The National Recovery Administration: An Analysis and Appraisal

By Leverett S. Lyon; Paul T. Homan et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXXVI
THE NRA AND EMPLOYMENT

The net gain in employment attributable to the NRA has been the subject of a great many guesses, most of them either extremely dubious or downright impossible. As early as November 1933, the NRA Administrator stated that his organization had put 4 million men to work. 1 This characteristic shot in the dark probably exceeded the total increase in employment up to that time from all causes. It appears to have been based on the assumption that had it not been for the NRA there would have been no gains whatsoever, a supposition highly unflattering to the achievements of other agencies in the numerous galaxy created by the New Deal, each of which was supposed to be in some degree contributory to recovery. 2

The NRA affected the volume of employment in two ways: (1) by changing the total amount of work done; (2) by dividing up the available work among more people. No final estimate of its contribution to re-employment can be made without taking both of these factors into account. For the present we wish to get a rough idea of the amount of re-employment attributable to the code limitations on working hours, in other words, the amount due to the spreading of work as distinguished from the enlargement of the aggregate amount of work done.

____________________
1
NRA Release No. 1874, p. 5.
2
Some time later, August 1934, Mr. Ickes claimed a direct and indirect employment of 2 million as a result of Public Works Administration activities alone. New York Times, Aug. 26, 1934, Sec. 4, p. 1.

-830-

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