AMONG THE PRIME requisites for getting a WPA job is that an applicant must be employable and unemployed. That these two factors might some day be the only considerations taken into account in selecting workers for employment on federal jobs has long been the fond hope of many WPA officials.1 Noteworthy among these has been Harry Hopkins, who in 1938 declared:
I think the time is coming, though I don't think it is coming right away, when the Government Work Program for the unemployed is going to be on a basis of the ability of the worker to do a day's work. I think the relief test is on the way out, though its exit may be gradual and cover a period of years. I think unemployment has to be treated as a problem of unemployment per se. It may be that as a matter of national policy we shall want to give work to all the unemployed.2
Though the question as to whether or not a given worker is unemployed might appear to be a relatively simple one, it is bound up, in practice, with a wide variety of considerations such as his usual occupation, the availability of work, rates of pay offered for available jobs, and the existence of a labor dispute in connection with some possible opening. The effect of these factors upon eligibility for WPA employment is discussed in the succeeding chapter. Here, attention is limited to the hardly less complicated question of employability.
Employability is neither easily defined nor easily measured.3____________________
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Publication information: Book title: The Wpa and Federal Relief Policy. Contributors: Donald S. Howard - Author, Russell Sage Foundation - OrganizationName. Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1943. Page number: 448.
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