Employment: U.S. Works Progress Administration

The Great Depression in the United States began with the stock market crash in October 1929 and lasted until the early 1940s. The unprecedented economic collapse left 25% of the nation’s workforce unemployed, with some cities seeing unemployment rates as high as 50%. To help combat the staggering unemployment statistics and stimulate the economy, the federal government embarked on a series of economic measures known as the New Deal.

On May 6, 1935, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order creating the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the best-known of several relief programs implemented as part of the Emergency Relief Appropriations (ERA) Act.

Under the WPA, more than 8 million unemployed Americans were put to work building and repairing roads, parks, bridges, airports, and buildings all ...

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