What Kind of Jobs Did People Have in the 1930s?

Written by julia story
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What Kind of Jobs Did People Have in the 1930s?
Even elderly family members sometimes combed the newspaper for job listings. (George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images)

The 1930s were a difficult time for most Americans. America was heavily embedded in the Great Depression, and many people lost their jobs. During the Great Depression, businesses closed and people's careers vanished suddenly. Even families with savings and a comfortable lifestyle could suddenly lose everything, leaving them to come up with a new plan and a changed way of life. Although the economy was damaged, some jobs were still available for those determined enough to find them.

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Day Labor

Due to the lack of career-worthy jobs, people sought out day labour positions. Men found farmers and business owners that needed help with basic jobs, and worked for a day for a small amount of pay. Jobs like helping farmers tend their fields, painting, doing repairs, and other physical jobs were common. Women sometimes found positions as maids or cleaners for small periods of time. People in desperate situations turned to day labour for money.

Education Jobs

Even in an economy devastated by the Great Depression, jobs in education were available. Although pay plummeted along with money values, many teachers and educators were able to keep their jobs. Education is required even in a time of economic downturn. Colleges, universities, and even small schools required teachers to continue educating children. Many children dropped out of school to work with their families, so the education they received was often cut short, and vitally important.

Health Care Jobs

During the 1930s, jobs in health care continued to be available. Doctors, nurses, surgeons, and specialists were needed at hospitals and clinics. Well-trained health care professionals are always needed, and during a time of poverty, many people required additional health care. However, often the only people that could afford quality health care were the rich. Some doctors and health care professionals devoted their skills to helping the poor and the unemployed for free.

Service Jobs

Customer service existed in the 1930s in the form of shop workers, waiters, hair stylists, and more. Although many people did not have the money for frivolous shopping, necessities still had to be purchased from local stores. Women sometimes found positions as maids and nannies for families with greater wealth. Chefs and cooks were also able to find jobs at restaurants targeted to the rich. Businesses still needed employees, although businessmen were largely hated.

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