The idea of programs to provide public sector jobs for the unemployed reaches back deep into American history. To alleviate the unemployment accompanying the Panic of 1893, Coxey’s Army – a popular protest campaign – called for the creation of government jobs, and this demand was voiced increasingly during the early twentieth century. In the midst of the Great Depression, New Deal government officials developed programs to provide public employment for millions of Americans who had been thrown out of work. Under the Works Progress Administration, the federal government hired the unemployed to build hospitals, schools, museums, roads, city halls, bridges, and numerous other public facilities, as well as to work in theater and in the arts. » Continue Reading.