By 1930, one in four Americans was unemployed. More than 4,000 banks had closed because they had run out of money. People who had saved for years to buy a home or educate their children lost their life savings. Weekly average wages fell from $25 to $17 between 1929 and 1933.
Also, banks had invested too much money with stock brokers who in turn were loaning large sums to margin buyers.