One of the most famous New Deal programs was the Works Progress Administration (WPA). It affected many lives in a good way. More than 8.5 million people were employed. They were in a work relief program that President F.D. Roosevelt designed. These workers only made $41.57 a month, their work consisted of building bridges, roads, public buildings, public parks and airports. In the WPA there were more men than women employed and 13.5 % of the employees were women in the year of 1938. Women earned the same wage as men, they were in charge of lower paying activities of sewing, bookbinding, caring for the elderly, school lunch programs, nursery school and recreational work. The WPA supported tens of thousands of artists, they funded creations of 2,566 murals and 17,744 pieces of sculpture that decorate buildings nationwide.
It provided jobs for unemployed people in the United States during the Great Depression. There were other government organizations that also were around to help employment for people during the Great Depression, there was the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Public Administration. But, there still was no program that was larger than the Workers Progress Administration because it employed millions of Americans who would not have been able to find jobs.
“It has also become a lightning rod for contention between the right and the left. The right charges that it was inefficient and a “socialist” program. The left argues that it helped reduce unemployment from 25% to 10%, modernized our nation’s infrastructure, and provided jobs for people who otherwise would have gone hungry. Many economists argue that we need to have a similar program today in order to reduce unemployment until the economy can pick up again.”
The significance was that it gave a real example of the impact of the work program that was in the time of an economic recession.
This was a good program and it helped a lot of people. When I was researching this topic I found it interesting how still today since we are in an economic recession they argue about bringing this program back. There are a lot of Americans who lost employment or are struggling to find employment. A government sponsored work program seems like a a win-win situation.
For more information click the links below –
This Day in Labor History: May 6, 1935
This Day in the Yesteryear: THE WPA IS ESTABLISHED (1935) Will we have to wait till 2035 for a new deal?
The Federal Music Project
WPA and Arts Advocacy
10 WPA posters that are Pinterest-worthy 79 years later