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The President's News Conference

August 04, 1931


THE PRESIDENT. I haven't any great wealth of news. News is not subject to manufacture. There was a District Attorney in the Western District of Oklahoma, Mr. Herbert K. Hyde, appointed this morning.


I have two reports which I think are of public interest. One of them is from the Treasury Department as to the progress in the public building program. As you know from previous reports, they have a total of 758 projects which have been specifically authorized at a cost of about $453 million, and, as you know, each one of those projects has to pass through a long and painful experience of advancements from one stage to another--from the determination of the site and the local conflicts that arise about it, the acquirement of the site and the local difficulties that must arise from it apparently, and the final and ultimate contract for the building. So that the Treasury reports these different stages of advancement of the projects. I will give you a shorthand note on this.

Up to date on the program they have completed 57 buildings, amounting to something over $25 million. Between May 15 and July 15--May 15 being the date of the last report--42 additional contracts have been let, bringing up the total buildings under contract to 192, with an estimated cost of $135 million. The next stage of delay is that all sites that have been acquired, plans have been completed, and are in process of being offered for bid. Forty-seven additional projects advanced to this stage since May 15, making the total now of 61 in that category, at an estimated cost of about $44 million.

Then the next category--the sites that have been acquired and the plans in course of preparation. There are 192 projects in that stage, at an estimated cost of about $181 million. And then there are the various categories of sites, negotiations, bids that have been advertised for, and so on.

The important thing about it is that the preliminaries have been gotten through in a very large majority on the sites, and the rest of the program moves with a great deal of expedition. There should be probably $300 million under contract by fall.


The other report is one from the Department of Labor on the development of the reorganized labor service which was authorized by Congress at the last session. It shows a very large measure of accomplishments, the details of which you can see in the report.

Otherwise than that I haven't anything of any particular interest this morning.

Q. Will the Labor report be given out ?

THE PRESIDENT. Yes, in 10 or 15 minutes.

Note: President Hoover's two hundred and first news conference was held in the White House at 12 noon on Tuesday, August 4, 1931.

On the same day, the White House issued a text of a White House statement on public building projects (see Item 278).

A text of the Labor Department report on the United States Employment Service, dated August 3, 1931, follows:
To the President:
I have the honor to report upon the progress of the newly reorganized Employment Service in this Department as follows:

Mr. John R. Alpine, of New York, was appointed as Special Assistant to the Secretary of Labor on March 13th to direct expansion and reorganization of the Service and intensification of its efforts to relieve the situation growing out of the business depression, under the larger provisions of the last Congress.

The actual work of expansion and reorganization, at which time the very important task of selecting Industrial Superintendents of Building Trades; Mining and Quarrying; Manufacturing and Metal Trades; Transportation; Clothing and Needle Trades; Office and Mercantile, and Marine Seamen and Longshoremen, and State Directors and Assistants thereto, which were to create the personnel of this important work, was instituted on March 18, 1931. This in itself was a task of no mean proportions, but on April 20th the question of personnel had been completed with but few exceptions. On that date a meeting of those men and women who had been appointed to administer to the affairs of this reorganized United States Employment Service was held in Washington at the Department of Labor. Full instructions were given to them by Mr. Alpine, myself and other officials of the Department of Labor, and for three days the ramifications of our task of expansion was fully gone into, and the appointees given the benefit of a most extensive experience and research by the officers of the Department referred to.

In a comparatively brief period of time the new Employment Service was actually working, and from the date that its wheels were started in operation it has been gaining momentum hourly, until at this time it has demonstrated its worth in a most remarkable degree.

The concentration of effort took full shape on May 15, 1931. Our records, therefore, showing the progress of this work of reorganization and expansion should properly date as of May 15, 1931, although because of reasons comparative we will make reference data beginning April 1, 1931.

On April 1, 1931, there were 200 cooperating offices and 36 Junior Placement Offices, representing totally 236 cooperative offices.

On April 1, 1931, there were 23 Veterans' Employment Offices, and 17 Farm Labor offices. There are now under the new plan of reorganization 56 additional Federal Employment Offices under the supervision of the various State Directors.

The number of cooperative offices as of April 1 remains unchanged, and represents 236 offices where cooperation on the part of the United States Employment Service is gratifyingly in evidence.

Federal and cooperative offices on April 1, 1931 ....... 279
Federal and cooperative offices on July 31, 1931 ....... 332

With reference to cooperative offices, it is pleasant to record that our efforts and results in this direction are eminently satisfactory.

We have recently instituted an intensive campaign calling upon every citizen of our Country to assist in the relief of the unemployment conditions obtaining among the Veterans of our land. To this end we are working in close cooperation with the American Legion, The Veterans Administration, the Disabled American Veterans of the World War and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. While our enlarged plans in this direction are of comparative recent origin, we are making marked progress because of the splendid system of cooperation in operation between the United States Employment Service and the Veterans' Organizations referred to. We are doing everything possible to be of practical service to those men whose services were so invaluable to our Country and to all the world. This is a most important matter, and it is receiving the attention commensurate with its importance.

Total employment placements from April 1 to July 31, 1931 ....... 638,689

These figures are incomplete, due to the fact that full data has not been received for the month of July, but they are sufficiently accurate to demonstrate the splendid work that this enlarged United States Employment Service is doing. It is but a beginning, and as the expansion increases, so also will results increase. With the splendid season of cooperation existing with State, City and Civic Free Employment Services, and with the equally splendid cooperation existing between the various Veterans' Organizations, we confidently anticipate increasingly fine results as a consequence of our efforts in all States of the Union and in the District of Columbia.

The number of jobs that have been provided for the unemployed would undoubtedly be considered formidable under any conditions, but when the economic depression through which we are passing is taken into consideration, a little reflection will illustrate not only the importance of this task, but the splendid results that have been attained.

Obviously it is impossible to find jobs where jobs fail to exist, but the United States Employment Service, by combing the highways and byways, has succeeded in finding jobs for 281,769 unemployed from April 1st to July 31st, 1931, with complete returns not yet available, and if there are other jobs to be had, this Service proposes to locate them. We are paving the way, on solid foundation, for real Employment Service that could not be obtained by any other means.
Total placements made by all Federal and cooperative employment
offices combined ........638,689

Despite the prevalent unfavorable economic conditions we feel that our efforts will have an appreciable effect upon the unemployment situation during the approaching winter.
Yours faithfully,

Herbert Hoover, The President's News Conference Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/211720

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