Antirecessionary Job Creation:

Lessons From the Emergency Jobs Act of 1983

T-HRD-92-13: Published: Feb 6, 1992. Publicly Released: Feb 6, 1992.

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GAO discussed the effectiveness of the Emergency Jobs Act of 1983. GAO noted that: (1) the Emergency Jobs Act made over $9 billion available to supplement the activities of 77 existing federal programs and activities to provide productive employment for jobless Americans, hasten or initiate federal projects and construction of lasting value, and provide humanitarian assistance to the indigent; (2) the 77 programs provided funds for public works, public service, income support, and employment and training assistance; (3) $7.8 billion of the funds was made available to 55 public works to build water systems and sewers and construct subsidized housing; (4) only one-third of the available funds were spent by June 1984, at which time the unemployment level returned to its pre-recession level; (5) 74 percent of public works funds remained unspent by June 1984; (6) almost all funds made available for income support, training, and public service were spent by June 1984; (7) due to the slow spend-out rate, relatively few jobs were created when they were most needed; (8) only 35 percent of the people employed by programs supported by the act were previously unemployed; (9) Emergency Jobs Act funds were not targeted to the areas most affected by the recession, and there was a wide variation in the relationship between the amounts of funds allocated to each state and the number of unemployed persons in that state; and (10) had all of the $9 billion been spent in the year after the act's enactment, the peak employment impact would have been nearly four times as great.

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