In 1916 the Keating-Owen Child Labor bill was signed by President Woodrow Wilson. This bill said that the federal government could regulate child labor. Previous laws against child labor only existed at the state level and were rarely enforced. The Keating-Owen bill was overturned two years later, however, when the Supreme Court ruled that it limited state powers to regulate labor and exceeded federal authority.
Child labor began to decrease in the 1920s, due more to changes in the cotton industry than to the efforts of social reformers. New technology eliminated the need for many workers, and new fabrics and techniques made millwork more difficult. Experienced adult workers were needed for this work, and the use of child workers declined.