March 31, 2000
From March 1991 to January 1998, overtime increased across all but one of the major manufacturing industries. The increases ranged from 3 additional hours of overtime in transportation equipment manufacturing to the relatively slight increase of 0.6 hour in apparel factories.
Some specific industries made exceptional contributions to the growth in overtime hours. Within transportation equipment, for example, overtime in the motor vehicle manufacturing went up 4.4 hours from December 1991 to December 1997. Similarly, in that period, overtime in iron and steel foundries in the primary metals industry were up 3.7 hours and within industrial machinery and equipment, overtime for refrigeration and service machinery increased by 2.9 hours.
A common factor among the industries that added the most overtime was a highly skilled workforce. The 10 industries with the largest overtime gains had more than 17 percent of their workers in highly skilled positions. The comparable figure for the 10 industries with the smallest increases in overtime was 8 percent.
These data are a product of the Current Employment Statistics program. Highly skilled positions were defined as engineers, technicians, scientists, and precision workers and assemblers. Their share of employment was based on the 1996 Occupational Employment Statistics program. To find out more, see "Analyzing the recent upward surge in overtime hours," by Ron L. Hetrick, Monthly Labor Review, February 2000. Industries in the chart are all at the 2-digit Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) level.