February 1st


One-hundred and seven years ago today, the first British state-funded Labour Exchanges opened their doors to job seekers

A Labour Exchange is what we know today as an Employment Agency: An unemployed individual is matched with an employer who requires their talents or skills and then, in many cases, employed. Prior to the establishment of labour exchanges, individuals had to find and obtain work themselves, which made it difficult for many disadvantaged Britons to earn a living.

On the 1st of February 1910, the first British Labour Exchange opened its doors to the public as a result of the Labour Exchanges Act 1909. The Act was passed by the Liberal government of Henry Herbert Asquith in an effort to tackle unemployment in urban centres.
However, the act was mostly unsuccessful as only 25% of those registered by labour exchanges were actually placed in work.


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