Unemployment's Massachusetts Roots
New unemployment figures for August reveal that nearly one in 10 U.S. job-seekers can’t find work. On this Labor Day, we trace the history of modern-day unemployment back to its Massachusetts beginnings.
Historian Alex Keyssar says the focus on the unemployed really began not with the Great Depression, but with a different economic crisis. The financial panic of 1873 had led to the widespread belief that a quarter-million people were jobless in Massachusetts. Incredulous of that figure, the Massachusetts Bureau of Statistics and Labor went on the hunt for a better — more politically tolerable — figure.
- Alex Keyssar, historian at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government; author of “Out of Work: the First Century of Unemployment in Massachusetts”
Host Meghna Chakrabarti introduces us to newsmakers, big thinkers and artists and brings us stories of relevance to Bostonians here and around the region. Live every weekday at 3 p.m. and 10 p.m.
- Listen: Weekdays, 3 p.m. on 90.9 FM
- Live Call-In: (800) 423-TALK
- Listener Voicemail: (617) 358-0607