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It will not do to push such reasoning too far, but it must now appear evident that the apparently abnormal growth of the schools of engineering has been in reality only a readjustment to make good an abnormal deficiency in the supply of mechanical engineers.
WHAT IS THE NORMAL DEMAND FOR MINING ENGINEERS
IN THE UNITED STATES?
This question reaches to the root of the matter. For graduates of mining schools can hardly be expected to take a long, difficult, and expensive engineering course to prepare for the manual labor of the miner, for which, indeed, such training is unnecessary. They must have in view, ultimately, the position of manager, superintendent, engineer, or chemist for some mining, milling, or smelting enterprise.
As we have seen, as nearly as can be learned from the tenth census, the number of such positions in the United States was certainly much less than 10,000, or less than 0.06 per cent. of all the wage-earners in the United States.
In order to get an idea of the demand for such men compared with the number engaged in the “learned professions,” the following statistics are at least suggestive:
PER CENT. TOTAL WAGE-EARNERS IN THE UNITED STATES.
Clergyman (10th census),*,
64,698 or 0.37 Lawyers (10th census),*
.64,137 or 0.368 Physicians and surgeons,..
85,671 or 0.493 For the three learned professions,.
214,506 or 1.231 * It is a curious fact that in 1880 for every saloon-keeper in the United States there were 1 clergyman, 1 lawyer, and 1 1-3 physicians.
This number, all presumably college-bred men, is more than 21 times as great as the total outside estimate of the mining officials of the United States, and almost as great as all the miners in the country put together.
In order, however, to run this matter down to the end of his material, the writer has compiled from the volume recently issued by the eleventh census on "Mineral Industries," the statistics for the year 1889, shown in Table III.
If we make the additions suggested in the footnote to Table Ill for the pig-iron industry, we shall have, as our estimate for 1889: Office,
30,930 Pig-iron operatives (not steel),
53,000 Total engaged in mineral industries (1889)...
598,992 It will be noted that the number of persons engaged in the industry has increased 1.88 times as compared with what it was in 1879–80, while the value of the mineral product has increased 1.78 times in the same period.
We are now in a position to make a much closer estimate of the entire number of mining and metallurgical engineers in the United States. Of the total 25,511 estimated as engaged in the administrative staff of the mineral industries, it must be plain that more than half were engaged in superintending the work of
TABLE III.—Personnel of the U. S. Mineral Industry.
(Compiled from the Eleventh Census “Mineral Industries.")
45,217 242,297 202,037 *See foot of next page for notes referred to in this table.
mechanics or laborers, or in clerical capacities. This would leave in round numbers about 12,000 officials connected with the actual work of mining and smelting. To those familiar with mining work it must be evident that not more than half of these would find the technical instruction of an engineering school necessary to the proper performance of his duties.
In short, we may conclude that the entire mineral industry of the United States gives employment to not over 6,000 persons who may be said to require technical training as engineers.
As corroborative of this estimate, the membership of the American Institute of Mining Engineers may be cited. The liberal basis on which membership of this society is founded insures for it, as compared with similar societies, a large proportionate membership of those interested. In 1891 it had a membership of 2,092. This is one-third of the number estimated above.
a. Employed on the surface.” b. Employed "underground.”
* This estimate, taken from the admirable article of Ex-President, John Birkinbine, is confined to iron-ores, and does not take into account those engaged in smelting the ores or producing iron and steel from them. In the absence of definite returns it is difficult to make an accurate estimate. If, however, we confine ourselves strictly to the production of pigiron only (assuming the production Bessemer and other kinds of steel production to come under the head of manufacturing, and the increase of personnel to be in proportion to the increase in production), we shall have in round nembers to add perhaps 56,000 men, of which perhaps 1,000 ought to be included under the head of the "office," and 2,000 as foremen.
+ These may appear to have been entered in the report as mechanics or laborers, when they should have been entered as miners.
Where no returns have been made for the "office,” one-half the number returned as foremen has been taken.
NOTE.—The absolute accuracy of these census statistics is not to be assumed. The mineral statistics are particularly difficult of attainment and are naturally likely to be underestimated. On the other hand, in the
ANNUAL OPENINGS FOR GRADUATES OF AMERICAN
A young man can hardly be said to be fitted for a position of technical responsibility before the age of twenty-five years. Let us suppose he enters the eleventh census men, were employed to collect the mineral statistics who were usually well fitted for the task, being in most cases really noted specialists in particular lines.
Regarding gold and silver, the writer quotes from R. P. Rothwell's able article:
“The number of gold and silver mining 'claims' or 'locations, commonly called 'mines' in the United States is practically beyond computation. The names of nearly 100,000 of such claims or mines were received by the census office, but upon limiting the investigation to: (1) producing mines, (2) working but not producing, (3) mines temporarily stopped, but which had produced or upon which the work done had established their value, and which could properly be classed as mines, the list declined to perhaps 10,000, and upon tabulating only such mines as made returns of production or labor statistics, the list was reduced to 6,004, which is still a large number compared with the other mineral-producing mines in the United States."
Attention is called to these facts and to the extreme difficulty of including all engaged in this industry; for it is not unlikely that instead of 57,307 men engaged in this business, it may have occupied 100,000. The product was in round numbers $100,000,000, of which one-third was gold, and two-thirds silver.
Table III, which has never been in print before, is worthy of considerable study; there are many important conclusions that may be drawn from it, but these would unduly extend the present paper.