I was having a conversation sometime ago about the merits of implementing an old-school, WPA-style jobs program for the current recession. There was some concern that such a program might not work in 2009 because, unlike 1933, the population is much more educated and can’t be put to as productive use doing manual-labor-type work.
Matt Yglesias crunches the August 2009 BLS jobs numbers and produces this graph:
The brunt of the recession is falling on the least-educated segment of the workforce. This, coupled with current thinking that the recession will end in a “jobless recovery” for the next few years, indicates that a WPA-style program just might be necessary.