Problems Of Unemployment – Unemployment or joblessness is the situation of actively looking for employment but not being currently employed.
The unemployment rate is a measure of the prevalence of unemployment and it is calculated as a percentage by dividing the number of unemployed individuals by all individuals currently in the labor force. During periods of recession, an economy usually experiences a relatively high unemployment rate. million people globally or 6% of the world’s workforce were without a job in 2012.
The causes of unemployment are heavily debated. Classical economics, new classical economics, and the Austrian School of economics argued that market mechanisms are reliable means of resolving unemployment. These theories argue against interventions imposed on the labor market from the outside, such as unionization, bureaucratic work rules, minimum wage laws, taxes, and other regulations that they claim discourage the hiring of workers. Keynesian economics emphasizes the cyclical nature of unemployment and recommends government interventions in the economy that it claims will reduce unemployment during recessions. This theory focuses on recurrent shocks that suddenly reduce aggregate demand for goods and services and thus reduce demand for workers. Keynesian models recommend government interventions designed to increase demand for workers; these can include financial stimuli, publicly funded job creation, and expansionist monetary policies. Its namesake economist John Maynard Keynes believed that the root cause of unemployment is the desire of investors to receive more money rather than produce more products, which is not possible without public bodies producing new money. The third group of theories emphasizes the need for a stable supply of capital and investment to maintain full employment. On this view, the government should guarantee full employment through fiscal policy, monetary policy, and trade policy as stated, for example, in the US Employment Act of 1946, by counteracting private sector or trade investment volatility, and reducing inequality.
In addition to these comprehensive theories of unemployment, there are a few categorizations of unemployment that are used to more precisely model the effects of unemployment within the economic system. Some of the main types of unemployment include structural unemployment and frictional unemployment, as well as cyclical unemployment, involuntary unemployment, and classical unemployment. Structural unemployment focuses on foundational problems in the economy and inefficiencies inherent in labor markets, including a mismatch between the supply and demand Cyclical_unemployment laborers with necessary skill sets. Structural arguments emphasize the causes and solutions related to disruptive technologies and globalization. Discussions of frictional unemployment focus on voluntary decisions to work based on each individuals’ valuation of their own work and how that compares to current wage rates plus the time and effort required to find a job. Causes and solutions for frictional unemployment often address job entry threshold and wage rates.
The state of being without any work for an educated person, for earning one’s livelihood is meant by unemployment. Economists distinguish between various overlapping types of and theories of unemployment, including cyclical or Keynesian unemployment, frictional unemployment, structural unemployment, and classical unemployment. Some additional types of unemployment that are occasionally mentioned are seasonal unemployment, hardcore unemployment, and hidden unemployment.
Though there have been several definitions of “voluntary” and “involuntary unemployment” in the economics literature, a simple distinction is often applied. Voluntary unemployment is attributed to the individual’s decisions, whereas involuntary unemployment exists because of the socio-economic environment (including the market structure, government intervention, and the level of aggregate demand) in which individuals operate. In these terms, much or most of the frictional unemployment is voluntary, since it reflects individual search behavior. Voluntary unemployment includes workers who reject low wage jobs whereas involuntary unemployment includes workers fired due to an economic crisis, industrial decline, company bankruptcy, or organizational restructuring.
On the other hand, cyclical unemployment, structural unemployment, and classical unemployment are largely involuntary in nature. However, the existence of structural unemployment may reflect choices made by the unemployed in the past, while classical (natural) unemployment may result from the legislative and economic choices made by labor unions or political parties.
The clearest cases of involuntary unemployment are those where there are fewer job vacancies than unemployed workers even when wages are allowed to adjust so that even if all vacancies were to be filled, some unemployed workers would still remain. This happens with cyclical unemployment, as macroeconomic forces cause microeconomic unemployment which can boomerang back and exacerbate these macroeconomic forces.
Problems Of Unemployment – Classical, or real-wage unemployment, occurs when real wages for a job are set above the market-clearing level causing the number of job-seekers to exceed the number of vacancies. On the other hand, most economists argue that as wages fall below a livable wage many choose to fall out of the labor market and no longer seek employment. This is especially true in countries where low-income families are supported through public welfare systems. In such cases, wages would have to be high enough to motivate people to choose employment over what they receive through public welfare. Wages below a livable wage are likely to result in lower labor market participation in the above-stated scenario. In addition, it must be noted that consumption of goods and services is the primary driver of increased need for labor. Higher wages lead to workers having more income available to consume goods and services. Therefore, higher wages increase general consumption and as a result need for labor increases and unemployment decreases in the economy.
