Federal Cooperation in Unemployment Relief

February 17, 1933

Report Outline
The Problem of Twelve Million Unemployed
Development of Federal Direct Relief Policy
Present Issues of Direct Relief Policy
Proposed Changes in Construction Loan Policy
Special Focus

The Problem of Twelve Million Unemployed

The current estimate of the American Federation of Labor gives twelve million as the number of wage-earners at present without employment in the United States. Forty-five million persons are living in poverty as a result of the loss of wages during the depression, Edward F. McGrady, legislative agent of the Federation testified before a Senate committee, February 3, 1933, and of these, fifteen million “are existing only with the help of charity.” McGrady's estimate of the number of persons dependent upon organized relief agreed with the earlier testimony of other witnesses before another Senate committee that “more than three million families are now on relief.”

Further increases in the numbers requiring assistance, due to the exhaustion of individual resources, have been predicted by state and local officials in charge of relief operations. Reports from cities for which statistics are available indicate that from one-fourth to one-third of the unemployed and their dependents are now receiving relief from public or private agencies and it is assumed that unless new opportunities for employment soon become available the proportion requiring relief may grow considerably. Detailed figures for the entire United States showing either the number receiving relief or the number unemployed are not obtainable. Estimates of unemployment are placed by some statisticians at totals much higher than the estimate of the American Federation of Labor. An estimate published by Business Week, January 18, 1933, placed the total at more than fifteen million, and available figures for a number of the larger industrial states suggest estimates of fourteen to sixteen million.

Experience in past years has shown that the number of persons needing relief is likely to reach its highest point annually in March. Witnesses before the Senate Committee on Manufactures stated early in January that, due to lack of funds or to inability to develop relief organizations quickly enough, many families in need had not yet been able to obtain relief. The opinion was expressed by Harry L, Hopkins, chairman of the Temporary Emergency Relief Administration of the State of New York, that it would be “a conservative estimate today that there are 500,000 families in the United States not getting relief who should be receiving it,”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
New Deal, Great Depression, and Economic Recovery
Feb. 20, 2009  Public-Works Projects
Jul. 25, 1986  New Deal for the Family
Apr. 04, 1973  Future of Social Programs
Nov. 18, 1944  Postwar Public Works
Apr. 12, 1941  Public Works in the Post-Emergency Period
Mar. 08, 1940  Integration of Utility Systems
Feb. 26, 1938  The Permanent Problem of Relief
Jun. 08, 1937  Experiments in Price Control
Jan. 05, 1937  Credit Policy and Control of Recovery
Nov. 27, 1936  New Deal Aims and the Constitution
Oct. 16, 1936  Father Coughlin vs. the Federal Reserve System
Sep. 25, 1936  Roosevelt Policies in Practice
Feb. 11, 1936  Conditional Grants to the States
Dec. 11, 1935  Capital Goods Industries and Recovery
Sep. 25, 1935  Unemployment Relief Under Roosevelt
Jul. 17, 1935  The R.F.C. Under Hoover and Roosevelt
Jul. 03, 1935  Six Months of the Second New Deal Congress
Jun. 04, 1935  The Supreme Court and the New Deal
Mar. 05, 1935  Public Works and Work Relief
Feb. 16, 1935  Organized Labor and the New Deal
Dec. 04, 1934  Rural Electrification and Power Rates
Oct. 26, 1934  Federal Relief Programs and Policies
Jul. 25, 1934  Distribution of Federal Emergency Expenditures
Jul. 17, 1934  Debt, Credit, and Recovery
May 25, 1934  The New Deal in the Courts
Mar. 27, 1934  Construction and Economic Recovery
Mar. 19, 1934  Price Controls Under N.R.A.
Feb. 15, 1934  Federal Promotion of State Unemployment Insurance
Jan. 10, 1934  Government and Business After the Depression
Jan. 02, 1934  The Adjustment of Municipal Debts
Dec. 12, 1933  The Machine and the Recovery Program
Dec. 05, 1933  Winter Relief, 1933–1934
Nov. 11, 1933  Power Policies of the Roosevelt Administration
Oct. 28, 1933  Buying Power under the Recovery Program
Oct. 19, 1933  Land Settlement for the Unemployed
Sep. 20, 1933  The Capital Market and the Securities Act
Jul. 18, 1933  Public Works and National Recovery
Jul. 01, 1933  The Plan for National Industrial Control
May 03, 1933  Economic Readjustments Essential to Prosperity
Apr. 26, 1933  Government Subsidies to Private Industry
Mar. 25, 1933  Rehabilitation of the Unemployed
Feb. 17, 1933  Federal Cooperation in Unemployment Relief
Nov. 16, 1932  Systems of Unemployment Compensation
Nov. 09, 1932  Policies of the New Administration
Aug. 18, 1932  Emergency Relief Construction and Self-Liquidating Projects
Dec. 28, 1931  Relief of Unemployment
Aug. 01, 1931  National Economic Planning
Jul. 20, 1931  Dividends and Wages in Periods of Depression
Feb. 19, 1931  Insurance Against Unemployment
Jan. 19, 1931  Business Failures and Bankruptcy Administration
Jan. 01, 1931  Federal Subsidies to the States
Dec. 08, 1930  Federal Relief of Economic Distress
Sep. 25, 1930  The Extent of Unemployment
May 16, 1930  Politics and Depressions
Dec. 20, 1929  The Federal Public Works Program
Jun. 08, 1929  The Federal Reserve System and Stock Speculation
Apr. 14, 1928  The Federal Reserve System and Price Stabilization
Feb. 25, 1928  The Federal Reserve System and Brokers' Loans
Economic Crises
Unemployment and Employment Programs