During the great depression, which lasted from 1929 to 1941 in the United States, with a near recovery in 1938, there was a program called the WPA. The idea being that unemployment was furthering the depression, and that a job, any job, would put money in people's pockets, which they'd go promptly spend, causing economic demand, and causing the depression to lift. WPA camps would have young men dig trenches, build roads, anything that the government considered worthwhile. Their salary was split between them and their family to encourage responsible spending. (Yes, Mr. Smith would like to spend his entire salary on gin, as he is an alcoholic. No, Mrs. Smith would not approve of that.)
I've constantly read that infrastructure in the United States is collapsing, and at the same time, unemployment is high. Let's bring back the WPA and let one solve the other.
If you made me regional head of the WPA tomorrow, here's what I'd order for my area:
* Repave any road lighter than a certain shade of grey. (American roads are typically asphalt-based, they're ink black when laid down, and slowly fade to cement-white as they wear.)
* Install curbs in the lesser-known streets
* Litter collection. By Tesla's mustache, litter collection.
* Rebuild rail lines.
* Subway system. (Shovels, pickaxes, and earthmovers ready, gentlemen?)
* Enormous office complex with enormous parking structure
* Rebuild all local freeways. More sensible HOV lane, please.
* Water purification plant. Pipe purified water west to the desert
That should employ a good sized population, and improve life in the area, I think.