Status of the Workers
As part of the picture of increasing industrialization came a relative and actual increase in proprietors and officials, in professions, and in the lower-salaried workers. The great increase came in office workers, the great decrease in agricultural workers and servants. Economists are agreed at least upon two points with regard to labor in the period after 1897. First, the real income of most wage earners increased little during the twenty years after 1897. Second, this income was inadequate to support decently the vast majority of wage earners. However labor may have felt about welfare work in general, it distinctly excepted efforts made to safeguard the health of factory workers and to prevent accidents. The enactment of workmen's compensation laws after 1911, which placed on the employer a large share of the cost of accidents, was another strong incentive to the development of safety work.