Related BLS programs | Related articles
September 1985, Vol. 108, No. 9
Unemployment insurance system
marks its 50th anniversary
When unemployment insurance was being considered as part of the Social Security Act in 1934 and 1935, the number of unemployed workers in the United States was estimated at 11 million to 15 million. State relief programs had broken down and were supplemented by one Federal program after another. The Presidentially appointed Committee on Economic Security and the congressional committees considering the legislation faced the problem of devising an unemployment insurance program that would fit into the Federal-State political system. Supporters of a workers' compensation approach took the States' rights viewpoint, advocating a "State laboratory" system for experimenting "close to the grass roots." It was also feared that a Federal system might be declared unconstitutional because of possible encroachment on States' rights.
In enacting the unemployment insurance provisions of the Social Security Act in 1935, Congress recognized both national and State concern over unemployment and measures to alleviate it. Because unemployment affects the Nation as well as individual States, Federal action was considered important. But Congress also considered it feasible and desirable for the States to administer unemployment insurance programs to meet local needs. There was ample precedent for the legislation.
This excerpt is from an article published in the September 1985 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
Read abstract Download full article in PDF (802K)
Related BLS programs
Related Monthly Labor Review articles
Trends in unemployment insurance benefits.—Sept. 1995.
Unemployment insurance in the U.S. and Europe, 1973-83.—Apr. 1989.
Within Monthly Labor Review Online:
Welcome | Current Issue | Index | Subscribe | Archives
Exit Monthly Labor Review Online:
BLS Home | Publications & Research Papers