During and after World War II the elimination of mass unemployment and the maintenance of full or high level employment became accepted as their responsibilities by the governments of many nations. Not only was full employment recognized as a paramount domestic objective, but nations whose memories were filled with the international ramifications of unemployment supported the pledge to pursue full-employment policies as they became members of the United Nations.
The United States' recognition of governmental responsibility for elimination of unemployment came with the passage of the Employment Act of 1946. The declaration of policy was set forth in Section 2:
The Congress hereby declares that it is the continuing policy and responsibility of the Federal Government to use all practicable means consistent with its needs and obligations and other essential considerations of national policy, with the assistance and cooperation of industry, agriculture, labor, and State and local governments, to coordinate and utilize all its plans, functions, and resources for the purpose of creating and maintaining, in a manner calculated to foster and promote free competitive enterprise and the general welfare, conditions under which there will be afforded useful employment opportunities, including self-employment, for those able, willing, and seeking to work, and to promote maximum employment, production, and purchasing power.
Although the phrase "full employment" was not included, the act nonetheless marked a new era in national policy.