What Jobs Made Money During the Great Depression: Economist Tips

The Great Depression was a worldwide economic crisis that occurred during most of the 1930s, starting from the US. During this period, some people still managed to earn a decent living.

What Jobs Made Money During the Great Depression? Real estate, government positions, women’s work, and some breweries were among the jobs that still earned a living during the Great Depression. Some of these posts and businesses had to modify their products and procedures to keep making money.

According to a paper by David C. Wheelock – a renowned economist and researcher – the Great Depression could have been caused by several factors including the stock market crash in 1929, collapse in international trade, and protectionist economic guidelines.

What Are Good Business Choices in Case of a Recession

Businesses Worth Investing inPercentages
Home Based Business26%
Food/Restaurant Related Business15%
License/Franchising Business34%
Animal Related Business10%
Traveling Business15%

What Jobs Did Well During the Great Depression?

During the Great Depression, not every kind of job was affected equally as some businesses like Real Estate, Breweries, and Screenplay prospered during its duration. These jobs are discussed in detail below.

  • Government Jobs

During the Great Depression, the number of federal government personnel surged dramatically. Between the 1920s and 1940, the number of civilians employed by the federal government doubled, thanks to the establishment of the Social Security Administration and the National Labor Relations Board.

The government-created Civilian Conservation Corp, a statewide program that put men to work planting trees, cleaning dirty waterways, and constructing animal sanctuaries, employed about 2 million men between the ages of 18 and 25.

  • Real Estate

Demand was low during the Great Depression, and prices were low as well. Visionary business executives predicted that real estate values would rise in the future, and when they did, they used the equity to fund their expansions and growth.

Those who were clever enough not to be caught up in the stock market mania of the 1920s and instead kept their money were in an advantageous position to buy bargain firms and become billionaires as a result.

  • Breweries

The Great Depression was difficult for most businesses, but it was especially difficult for the country’s brewers. Sure, money was tight, but the brewers’ main product, beer, was illegal, to begin with.

Many of the country’s breweries closed their doors for good during national Prohibition, which lasted from 1920 to 1933. According to a 1932 Congressional Hearing, there were more than 1000 breweries before Prohibition began, but by 1932, there were “only 164 that could be ready to make beer again.”

Brewers began operating dairies, selling meat, and pursuing other agricultural endeavors. Brewers were also authorized to manufacture “near beer,” which included only tiny levels of alcohol, but consumer demand plummeted from 300 million gallons in 1921 to just 86 million gallons in 1932 due to the Depression.

Breweries have recently begun to apply their skills to non-alcoholic beverages such as root beer. Frank Yuengling, the head of the family brewery outside of Philadelphia, was convinced that Prohibition was only a fad, and he diversified, opening a dance club among other things.

  • Screenplay

Despite the hardships, during the Great Depression, more than 80 million people went to the movies at least once a week. Those who were fortunate enough to work in the film industry during the Great Depression found work and, in many ways, assisted others in getting through challenging times.

Mae West, one of the most popular cinema performers of the decade, was paid $5,000 per week. Despite their popularity, cinema theaters began to lose money in the mid-1930s due to declining attendance. The development of a low-cost snack, popcorn, was one factor that preserved the theater industry. Installing popcorn vending machines in movie theaters resulted in an instant rise in income.

  • Women’s Work

For a variety of factors, the number of women working increased during the Great Depression. New manufacturing technology reduced the demand for skilled people but increased the demand for unskilled labor, such as women just starting in the workforce.

Some of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal social programs necessitated the hiring of professionals with teaching and social service credentials, which were usually held by women.

What People Were Rich During the Great Depression?

During the Great Depression, some well-known names built their fortunes. Colonel Sanders, a granddad in Kentucky, began serving fried chicken at his petrol station. Due to great demand, he expanded to a 142-seat restaurant by 1937. Eventually reaching the national level of renown from his fried chicken business.

During the 1930s, two young electrical engineering graduates started an electrical machine business in a rented garage. With only $538 in investment money, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard legally became company partners in 1939. Outlasting the great depression and forging on into the world of computing technologies, becoming one of the leading developers within the 21st century.

Many people with little sums of capital were able to purchase bankrupt firms at a discount. Various businesspeople observed the increase in military spending by some governments toward the end of the 1930s. The world was prepared for war, and those who invested in enterprises that produced in-demand government items stood to profit handsomely.

Shipping, military vehicles, textiles (for uniforms, tents, etc.), metals (copper, steel, aluminum, and iron), shipping, and petroleum products companies all made a lot of money. Well-known businesses that were purchased for a low price. John Deere, Reynolds Metals, and Douglas Aircraft were among the well-known enterprises purchased at the time.

What Was the Best Investment During the Great Depression?

During The Great Depression, the best investment was gold.

By 1914, the gold standard had been implemented by the majority of developed countries, with a fixed exchange rate between the national currency and gold – and hence between national currencies.

During World War I, European governments deviated from the gold standard to manufacture money, and the accompanying price inflation drove enormous amounts of gold to American banks. The dollar’s gold value remained unchanged as the US remained on the gold standard. Gold was moved to the United States by investors and others, where it retained its value as a safe investment.

A few countries, most notably the United States, remained on the gold standard after World War I ended, while others temporarily adopted flexible exchange rates.

The International Financial Center of the world had relocated from London to New York City, and the British were eager to reclaim their former position. Some countries committed to returning to the gold standard with weakened currencies, while others wanted to return to gold at prewar exchange rates, following the British lead.

