Business Briefs

Groups call for New Deal-style jobs program

Posted April 8, 2010 5:34 p.m. EDT

— Some anti-poverty groups say one way to end the recession would be to take a page out of the history books.

They pointed Thursday to the Works Progress Administration, the public jobs program President Franklin Roosevelt created 75 years ago to create jobs and boost the economy.

The WPA helped build the Blue Ridge Parkway, William B. Umstead State Park and the Raleigh Little Theatre. The projects put a generation of young men to work during the Great Depression.

Groups like the AFL-CIO, the NAACP and the North Carolina Justice Center urged Congress to pass the Local Jobs for America Act, which would create new WPA-style public works projects and jobs to help stimulate local economies.

"When we put people back to work, they have money to spend at neighborhood restaurants and businesses, and this, in turn, will spur jobs for local small businesses," said MaryBe McMillan, of the North Carolina AFL-CIO.

Supporters say the legislation would create 1 million jobs, but opponents say it would only add to the nation's growing deficit.