When employment provided by relief work is included in the employment figures, unemployment under Roosevelt came down from 25% to just under 10% by 1937. This is a much better record on unemployment than the official statistics reveal. More information can be found on this issue here:
Mitchell, B., “What causes mass unemployment?,” January 11th, 2010.The unemployment rate soared again when Roosevelt cut government spending in 1937, but the adjusted figures show it rising from under 10% to about 12.5% in 1938, and not to around 19% in the old figures.
“(Very) short reading list: unemployment in the 1930s,” October 10, 2008.
Carter, S. B. 2006. “Labor force, employment, and unemployment: 1890–1990,” Table Ba470-477, in S. B. Carter, S. S. Gartner, M. R. Haines, A. L. Olmstead, R. Sutch, and G. Wright, Historical Statistics of the United States, Earliest Times to the Present: Millennial Edition, Cambridge University Press, New York.
Darby, M. R. 1976. “Three-and-a-Half Million U.S. Employees Have Been Mislaid: Or, an Explanation of Unemployment, 1934–1941,” Journal of Political Economy 84.1: 1–16.
Lebergott, S. 1964. Manpower in Economic Growth: The American Record since 1800, McGraw-Hill, New York.
Mitchell, B., “What causes mass unemployment?,” January 11th, 2010
“(Very) short reading list: unemployment in the 1930s,” October 10, 2008
Weir, D. R. 1992. “A Century of U.S. Unemployment, 1890–1990: Revised Estimates and Evidence for Stabilization,” Research in Economic History 14: 301–346.