Seymour E. Harris '20, professor of Economics, noted a "healthy change in the New England economy" in a report released today to the Conference of New England Governors.
Harris, who is Chairman of the New England Governors' Textile Committee, supported this statement by referring to the facts that: (1) The relative decline of the nation's income going to New England slowed up during the period of 1950 to 1954 and; (2) New England's per capita income relative to the nation's, which dropped from 1929 to 1950, remained constant from 1950 to 1954--"a remarkable performance for an older region."
But despite the unparalleled prosperity the national and New England economy have experienced since the war, Harris stated that "some soft goods industries have not shared in the general rise and have even declined. Textiles are the most important example."
That New England lost 35 per cent of its textile jobs in the years 1950 to 1954 can be partially attributed, Harris said to '"the increased attractiveness of other items in the consumers' budget--automobiles, travel, eating out, vacations, etc." Also significant, he pointed out, is the fact that the textile dollar has become a smaller part of the apparel dollar than it used to be.
Harris continued by maintaining that the inroads the South has made on the textile industry are partially explainable by the difference in labor costs (the higher hourly wage in the North and the lower work loads). However, mergers related to tax advantages and special tax favors in behalf of the South are also important, he added.