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The Great Depression had reached its most destructive depths by 1933 with somewhere between 17 and 20 million people jobless. The Depression was a nation-wide crisis. With so many unemployed, consumer spending halted, and the national economy collapsed. On a national and local level, governments were faced with a crisis that appeared to have no solutions. Americans were forced to try a range of experiments in order to obtain financial relief for individuals and the community. One such experiment involved "sharing the work". Business and civic leaders in Greenfield, Massachusetts, sought to lessen the hardship by increasing employment through a novel scheme. Employers shortened the work week (or reduced the piece rate) for workers. The remaining hours were worked by those who would otherwise have been unemployed. While the total payroll was not increased, it was re-distributed amongst more workers. As a result of this plan, there would be fewer unemployed and thus fewer families seeking economic relief from the town. The share-the-work campaign was promoted nationally as an emergency measure by many business leaders and even by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. While plans such as this may have had some effects locally, it was not until the United States entered World War II that national spending on the production of military equipment put an end to the Great Depression.

 

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"Share the Work Campaign Gets Under Way at Meeting" article from the Greenfield Daily Recorder-Gazette Newspaper

publisher   Greenfield Daily Recorder-Gazette
date   Jan 15, 1933
location   Greenfield, Massachusetts
height   10.25"
width   1.75"
process/materials   printed paper, ink
item type   Periodicals/Newspaper
accession #   #L06.008


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See Also...

"The Dilemma" political cartoon from the Daily Recorder-Gazette newspaper

Main Street Business Center

"Local Council of Unemployed Has 230 Members" article from the Greenfield Daily Recorder-Gazette newspaper


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