Wikipedia also says that in the 1576 Act each town was required to provide work for the unemployed. The Elizabethan Poor Law of 1601, one of the world’s first government-sponsored welfare programs, made a clear distinction between those who were unable to work and those able-bodied people who refused employment.
Personally, I can argue both sides of this. In deference to the job seekers, I’ve written several articles about the stupidity of companies not hiring the unemployed (here’s the most recent:
http://findtheperfectjob.com/archives/264.html In deference to employers, I know from having been a recruiter and now from working with my clients there are an awful lot of job seekers who think they are qualified….and aren’t.