The eighteen months following the stock market crash of October 1929 marked a period both painfully similar to and radically different fromprevious depressions in the United States. As before, neither government nor industry had a clear picture of the severity of the situation. Adequate unemployment statistics were unavailable, and no one knew exactly how many workers were unemployed. Trying to reassure the public, President Hoover manipulated the employment statistics for January 1930 to show an upturn that had never occurred. But this pronouncement was challenged by Frances Perkins, Mary Van Kleeck, and others; and later in the year the government was forced to ask the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company to conduct a national survey of unemployment.1