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This Day In Market History: Ford Sets $5 Per Day Minimum Wage

This Day In Market History: Ford Sets $5 Per Day Minimum Wage

Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that occurred on this date.

What Happened: On this day in 1914, Henry Ford raised the minimum wage for his factory workers to $5 per day.

Where The Market Was: The Dow traded at around 83. Today, the Dow is trading at 30,223.89.

What Else Was Going On In The World: In 1914, the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria, sparked the beginning of World War I. Babe Ruth played in his first major league baseball game for the Boston Red Sox.

A package of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes cost 8 cents.

Ford’s Minimum Wage: The advent of the assembly line had boosted Ford’s vehicle production to 200,000 units by 2013. But while the assembly line has stabilized and standardized Ford’s production, Ford’s labor force wasn’t quite as reliable.

On Jan. 5, 1914, Henry Ford offered all workers at his production plant on Woodward Avenue in Highland Park, Michigan $5 per day in guaranteed pay for eight hours of assembly line work. At the time, the offer roughly doubled many workers’ pay, and that amount translated to about $130 per day in today’s dollars.

Henry Ford’s standardization of the production process and his workforce paid off in a huge way. By 1925, his plant was churning out 9,000 Model Ts per day.

Ford ultimately ended up revolutionizing not only the auto industry but the entire U.S. industrial sector. Today, Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) is worth $33.2 billion. Henry Ford ultimately became one of the 16 most wealthy Americans in history with a net worth of $68.3 billion in 2018 dollars.


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