The WPA and Federal Relief Policy

By Donald S. Howard | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
EARNINGS AND SUPPLEMENTARY INCOME OF WPA WORKERS

SCHEDULED RATES of WPA pay described in the foregoing chapter are one thing. Actual earnings are something else. In many instances, workers actually receive less than their scheduled rates. In other instances, however, they are paid more. In either case they sometimes receive income from other sources to augment their WPA earnings.


ACTUAL MONTHLY EARNINGS

Earnings of WPA project workers throughout the United States during 1941 averaged $58.79 per worker per month. This was higher than the monthly average for any year since the WPA was established. Monthly average earnings for the years 1936 through 1941 are shown in Table 12.


TABLE 12.--AVERAGE MONTHLY EARNINGS OF WORKERS EMPLOYED BY WPA, 1936 TO 1941, BY YEARa
YearAverage
earnings
Per cent of
1936 average
1936$52.14100.0
193755.15105.8
193852.85101.4
193954.19103.9
194055.32106.1
194158.79112.7
a Source of data: Social Security Bulletin, February, 1942, pp. 26-29. Data include earnings on projects operated by other federal agencies but financed from WPA funds.

Although monthly average earnings during 1941 show a sizable increase over the average for 1936, it must be recalled that this gain was largely offset by increases in the cost of living which was some 5 or 6 per cent higher in 1941 than it had been in 1936.

Even the relatively high monthly average WPA earnings of

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