Many economists have argued that unemployment increases with increased governmental regulation. For example, minimum wage laws raise the cost of some low-skill laborers above market equilibrium, resulting in increased unemployment as people who wish to work at the going rate cannot (as the new and higher enforced wage is now greater than the value of their labor). Laws restricting layoffs may make businesses less likely to hire in the first place, as hiring becomes riskier.]
However, this argument overly simplifies the relationship between wage rates and unemployment, ignoring numerous factors, which contribute to unemployment.Some, such as Murray Rothbard, suggest that even social taboos can prevent wages from falling to the market-clearing level.
In Out of Work: Unemployment and Government in Twentieth-Century America, economists Richard Vedder and Lowell Gallaway argue that the empirical record of wages rates, productivity, and unemployment in American validates classical unemployment theory. Their data shows a strong correlation between adjusted real wage and unemployment in the United States from 1900 to 1990. However, they maintain that their data does not take into account exogenous events.
Cyclical, deficient-demand, or Keynesian unemployment, occurs when there is not enough aggregate demand in the economy to provide jobs for everyone who wants to work. Demand for most goods and services falls, less production is needed and consequently, fewer workers are needed, wages are sticky and do not fall to meet the equilibrium level, and mass unemployment results. Its name is derived from the frequent shifts in the business cycle although unemployment can also be persistent as occurred during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
With cyclical unemployment, the number of unemployed workers exceeds the number of job vacancies, so that even if full employment were attained and all open jobs were filled, some workers would still remain unemployed. Some associate cyclical unemployment with frictional unemployment because the factors that cause the friction are partially caused by cyclical variables. For example, a surprise decrease in the money supply may shock rational economic factors and suddenly inhibit aggregate demand.
Keynesian economists, on the other hand, see the lack of supply for jobs as potentially resolvable by government intervention. One suggested interventions involves deficit spending to boost employment and demand. Another intervention involves an expansionary monetary policy that increases the supply of money which should reduce interest rates which should lead to an increase in non-governmental spending.
Okun’s Law interprets unemployment as a function of the rate of growth in GDP.
Structural unemployment occurs when a labor market is unable to provide jobs for everyone who wants one because there is a mismatch between the skills of the unemployed workers and the skills needed for the available jobs. Structural unemployment is hard to separate empirically from frictional unemployment, except to say that it lasts longer. As with frictional unemployment, the simple demand-side stimulus will not work to easily abolish this type of unemployment.
Problems Of Unemployment – Structural unemployment may also be encouraged to rise by persistent cyclical unemployment: if an economy suffers from long-lasting low aggregate demand, it means that many of the unemployed become disheartened, while their skills (including job-searching skills) become “rusty” and obsolete. Problems with debt may lead to homelessness and a fall into the vicious circle of poverty.
This means that they may not fit the job vacancies that are created when the economy recovers. The implication is that sustained high demand may lower structural unemployment. This theory of persistence in structural unemployment has been referred to as an example of path dependence or “hysteresis”.
Much technological unemployment, due to the replacement of workers by machines, might be counted as structural unemployment. Alternatively, technological unemployment might refer to the way in which steady increases in labor productivity mean that fewer workers are needed to produce the same level of output every year. The fact that aggregate demand can be raised to deal with this problem suggests that this problem is instead one of cyclical unemployment. As indicated by Okun’s Law, the demand side must grow sufficiently quickly to absorb not only the growing labor force but also the workers made redundant by increased labor productivity.
Seasonal unemployment may be seen as a kind of structural unemployment since it is a type of unemployment that is linked to certain kinds of jobs (construction work, migratory farm work). The most-cited official unemployment measures erase this kind of unemployment from the statistics using “seasonal adjustment” techniques. This results in substantial, permanent structural unemployment.
The Beveridge curve of 2004 job vacancy and unemployment rate from the United States Bureau of Labour Statistics.
Frictional unemployment is the time period between jobs when a worker is searching for, or transitioning from one job to another. It is sometimes called search unemployment and can be voluntary based on the circumstances of the unemployed individual.
