Take a look at this quote on the second page of the text:
The first man stopped short in the clearing, and the follower nearly ran over him. He took off his hat and wiped the sweatband with his forefinger and snapped the moisture off.
In this image, I see a man living a migratory life. This is extremely indicative of the Great Depression. People moved from place to place looking for work. They learned to live in the outdoors. Hobo villages were popular and frequent. I also see a man dependent on his own work. You see how he had to take a break? It is only a walk at this point, but it is symbolic of something much larger, a lifestyle. It feels during the Depression that one can work and work and not ever really achieve.
Other evidences in chapter 1 that allude to the Great Depression include the need to get and use work tickets like the tickets they had prepared from Murray and Ready's. Another evidence would be reliance on public transportation. They rode the bus.