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The Winding Road to the Welfare State$
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George R. Boyer

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691178738

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691178738.001.0001

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Unemployment and Unemployment Relief

Unemployment and Unemployment Relief

(p.106) 4 Unemployment and Unemployment Relief
The Winding Road to the Welfare State

George R. Boyer

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the extent of cyclical, seasonal, and casual unemployment from 1870 to 1914, and shows that reported unemployment rates greatly understate the probability of job loss faced by manual workers. It also reveals the public and private battles over relief for the unemployed. In the 1870s, cities abruptly curtailed granting outdoor relief to able-bodied males, and beginning in 1886 the Local Government Board encouraged municipalities to establish work relief projects during downturns. However, neither municipal relief projects nor the work relief established as a result of the 1905 Unemployed Workmen Act succeeded in assisting the temporarily unemployed—most of those employed on relief works were chronically underemployed laborers.

Keywords:   unemployment, job loss, manual workers, unemployment relief, outdoor relief, work relief, 1905 Unemployed Workmen Act, underemployed laborers

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