March 7, 1930: Statement Regarding Business and Unemployment
"The Departments of Commerce and Labor are engaged in the usual monthly survey of business and unemployment and especially of the results obtained from the measures which have been in progress since the last of November, to reduce unemployment and the hardship following the dislocation from the stock exchange crash. The survey is not as yet complete. There are, however, certain conclusions that are evident.
"1. Unemployment amounting to distress is in the main concentrated in 12 States. The authorities in the remaining 36 States indicate only normal seasonal unemployment or that the minor abnormal unemployment is being rapidly absorbed.
"2. The low point of business and employment was the latter part of December and early January. Since that time employment has been slowly increasing and the situation is much better today than at that time.
"3. Nationwide response to the request for increased construction and improvement work by public authorities, railroads, utilities, and industries is having a most material effect. Construction contracts in these categories in January and February were from 40 percent to 45 percent higher than ever known in those months. The total construction work for 1930 seems assured to be larger than even 1929.
"4. The undertakings to maintain wages have been held.
"5. The amount of unemployment is, in proportion to the number of workers, considerably less than one-half (probably only one-third) of that which resulted from the crashes of 1907-08, and 1920-22 at this period of the situation.
"6. Measures taken to ameliorate interest rates have resulted in continuous decrease since December, and money is available at lower rates for business and commercial purposes. One result is an increasing volume of bond issues have been placed for public improvements. Available money for mortgage purposes of home building and agriculture has lagged behind other forms of credit. But a decrease in demands of policyholders for loans on the insurance companies and the action recently taken by the Federal Reserve System should result in increased supplies of credit, especially for residential building, which in turn has lagged behind other construction.
"7. All the evidences indicate that the worst effects of the crash upon employment will have been passed during the next 60 days with the amelioration of seasonal unemployment, the gaining strength of other forces, and the continued cooperation of the many agencies actively cooperating with the Government to restore business and to relieve distress."