As the Great Depression approached its worst, Wisconsin made the nation’s first governmental direct relief effort for the unemployed. On this date in 1932, it enacted unemployment insurance, soon followed by a half-dozen other states before the Social Security Act in mid-decade moved all states to adopt such programs by 1937. Wisconsin’s program issued its first unemployment check in August in the amount of $15. By 2012, states and local governments took in over $80 billion from the payroll tax to fund unemployment insurance. But they spent nearly $96 billion in such assistance. States have $256 billion in combined insurance trust funds, but an aggregate deficit of $18 billion for covering unemployment. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online at <www.census.gov>.