Ohio Unemployment Insurance Commission

From Ohio History Central

With the beginning of the Great Depression in October 1929, many Ohioans became unemployed as businesses attempted to avoid bankruptcy by either firing or laying off workers. By 1932, 37.3 percent of Ohio workers were unemployed. Thousands of other workers were underemployed as businesses reduced hours and pay to help the companies remain solvent.

On April 9, 1931, the Ohio legislature created the Ohio Unemployment Insurance Commission. The legislature charged the commission to "investigate the possibility of setting up unemployment reserves or insurance funds to provide against the risk of unemployment." The commission released its final report on October 26, 1932. The commissioners called for the creation of a state unemployment insurance program that the Ohio Unemployment Insurance Commission would administer. This plan would require every business in Ohio to contribute to the fund. Due to fears that the increased tax burden on businesses might bankrupt some companies, the Ohio legislature refused to act on the commission's proposal immediately. Nevertheless, the creation of the Ohio Unemployment Insurance Commission illustrated the increasing desire of many American citizens for a more active government role in their lives. Rather than preferring a government that remained out of their affairs, many Americans, including Ohioans, developed new expectations for their government during the Great Depression. They increasingly believed that federal, state, and local governments had a duty to aid their citizens.

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