The French economy underwent four major recessions in the interwar years. These downturns – 1920–21, 1926–27, 1931–32 and 1934–36 – each had their own distinctive features but all led to sharp rises in unemployment. In terms of joblessness in France, the 1920s were the forgotten decade. Yet two major recessions spurred efforts to organize the workless. After the post-war recovery, the French economy slid into a sharp recession by the beginning of 1921. The figures of those on unemployment relief, though they grossly underestimated the amount of unemployment, did indicate its rapid growth in the early months of 1921. 1 In April 1921, the Prefect of Nord informed the Minister of the Interior that if there was no change in the outlook, 54 factories in his department would close and 32 would have to reduce their workforces or cut hours. 2 The downturn of 1921 was acutely felt in some industries such as silk, wool and leather, though other sectors such as iron and steel, shipbuilding and coal continued to grow. Overall, from its already depressed level because of war damage, industrial production fell by over a tenth. 3