Defenses Against Unemployment

February 25, 1949

Report Outline
Business Activity and the Labor Market
Proposals to Strengthen Unemployment Insurance
Financing the Unemployment Insurance System
Secondary Defenses Against Unemployment
Special Focus

Business Activity and the Labor Market

Resent Decline from Full Employment of 1948

Business and government economists appear to agree that the peak of the postwar boom has passed; that economic activity in 1949 will fall below that of last year but will remain far above prewar. The current decline in business activity, which began in the late autumn of 1948, has again raised the spectre of serious unemployment, although nothing to date suggests an early recurrence of the unemployment crises of the 1930's.

The total number of persons out of jobs rose from 1,831,000 in November to 2,664,000 in January, according to Census Bureau estimates. The number without employment in November 1947 was 1,621,000 and in January of last year, 2,065,000. The mid-winter decline of 1948–49 has been somewhat more than seasonal and there has been a considerable increase in part-time employment. Ewan Clague, Commissioner of Labor Statistics, said Feb. 18 that “a good guess” on the number of persons out of work in mid-February would be 3,000,000. He added that the situation would not call for emergency action until between 4,000,000 and 5,000,000 had lost their jobs and remained jobless for some time.

Workers receiving unemployment compensation in mid-February numbered 1,784,000, a figure three-fourths above that registered in February 1948. Although initial claims for benefits during the first six weeks of 1949 exceeded 2,000,000, the number of continuing claims rose only 360,000 during this period, indicating that many workers were finding new jobs. That the present extent of unemployment is due in part to an increase in the labor force is shown by the fact that total employment remains above that of last year. The Census Bureau estimates that 59 million civilians had jobs in mid-December 1948, as compared with 58 million in December 1947. The January figure was 57.4 million, compared with 57.1 million in January 1948.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Mar. 06, 2020  Universal Basic Income
Mar. 18, 2016  The Gig Economy
Mar. 06, 2012  Youth Unemployment
Jul. 31, 2009  Straining the Safety Net
Apr. 10, 2009  Business Bankruptcy
Mar. 13, 2009  Vanishing Jobs
Apr. 25, 2003  Unemployment Benefits
Jan. 21, 1994  Worker Retraining
Sep. 09, 1988  Help Wanted: Why Jobs Are Hard to Fill
Mar. 18, 1983  The Youth Unemployment Puzzle
Dec. 24, 1982  Federal Jobs Programs
May 28, 1982  America's Employment Outlook
Jun. 27, 1980  Unemployment Compensation
Oct. 14, 1977  Youth Unemployment
Jul. 11, 1975  Underemployment in America
Dec. 16, 1970  Unemployment in Recessions
Mar. 05, 1965  Unemployment Benefits in Times of Prosperity
Apr. 03, 1964  Overtime Pay Rates and Unemployment
Feb. 01, 1961  Unemployment and New Jobs
Jan. 07, 1959  Lag in Employment
Apr. 16, 1958  Emergency Jobless Aid
May 16, 1956  Lay-Off Pay Plans
Nov. 12, 1953  Jobless Compensation in Boom and Recession
Feb. 25, 1949  Defenses Against Unemployment
Jul. 30, 1945  Full Employment
Nov. 25, 1940  Unemployment Compensation
Jul. 10, 1939  Problem of the Migrant Unemployed
May 19, 1936  Unemployment and Recovery
Sep. 02, 1931  Public Employment Exchanges
Aug. 19, 1929  The Stabilization of Employment
Feb. 21, 1928  The Employment Situation in the United States
Jan. 23, 1926  Unemployment Insurance in the United States
Unemployment and Employment Programs