Ultimately, young women and adult immigrants replaced these children in the textile industry, but child labor continued in other businesses. They could be paid lower wages, were more tractable and easily managed than adults, and were very difficult for unions to organize.
he 1890 census revealed that more than one million children, ten to fifteen years old, worked in America.  That number increased to two million by 1910. Industries employed children as young as five or six to work as many as eighteen to twenty hours a day.
In the United States it took many years to outlaw child labor. By 1899, 28 states had passed laws regulating child labor. Many efforts were made to pass a national child labor law. The U.S. Congress passed two laws, in 1918 and 1922, but the Supreme Court declared both unconstitutional. In 1924, Congress proposed a constitutional amendment prohibiting child labor, but the states did not ratify it. Then, in 1938, Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act. It fixed minimum ages of 16 for work during school hours, 14 for certain jobs after school, and 18 for dangerous work. Today all the states and the U.S. government have laws regulating child labor. These laws have cured the worst evils of children working in factories.
After leaving Hull House, Florence Kelley moved to the Henry Street Settlement in New York. There, she and Lillian Wald, working through the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC), spearheaded an effort to create a federal children’s bureau.
Working conditions in factories—the circumstances under which individuals are required to do their jobs—include such factors as the number of hours on the job, required output for workers, safety in the workplace, and compensation paid to workers and their families for injuries and fatalities suffered in the workplace.
As late as the early twentieth century, American businesses operated free of government regulation and with few industry standards. Building codes were nonexistent, and machinery and fire inspections were rare. Many of the urban poor worked in “sweatshops,” earning very low wages in crowded, unsafe conditions with inadequate ventilation and insufficient heat.
City, country, and state officials were involved yesterday in the discussion of responsibility for the conditions existing in the ten-story loft building at University Place and Green Street, where Saturday evening's fire cost 142 lives, the latest victim dying in a hospital yesterday