07 June 2010

Unemployment in Great Depression Overstated

Most economic accounts of unemployment in the Great Depression use unemployment figures that omit the employment greated by government jobs programs in that era. Including government jobs doesn't change the peak unemployment much, but suggests that unemployment was much lower from 1933-1940 than is usually acknowledged.

This is important because is suggests that government stimulus is much more effective at creating jobs than many people had believed. It also means that unemployment in the period from 1936-1940 which looked much worse than the current employment situation in the United States, was actually quite similar.

1 comment:

John said...

Good point sme one made by
Thomas H. Eliot in his book "Recollections of the NEW DEAL" with an introduction by John Kenneth Galbraith. Eliot was the attorney in the Labor Department who drafted the Unemployent portion of the Social Security Act.

One big difference between then and now is the number of women in the workforce. Then the family was more dependent on a single bread winner.