Re: Dial Conversion - Depression Labor Force

TELECOM Digest Editor noted in response to

>> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Actually, the 'Great Depression' is >> normally dated as the last three months of 1929, along with 1930-33. >> I do not think Bell did any central office conversions during that >> time period, or very few of them. Chicago did not start converting >> until 1939, after the depression, when our country was well on the >> way toward recovery (which generally means a war is going on). Many >> of the conversions occurred in the late 1940's and throughout the >> 1950's, and as we know, those were much better times financially for >> almost everyone. PAT] > Generally, the Depression is started by be the fall of 1929 until about > 1939-40. Although the big stock market crash is generally accepted to > the be the start, for some people hard times started much earlier and > later for others. Hard times continued until to about 1940 when > defense spending perked up. There was some natural economic growth in > 1939. There was a slight recovery in 1936-7, but then FDR cut the > budget back and the economy fell down again.

Someone else mentioned 25% unemployment even in 1941. That is too

> high. 20-%25% was about the worst the country had (except in some > especially hard hit areas like the Dust Bowl), but other places > weren't quite as hard hit. By 1939 it was down to about 15%. That's > still very high but not quite as bad. It varied quite a bit by region > and industry. There were some nasty strikes in the late 1930s that > pushed up wages which allowed workers to have more money than mere > sustenance.

It was me. I know I have heard those numbers so I started digging. I guess a lot of these records have never been posted on the internet. :)

Did they define unemployment then as they do now? For a long time now you only count if you are looking for work. Surveys are now done by phone. In the 30s I wonder what methods were used. And to be honest I'll bet the rates in NYC and Chicago were different in many ways than where I grew up outside of the small city (remote from almost anywhere) of Paducah. Lots of folks were working in the 30s but not making much money. My dad's high school class was very small due to most of the kids dropping out way before they turned 16 to go to work to help the family out.

But here's what I've found so far. A table I found that was supposed to be based on government labor stats had 10,390,000 unemployed in

1938, 9,480,000 in 1939, 8,120,000 in 1940, and 5,560,000 in 1941. This translates into unemployment rates of 19.9%, 17.1%, 14.5%, and 9.%.

But these numbers are skewed for due to WWI, the US started ramping up aircraft production about this time. As best I can tell B17 production alone in 38 and 39 accounted for 2000 assembly jobs plus all the indirect supplier jobs, grocery store, clothing stores, etc ... And there were a lot of other plans being produced in larger numbers. On

12/7/41 we had 4 fully equipped carriers in the Pacific plus more under construction. And a deployed carrier, even in 1941, represented a huge number of jobs. Both in crew, support, and just building it and the planes. Plus we were shipping planes to England and France in 1938, 1939, and 1940. (We lost over 100 carrier planes when France fell and they were interred for the duration of the war.)

Then add in that nearly 1,000,000 men were drafted (army only?) in 1941.

So the question I have is how of the recovery was without war and pre-war spending? Any? I know life was tough for my dad's farm family. He was born in 1925 and says the ONLY reason the had food was that they had a slaughter house operation saw mill and were big enough to be able to supply schools and such and not be dependent on the local farmers markets. And he talks about a life that was closer to little house on the prairie than 1960.

Here's the stats I have. Plus now I'm interested enough to try and find out what the increased pre-war spending did for the economy. So I get to dig deeper.

Year Pop Labor Force LF % Unemployed Rate

1929 88,010,000 49,440,000 56.18% 1,550,000 3.14 1930 89,550,000 50,080,000 55.92% 4,340,000 8.67 1931 90,710,000 50,680,000 55.87% 8,020,000 15.82 1932 91,810,000 51,250,000 55.82% 12,060,000 23.53 1933 92,950,000 51,840,000 55.77% 12,830,000 24.75 1934 94,190,000 52,490,000 55.73% 11,340,000 21.60 1935 95,460,000 53,140,000 55.67% 10,610,000 19.97 1936 96,700,000 53,740,000 55.57% 9,030,000 16.80 1937 97,870,000 54,320,000 55.50% 7,700,000 14.18 1938 99,120,000 54,950,000 55.44% 10,390,000 18.91 1939 100,360,000 55,600,000 55.40% 9,480,000 17.05 1940 101,560,000 56,180,000 55.32% 8,120,000 14.45 1941 102,700,000 57,530,000 56.02% 5,560,000 9.66 [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Regards food to eat during the depression years, my father was born in 1922 and my mother was born in 1924, and they both migrated to Coffeyville, KS in their childhood years. My mother pointed out that in the 1930-40 time period, she could come home from the grocery store with two or three _large_ bags of groceries for five dollars. Of course, many guys did not have the five dollars. One reason there were few -- if any -- 'help wanted' ads in newspapers was because almost instantly upon a job becoming available, 'word' got around and someone would walk in off the street and ask for it. PAT]
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