Each day, Benzinga takes a look back at a notable market-related moment that occurred on this date.
On April 8, 1935, Congress approved the Works Progress Administration — a cornerstone of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal — to employ more than 8.5 million Americans on public works projects.
Where The Market Was
The S&P 500 traded around $9, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average traded around $2,004.
What Else Was Going On In The World
Babe Ruth was preparing to play his first National League game for the Boston Braves, and American kids were playing the recently released first edition of Monopoly.
FDR Approves Major Stimulus
In the depths of the Great Depression, Roosevelt signed the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act to create $5 million in work relief programs. The public assistance package remains the largest in U.S. history.
The act gave birth to multiple federal agencies, including the Works Progress Administration, which Congress voted to approve the same day. Aimed to alleviate widespread unemployment, the WPA created more than 8.5 million jobs through 1.4 million public projects not competing with private businesses.
The WPA labor constructed schools, hospitals, airports and highways, and it also provided students federal aid and sponsored plays and art projects. To ensure independent enterprise remained undisturbed, Roosevelt instituted wage and price controls on federally funded projects.
Before it was disbanded in 1943, the annually renewed ERA Act had exhausted about $880 million in federal funds to create millions of jobs.
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