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Employment: U.S. Works Progress Administration

  • By: Shari Parsons Miller
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

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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