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A make-work job is a job that has less immediate financial benefit to the economy than the job costs to support. Make-work jobs are similar to workfare but are publicly offered on the job market and have otherwise normal employment requirements (workfare jobs, in contrast, may be handed out to a randomly selected applicant or have special requirements such as continuing to search for a non-workfare job).
Make-work jobs are considered to be harmful[by whom?] by some economists, as they place people in less productive sectors of the economy.
As a part of New Deal, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration provided $500 million for relief operations by states and cities, while the short-lived CWA (Civil Works Administration) gave localities money to operate make-work projects in 1933-34.
In a socialist nationalised economy, several of the nationalized sectors of work can be considered as make work jobs, whereby the industry being worked in does not necessarily make a profit, but is considered essential by the state to the national interest. In practice, however, the phrase "make-work" is more commonly only used for work that is both of negative financial benefit and also not considered to be of any other particular benefit to the national interest.
- David Edwin Harrell et al. (2005). Unto A Good Land: A History Of The American People. Wm. B. Eerdmans. pp. 902–. ISBN 0802837182.