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employment bureau

employment bureau, a government-run establishment for bringing together the employer offering work and the employee seeking it. As a not-for-profit service, employment bureaus operate differently from privately run firms, such as employment agencies, temporary job agencies, and executive search firms, that charge fees to employers for filling a job opening. In Great Britain the first public employment bureau was opened in 1885 at Egham. A national system was established in 1909, and when the Ministry of Labour was later founded, both unemployment insurance and the labor exchanges were transferred to it. The exchanges charge no fees. In Germany local public exchanges were founded in the late 1800s. France has had public employment agencies since 1916. The International Labor Conference of the League of Nations in 1919 included in the convention on unemployment an article providing that ratifying states would establish free public labor exchanges. In the United States the first state regulation of private employment agencies was in 1848, and Wisconsin and Minnesota required licensing by 1885. Other states enacted similar licensing laws. The first state agency was established in 1890 in Ohio. The federal government in 1907 opened employment offices within the former Bureau of Immigration and Naturalization. In 1918 the Employment Service was established as a unit in the Dept. of Labor. By the time World War I ended, decreasing appropriations and considerable opposition rendered it practically ineffective. With the passage of the Wagner-Peyser Act in 1933, the United States Employment Service (USES) was reestablished as part of the Dept. of Labor. Its functions were to develop a national system of public employment offices, furnish information on employment opportunities, and maintain a system for clearing labor among the states. The USES maintains over 1,700 employment offices in the states and territories that provide about 3.2 million workers with jobs annually. Since the 1960s Congress has passed several acts that expand the scope of services offered by the USES, including the Area Redevelopment Act (1961), the Manpower Development and Training Act (1962), The Vocational and Educational Act (1963), and the Economic Opportunity Act (1964), the Job Training Partnership Act (1982), and the Economic Dislocation and Worker Adjustment Assistance Act (1988). Since 1979, the USES has given employers tax credits for hiring disadvantaged workers.

See G. de Guzman and C. Corbett, The Job Bank Guide to Employment Services (1989).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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