However, this was not achievable. During the war, too much money was generated to allow a return to the gold standard without severe currency devaluations or price deflations. Furthermore, the United States’ gold stock had increased to nearly 40% of the world’s monetary gold. The rest of the world simply did not have enough monetary gold to support the countries’ currencies at the current exchange rates.

As a result, the leading countries established a gold exchange system in which the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom would be willing to redeem the dollar and the pound for gold at any time, and other countries would keep a sizable portion of their international reserves in British pounds or US dollars.  As countries reverted to the gold standard, demand for gold rose even more.

What Happens to Money in the Bank During a Depression?

During a depression, your money is protected if it is federally insured.

Money arose thousands of years ago because of the failure of barter – the direct exchange of commodities or services for other goods or services. Money is essential to modern economies, and when the quantity or value of money changes abruptly or, economies tend to collapse.

When you print too much money, its value plummets, causing prices to soar (inflation). On the other hand, if the money stock is reduced, the value of money rises—that is, prices fall (deflation).

The United States was on the gold standard in the 1930s, which meant that the government would exchange dollars for gold at a set price. Commercial banks and Federal Reserve banks were required by law to keep a percentage of their reserves in gold currency and bullion.

A rise in gold reserves, which could happen from domestic mining or inflows of gold from overseas, would allow banks to expand their lending, inflating the money supply.

How Would You Survive Another Great Depression?

Finding additional sources of income, cutting down on your spending, and holding on to a lot of cash are great ways to survive another great depression.

Economists have recognized the necessity of solid macroeconomic policies in ensuring a strong economy and have mentioned these tips which can be followed to survive another Great Depression.

  • Reduce Your Spending

There has never been a more crucial time to execute long-term financial planning that takes into consideration your cash flow limits. In the event of actual or potential job loss or wage reduction, everyone, including those who have jobs, must instantly alter their spending.

This is especially true for tenured professors like me. Hundreds of universities and colleges will close, many of them permanently, depending on how long the plague lasts. As a result, we must all prepare for a lengthy period of little or no pay. In today’s market, the real (inflation-adjusted) return that retirees can get is zero. It was 1% a couple of years ago. That may appear to be a minor distinction. It’s not the case.

  • Late Retirement

Working longer, if possible, is one way for the pair to partially offset the impact on their sustainable living level. For example, if Joe works until he is 67 instead of retiring at the age of 65 as anticipated, the pair can spend $69,112 each year, which is 9% less than the original $76,232. If both Joe and Jane work until they are 67, annual discretionary spending will be $71,108, which is 7% less than $76,232.

  • Mortgage Repayment

Joe and Jane might be overlooking a fantastic financial opportunity. 3.75 percent is their mortgage interest rate. Long-term Treasury bond rates are now at 1.25 percent. As a result, pre-paying their mortgage will earn them a real return of 2.50 percent.

Assume the couple takes out $70,000 per year from their 401(k)s to pay off their mortgage over five years. Is that of any assistance? That is undeniable. The couple’s sustainable discretionary expenditure has increased to $74,755, up from $71,108 in the previous year.

  • Make the Most of Your Social Security Benefits Throughout Your Life

When Joe and Jane reach the full retirement age of 67, they hope to begin collecting Social Security payments. What if they wait until they’re 70 years old? Inflation-adjusted, this will increase their annual profits by 24%. What effect does it have on their annual discretionary spending that is both affordable and sustainable?

They will be able to spend $77,492 every year for the following four years. They can then spend and continue to spend $78,646. Both numbers are higher than the $76,232 per year they’ve been spending in recent years.

The nature of the couple’s cash-flow constraints explains why their spending increases after four years.

  • Consider Relocating to a Less Expensive State.

Joe and Jane both have careers that they can accomplish from home. Joe worked establishing up online affiliation partnerships before he was laid off, as previously stated. Jane provides customer service reps with remote training.

As a result, they have no ties to Indiana, which has a state income tax of 3.23 percent. That’s not a lot, but it’s something. What if Joe and Jane move to Texas, where there is no state income tax, and continue to live in the same house? Their annual sustainable living standard improves to $80,858, a stunning 6% more than it was before Covid-19.

Is It Good to Have Cash During a Depression?

Yes, it is a desirable choice to own and keep cash during a Depression. Cash and gold are two valuable assets to keep on hand during a crisis.

If you want financial safety in case of emergencies, you should keep at least three months’ worth of living costs in an easily accessible savings account, even in the best economic times. This is a good move because the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation will cover you if your bank goes bankrupt during a recession. The FDIC insures all deposit accounts up to $250,000. This includes checking, savings, certificates, and money market accounts.

Owning gold is also prudent due to the rapid depreciation of cash due to inflation. When the economy suffers a downturn, the value of gold has historically increased or remained stable. As such keeping it safe and away from prying eyes might mean the difference between life and death for your family. Safes that could boast waterproof and fireproof capabilities are best since everything tends to be unpredictable during uncertain times, so make sure you look at options like SentrySafe and be sure to click here for more information!

Final Thoughts

The Great Depression stands as one of the worst economic downfalls of the modern era. The ramifications of which we are still wary of even over 90 years after its end. Stockpiling items and commodities that are abundant now is ideal for when it is harder to find them. Such as water, and non-perishable foods. Valley Foods offers great options for long-lasting food choices, up to 25 years; learn more here. With the many economic pitfalls and issues that have begun to become increasingly rampant within the last few decades, it might be prudent to take a lesson from the past and prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

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