Frictional unemployment exists because both jobs and workers are heterogeneous, and a mismatch can result between the characteristics of supply and demand. Such a mismatch can be related to skills, payment, work-time, location, seasonal industries, attitude, taste, and a multitude of other factors. New entrants (such as graduating students) and re-entrants (such as former homemakers) can also suffer a spell of frictional unemployment.
Workers as well as employers accept a certain level of imperfection, risk or compromise, but usually not right away; they will invest some time and effort to find a better match. This is in fact beneficial to the economy since it results in a better allocation of resources. However, if the search takes too long and mismatches are too frequent, the economy suffers, since some work will not get done. Therefore, governments will seek ways to reduce unnecessary frictional unemployment through multiple means including providing education, advice, training, and assistance such as daycare centers.
The frictions in the labour market are sometimes illustrated graphically with a Beveridge curve, a downward-sloping, convex curve that shows a correlation between the unemployment rate on one axis and the vacancy rate on the other. Changes in the supply of or demand for labour cause movements along this curve. An increase (decrease) in labour market frictions will shift the curve outwards (inwards).
Hidden, or covered, unemployment is the unemployment of potential workers that are not reflected in official unemployment statistics, due to the way the statistics are collected. In many countries, only those who have no work but are actively looking for work (and/or qualifying for social security benefits) are counted as unemployed. Those who have given up looking for work (and sometimes those who are on Government “retraining” programs) are not officially counted among the unemployed, even though they are not employed.
The statistic also does not count the “underemployed”—those working fewer hours than they would prefer or in a job that doesn’t make good use of their capabilities. In addition, those who are of working age but are currently in full-time education are usually not considered unemployed in government statistics. Traditional unemployed native societies who survive by gathering, hunting, herding, and farming in wilderness areas, may or may not be counted in unemployment statistics. Official statistics often underestimate unemployment rates because of hidden unemployment.
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Long-term unemployment is defined in European Union statistics, as unemployment lasting for longer than one year. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which reports current long-term unemployment rate at 1.9 percent, defines this as unemployment lasting 27 weeks or longer. Long-term unemployment is a component of structural unemployment, which results in long-term unemployment existing in every social group, industry, occupation, and all levels of education.
There are also different ways national statistical agencies measure unemployment. These differences may limit the validity of international comparisons of unemployment data. To some degree these differences remain despite national statistical agencies increasingly adopting the definition of unemployment by the International Labour Organization. To facilitate international comparisons, some organizations, such as the OECD, Eurostat, and International Labor Comparisons Program, adjust data on unemployment for comparability across countries.
Though many people care about the number of unemployed individuals, economists typically focus on the unemployment rate. This corrects for the normal increase in the number of people employed due to increases in population and increases in the labour force relative to the population.
As defined by the International Labour Organization, “unemployed workers” are those who are currently not working but are willing and able to work for pay, currently available to work, and have actively searched for work. Individuals who are actively seeking job placement must make the effort to: be in contact with an employer, have job interviews, contact job placement agencies, send out resumes, submit applications, respond to advertisements, or some other means of active job searching within the prior four weeks. Simply looking at advertisements and not responding will not count as actively seeking job placement. Since not all unemployment may be “open” and counted by government agencies, official statistics on unemployment may not be accurate. In the United States, for example, the unemployment rate does not take into consideration those individuals who are not actively looking for employment, such as those still attending college.
The ILO describes 4 different methods to calculate the unemployment rate:
Labour Force Sample Surveys are the most preferred method of unemployment rate calculation since they give the most comprehensive results and enables calculation of unemployment by different group categories such as race and gender. This method is the most internationally comparable.
Official Estimates are determined by a combination of information from one or more of the other three methods. The use of this method has been declining in favor of Labour Surveys.
Social Insurance Statistics such as unemployment benefits, are computed based on the number of persons insured representing the total labour force and the number of persons who are insured that are collecting benefits. This method has been heavily criticized due to the expiration of benefits before the person finds work.
Employment Office Statistics are the least effective being that they only include a monthly tally of unemployed persons who enter employment offices. This method also includes unemployed who are not unemployed per the ILO definition.
The primary measure of unemployment, U3, allows for comparisons between countries. Unemployment differs from country to country and across different time periods. For example, during the 1990s and 2000s, the United States had lower unemployment levels than many countries in the European Union, which had significant internal variation, with countries like the UK and Denmark outperforming Italy and France. However, large economic events such as the Great Depression can lead to similar unemployment rates across the globe.