relationship between input and output prices. This procedure, however, implies the somewhat problematic assumption that the relationship between input and output remained constant over the entire study period. In addition, it suggests that the effects of storage on plant profits had been negligible. Projer’s value added series for embroidery consists of domestic value added plus the profits from import/export product refinements. Lacking statistics, Projer could not estimate embroidery value added for the 1850s and the early and mid-1860s, but this does not influence results, since Swiss embroidery did not take off until the 1870s.
For the determination of metal industry production, Projer was able to extend estimates by Schwarz. For the machine industry, however, he had to construct his own production quantity index. Since the term “machine” includes a variety of heterogenous items, it was not possible to determine the production numbers in this branch via physical production weight and the average price of machines with the same accuracy as, for example, cotton cloth. Projer encountered the same problem when computing the gross production value and the value added of the watch industry. For the period of 1851–1885, where only the volume of exported watches is known, but not their value (the value making up almost the entire production value), he assessed his estimate series in a self-critical manner as “vague, definitely subject to improvement” (Projer 1989). But his estimates at least distinguish themselves by not being in contradiction with contemporary economic performance assessments of the watch industry in general.
Projer arrived at a projection of Swiss industrial production by estimating the value added of the branches he had not included based on contemporary reports for individual years, and then weighting those estimates with the help of employment figures for the respective branches. In order to achieve a long term series, he determined the sums of the branch value added series he had calculated, transformed this aggregate value into an index, and linked this development indicator with the absolute values he had estimated for certain years for the value added of the remaining branches.
We determined the value added for cheese production in a process parallel to the calculation of value added for milk production. The starting point for this estimate was the results of the animal population surveys of 1866, 1896, and 1911, published by the Federal Statistical Office, which also include numbers indicating the level of cheese production and the milk processed in cheese factories (cheese milk) for a particular year. In order to determine the quantitative weight of cheese milk on the national level, we had to resort to canton cheese milk and cheese production series. In addition, we included the development of overall Swiss milk production, estimated by Thomas Steiger, and the cheese export statistics, which indicate exported cheese quantity since 1851, and its value since 1885. For butter and condensed milk production, we had to limit ourselves to determining the gross production value. We could not estimate the value added for these sectors of dairy production because national statistics for technically processed milk quantities divided by product types do not begin until 1921, and because there are very few canton series for the 19th and early 20th centuries that include indications on the quantities of milk required for the production of butter and condensed milk.
In addition, we performed a rough estimate of salt production and the production of other mining industries. (In the official employment statistics of Switzerland, mining was considered a branch of the first sector for a long time, but for approximately the past fifty years it has been assigned to the second sector).
Since Projer could base his value added estimates only in part on production figures, he did not manage to determine the overall volume of industrial production. Despite – or perhaps because – of this, it is of interest to know the production evolution of individual branches of the second sector. For this reason we included absolute production figures as estimated by Projer, as well as absolute production numbers from other sources and some of the indices and indicators contained in the appendix of Bernegger’s licentiate thesis (“Lizentiatsarbeit”).
The numbers on metal processing in Switzerland, listed in Schwarz’s dissertation on Swiss gross investments in the period 1850–1914, deserve special mention. In order to be able to reconstruct the most important number, the amount of equipment goods (“Ausrüstungsgüter”) produced in Switzerland, Schwarz designed a three- stage model which represents the processing of the in-part domestically produced, in-part imported metal for the production of cast, rolled, drawn, and forged iron products. Using this method, Schwarz succeeded in creating an estimate of metal processing by end use. After performing the appropriate calculations, this models yields the quantity of equipment goods produced in Switzerland.
Federal Factory Statistics and Trade Operation Surveyes
Little information on factories was passed on by the Ancien Régime, and that information could not easily be integrated into this publication (see Pfister, Ulrich: Die Zürcher Fabriques. Protoindustrielles Wachstum vom 16. zum 18. Jahrhundert. Zurich 1993). In contrast, we largely considered as worthy of compilation the statistical material assembled by Peter Dudzik on quantities of machines, the number of plants, and the employment situation in his groundbreaking investigation of the modernization of the Swiss cotton industry.
The Official Factory Statistics of Switzerland covers the period 1882–1965. After the Swiss Factory Law went into effect on March 23, 1877, the beginning of the 1880s saw the creation (with considerable participation by factory inspectors) of the first statistics, broken down by canton and branch, on plants and employees covered under the law. Additional surveys were performed in the years 1885, 1888, 1895, 1901, 1911, 1923, 1929, 1937, 1944, and 1949. From a historicalstatistical perspective, the factory statistics from 1929, 1937, 1944, and 1949 earn the label “especially valuable” since those four volumes, filled with a wealth of detailed information, also contain a series of tables that compare the results of earlier surveys with the newly obtained and published figures from the current survey. While records were kept on annual changes in factory and personnel counts during the period of 1945–1965, the summaries published in the magazine “The Economy” (“Die Volkswirtschaft” / “La Vie économique” and in the Statistical Yearbook of Switzerland during the two decades following World War II no longer contain nearly as much statistical material on the situation in the Swiss manufacturing industry as the publications issued by the Federal Statistical Office in 1929, 1937, 1944, and 1949.
