Monday July 28th, 2014, 2:30 pm (EDT)

Nancy E. Rose

Put to Work

Put To Work

The WPA and Public Employment in the Great Depression

With unemployment surging to record levels and the economy in freefall, experts are looking to the Great Depression for lessons in stimulating job creation. Then, as now, the system was unable to provide the jobs and financial support desperately needed by millions of people. But then—in the 1930s—the state intervened to create massive employment programs that put people to work on socially useful projects in states, cities, and towns across the country. The scope of these programs was unprecedented and never repeated in the decades that followed. Today, as the severity of the economic crisis increasingly resembles that of the Great Depression, the time for a reappraisal of the New Deal employment programs has never been more necessary.… | more |

Lessons from the New Deal Public Employment Programs

The following essay is adapted from the concluding chapter of the new edition of Nancy Rose’s Put to Work, just published by Monthly Review Press. The book is an examination of the various work programs implemented by the New Deal during the Great Depression. This second edition is especially appropriate, as we are now experiencing the most severe economic crisis since the 1930s, what some are calling the “Great Recession,” and there is once again much talk about putting people to work.… | more |

Nothing before or after the 1930s has matched the magnitude of the FERA, CWA, and WPA-programs that provided work each month for several million people, paid decent wages, and developed innovative projects in construction, the arts, and the production of consumer goods.… | more |