Factories Inspection Department
TO DECEMBER 31, 1916.
NEW ORLEANS, LA., Dec. 31,1916.
Hon. Martin Behrman, Mayor, City of New Orleans, La.
My Dear Sir: I have the honor to submit the Ninth Annual Report of the inspection of factories for the year ending December 31, 1916.
The curtain of the business world for the year 1916 had scarcely been drawn when the wires were flashing the joyful news--"A record breaker in all lines of trade."
New and unheard of totals were announced of industrial production, bank clearings, of export and import trade in merchandise, and dividends paid by enterprises of all kinds.
It is also stated that New Orleans had its share in the country's abnormal prosperity. At the close of the year, a few of the industries employing women paid bonuses to their employees. As the wages for women yet remain at the same low ebb and the cost of commodities has soared to dizzy heights, it is needless to direct attention to the visible exemplification of what has been termed the "penalties of prosperity."
Two vital aids to the work of this department materialized during the past year --a free employment bureau, and a compulsory registration of births. The need of such a bureau was suggested in the last report. The establishment of one by the Government, under the direction of so capable a woman as Mrs. Blanchard, has been of incalculable benefit to the women wage earners, and a most welcome relief from some of the duties heretofore imposed upon the factories inspector.
Within the past few years, through the efforts of government experts, public authorities, women's organizations, and other agencies, a marked advance has been made in an understanding of the importance of the birth-record to the individual and to the community, in putting good birth registration laws on the statute books of many of the states, and in creating sentiment which will be reflected in the efficient administration of these laws.
Last spring, at the request of Miss Lathrop, chief of the Federal Children's Bureau, a number of ladies in this city took up the work of collecting information on the subject, with assistance f orm the Mayor, Commission Council, and concessions from the