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United States

Volume 245: debated on Thursday 20 November 1930

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asked the Minister of Labour whether she has any information as to the present extent of unemployment in the United States of America and as to the measures which are being taken there to cope with it?

The exact extent of unemployment at the present time in the United States of America is not known, since there are no official statistics showing the numbers unemployed; but there can be no doubt that there is a large amount of unemployment in that country. The official index of employment in manufacturing industries was 79.7 for September, 1930, as compared with 100, the average index for the year 1926. The American Federation of Labour reported that according to returns received from trade unions in a number of cities, 21 per cent. of the membership were unemployed at the beginning of October, 1930. I understand that an Emergency Committee for Employment was set up by the President last month to organise, in co-operation with State and local authorities and charity organisations, measures for the relief of the needy unemployed, and that schemes of public works are in hand or in contemplation.

In view of the fact that one Member on the Treasury Bench has taken a figure of 5,000,000 unemployed in America, and another has reported it to be 10,000,000, would it not be advisable to secure some information as to whether it is 5,000,000 or 10,000,000?