Post-war Unemployment Among Jews Will Assume Serious Proportions, Conference is Told

Planning for the post-war employment problems of American Jews is of immediate urgency, Dr. Walter A. Lurie, director of the Jewish Vocational Service and Employment Center of Chicago, declared in an address delivered before the Second Conference on Jewish Economic Adjustment, held here.

“As the armed services are now releasing almost a million men a year into civilian life, private and public vocational services have opportunities of previewing the type of re-employment problem which will reach critical proportions at the end of the war,” he said. To prepare for demobilization these agencies must evaluate their experiences not only in the adjustment of returning soldiers but in the re-employment of workers released from industries undergoing conversion during the war, urged Dr. Lurie.

The Conference, attended by sixty-two representatives of national and local organizations concerned with Jewish economic welfare, was also addressed by Max F. Baer, national director of the B’nai B’rith Vocational Service Bureau, who spoke on ” The Post–War Employment Outlook, ” and by Reuben Bennett, director of guidance activities for the Jewish Welfare Board, who spoke on “Government Resources for Dealing with Post-War Employment Problems.”

Mr. Baer, in his analysis of labor trends after the war, declared that as a result of industrial conversion to a peace economy seven to twelve million persons were likely to become unemployed. The number of unemployed Jews would assume serious proportions, Mr. Baer warned. However, because of accumulated savings and consumer needs, a post-war boom which would take up a great deal of the unemployment slack was likely to follow industrial retooling.

Mr. Bennett pointed out possibilities of service by Jewish vocational agencies to returning veterans in connection with developing government plans for demobilized servicemen. At present the major governmental effort is being directed through the Veterans’ Administration in large part, to disabled servicemen and civilians. Concrete plans for dealing with the employment problems of able-bodied servicemen and civilians during demobilization are lacking, Mr. Bennett declared.

The Second Conference on Jewish Economic Adjustment, called by the Jewish Occupational Council as the central national agency coordinating all Jewish organizations concerned with Jewish economic welfare, discussed the significant problems faced by Jewish organizations in fulfilling their functions as manpower sources for the nation’s industries. Methods of recruiting Jewish labor supply, programs for orienting new recruits to unfamiliar jobs in strange surroundings, means of cooperating with governmental agencies, measures to eliminate employment discrimination, and the proper functions of Jewish vocational service agencies in adjusting their programs to war conditions were among the topics considered by the Conference.

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