Are individual factory statistics comparable among each other in the first place? They are comparable insofar as all statistics always exclusively report on operations and personnel subject to the Federal Factory Law of March 23, 1877. With regard to the tallies of 1882, 1885, and 1888, it should be mentioned that they were performed at a time when experts did not yet agree on what exactly constituted a “factory”. One rule – applied rather flexibly in practice – stated that in order for an operation without machine power to qualify as a factory, that operation would have to have a minimum employment of 25 people. The minimum for operations with machine power was ten employees. It was not until 1895 that the Federal Statistical Office described the subject of its surveys more precisely: now, any operation qualified as a “factory” if it either had more than ten workers or “six or more workers, as long as at least one of them is a youth, machine power is used, or there are potential health hazards” (Gruner and Wiedmer 1987, vol. I).
The tables in this chapter primarily cover the period 1895–1965. The factory statistics for the years 1929, 1944, and 1949 served as our primary sources, but we also considered the figures printed in a study, commissioned at the end of the 1950s by the Swiss Institute for Export and Market Research at the St. Gall Higher School of Commerce (“Schweizerisches Institut für Aussenwirtschaftsund Marktforschung an der Handels-Hochschule St. Gallen”), covering textile industry conditions between 1911 and 1955. Lukas Geiges’ dissertation on structural changes in the Swiss textile industry provided complementary information for the years 1960 and 1962. Nevertheless, considerable additional work was required in order to reach our goal of creating a summary overview, by canton, of factories and employment in the textile industry between 1895 and 1965. An even more elaborate effort was required to complete the task of preparing similar summaries for the other major branches of the second sector – food, clothing, chemical, printing, wood processing, rocks and quarries, metals, machines, and watches – since the historical tables in the factory statistics of 1929, 1937, 1944, and 1949 only report on the number of factories and employees covered by the factory law at the national, and not the canton, level for the years 1895, 1911, and 1923. Conversely, the factory statistics of those early years do not contain summaries by both branch and canton, as do those found in the publications of 1929, 1937, 1944, and 1949. In addition, the classification system of professions changed significantly between 1895 and 1929, making it inadvisable to use the summary figures for each branch without further examination. In order to arrive at “proper” figures, we had to systematically examine, canton by canton and branch by branch, the factory statistics volumes of 1895, 1911, and 1923. Requiring no less effort was the task of complementing the branch level figures in the 1929 survey on the number of factories and the number of workers and other employees covered by the factory law – additionally divided by gender, age, and nationality, and documented all the way back to the very first factory statistics – by cross-checking in each and every one of our statistical sources for the nature of survey results in individual subbranches, like, for example, the tobacco, cotton, and jewelry industries. However, we believe that this information significantly contributed to arriving at a better understanding of the conversions Swiss factories and their personnel were subjected to in the first half of this century.
In remarkable similarity to both employment statistics and gross economical product and export statistics, the factory statistics changed so dramatically during the 1960s that utmost caution is suggested when comparing survey results before and after those changes. The July, 1967 edition of the monthly periodical “The Economy” describes in detail the content changes that came with the 1965 renaming of the factory statistics to “industry statistics”. In the light of the fundamental differences between the factory and industry statistics, we consider it essential to clearly separate the results of the annual tally of industrial operations and of workers and others employed by industrial operations for the period of 1966–1986 from the counts of factories and factory employees for the period of 1882–1965.
There is yet another source that offers an opportunity to study the changes in the second sector in Switzerland during the past 90 years: the trade operation surveys, performed since 1905 by the Federal Statistical Office, conducted simultaneously with the counts of farming operation. But here as well, there are serious questions about the comparability between the results of different surveys. Such comparability must first be based on the imposition of a common nomenclature on all numerical results. In his dissertation entitled “Unternehmenskonzentration in der Schweiz” (“Business consolidation in Switzerland”), Alexander Glatthart embarked upon such an attempt by applying the general economic classification system of 1965. Glatthard’s study permits statements on business consolidations in the industrial sector for the years 1929, 1939, 1965, and 1975. We summarize the major results of this interesting research in a separate table.
A further table offers information on the number of operations and employees for the years 1905, 1929, 1939, 1955, and 1965. For the textile industry we are again able to show results not only for the industry but also for its major subbranches. In addition, it seemed appropriate to further subdivide branch employment statistics into position within an operation. Beyond that, this chapter pays far less attention to the trade operation surveys than to the factory statistics. This is not because we considered the trade operation survey results less reliable than the factory statistics. Apart from already having presented the major results of the trade operation surveys between 1905 and 1985 in the “employment” chapter, our general preference for the factory statistics is based on the fact that between 1895 and 1955 major surveys of factory numbers and factory employees occurred every seven to eight years, whereas, for the same period, the time difference between two trade operation surveys was 10 to 25 years.
The last two-page spread of this chapter is dedicated to the Swiss domestic industry, i. e. people employed by businesses, but working at their homes. Here, the data is most unsatisfactory: there are virtually no quantitative sources for the early and later 19th century, and retroactive estimates extend back no farther than the year 1880. The first major official inquiry coincided with the trade operation survey of 1905; further surveys occurred in conjunction with the 1910 and 1920 census, and with the trade operation surveys of 1929, 1939, and 1955.
Initially, it was our intent to also compile home industry statistics by canton, extending over several census periods, of people employed in second sector branches. Since the factory statistics do not provide detailed information on people employed at their homes until 1929, a time where the domestic industry had already ceased to play a significant role nearly anywhere in Switzerland, we limited our detailed evaluations to the data provided by the 1905 trade operation survey and the 1910 census.
SOURCE: «Industry and Trade» in Ritzmann/Siegenthaler, Historical Statistics of Switzerland, Zürich: Chronos, 1996, 603-610