In Washington, November 11, Mr. Mitchell, Secretary of Labour, carried out a promise made last?
In Washington, November 11, Mr. Mitchell, Secretary of Labour, carried out a promise made last April when nobody expected a 120-day steel strike, that he would "eat his hat" if unemployment in October was over three million.
The October estimate, published by the Labour Department was 3,270.000. The total of employed was estimated as 66,800,000.
The "hat" which Mr. Mitchell ate was a cake, shaped like a hat, of a kind often baked for Father's Day. Mr. Mitchell had been careful to order it from a union bakery. He nibbled a slice in front of the Labour Department building.
"If there had been no steel strike unemployment would have been well below three million, and employment would have risen high above the 67 million mark," Mr. Mitchell declared and took another nibble at the hat. To emphasise the responsibility of the steel strike for the unemployment figure Mr. Mitchell cut a slice of "hat" for the president of the steel workers union, and the chief steel management negotiator.
The 500,000 steel strikers were not included in the unemployed total since the definition of an unemployed worker is one actively seeking a job. But 300,000 workers in other industries were thrown out of work in October through lack of steel.
Last Wednesday the figure climber to 500,000. Now that steel mills are getting into production again as a result of the 80-day back to work injunction, the situation should improve. But if the strike is resumed the unemployment total will start climbing again.