There are many comparisons you could make between the decade of the 1930s and present day. I think some good ones would be economics, as you've chosen, gender roles, such as how men and women were expected to act/dress/work in the 1930s and what they do now, and the technological advances that have occurred since the 1930s. You could explore modes of communication, industry, and entertainment. You can also take a look at how the country was in a depression and compare that climate to today's economic struggles. You can look at comparing and contrasting the politics of today and of that time. Another idea is to compare the fashions or entertainments of the two eras. You can also look at the role immigrants and minorities play a part in the culture of the times. Those are a couple ideas of things that you can explore. If you're looking specifically at John Steinbeck works, he offers a lot of insight into life in the 1930s, surviving during hard times and the type of work people did then. His books will give you a picture of what life was like in that time.