The state of not being engaged in a gainful occupation

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.


UpdBook Review: Out of Work, by Richard Ebeling, Future of Freedom, Oct 1993
Review of Out of Work: Unemployment and Government in Twentieth-Century America by Richard K. Vedder and Lowell E. Gallaway (1993)
"In 1932, the English economist Edwin Cannan ... explained that people were wrong when they said that millions were unemployed because there was not enough demand for the services those unemployed could potentially render. ... The view that unemployment is caused by wage demands too high in relation to the wages employers are willing and able to pay has been out of favor for more than fifty years. ... Richard K. Vedder and Lowell E. Gallaway ... defend the pre-Keynesian view of the cause of unemployment and explain government's role in making unemployment a significant problem in modern America."
Related Topics: Ludwig von Mises, Wages
Book Review: Say's Law and the Keynesian Revolution, by Richard Ebeling, Future of Freedom, Feb 1999
Review of Say's Law and the Keynesian Revolution: How Macroeconomic Theory Lost Its Way by Steven Kates, 1998
"... Keynes said that the classical economists had believed that 'supply creates its own demand,' and that therefore unemployment was impossible ... Since periods of depression and widespread unemployment had happened in the past and one was being experienced then in the 1930s, clearly the classical economists had been wrong. ... Government spending needed to fill the gap left by private-sector demand to ensure full employment for all. Kates refutes Keynes's caricature of the classical economists. He clearly explains what they really understood as 'the law of markets,' why extensive unemployment sometimes occurred, and what they saw as the solution to the problem."
Related Topics: Japan, Prices, Jean-Baptiste Say
Catallactic Unemployment, by Ludwig von Mises, Human Action, 1949
Chapter 21 "Work and Wages", Section 4; defines catallactic or market-generated unemployment, details reasons why some people choose to remain unemployed and discusses "frictional" and institutional unemployment
"What causes unemployment is the fact that--contrary to the above-mentioned doctrine of the worker's inability to wait--those eager to earn wages can and do wait. A job-seeker who does not want to wait will always get a job in the unhampered market economy in which there is always unused capacity of natural resources and very often also unused capacity of produced factors of production. It is only necessary for him either to reduce the amount of pay he is asking for or to alter his occupation or his place of work."
How the Welfare State Corrupted Sweden, by Per Bylund, Mises Daily, 31 May 2006
"In a recently televised discussion ..., the children and grandchildren of the welfare state met to discuss unemployment ... The demand of the 'grandchildren' was literally that the 'old people' (born in the late 1940s, 1950s and 1960s) should step aside (i.e., stop working) because their working 'steals' jobs from the young!"
How We Privatized Social Security in Chile, by José Piñera, The Freeman, Jul 1997
Explains how the Chilean private pension system works and how the previous government-controlled system was transformed into the current one (the author was the Secretary of Labor and Social Security under Pinochet and designed the new system)
"Chile has eliminated the payroll tax, which, by making it more expensive for employers to create jobs, put a damper on employment. Chilean unemployment is around 5 percent—and without the disguised unemployment of government make-work jobs. By contrast, in the Western European welfare states, unemployment is generally between 10 percent and 25 percent."
"Living wage" kills jobs, by Thomas Sowell, 5 Nov 2003
Explains what a "living wage" is supposed to be and the effect that "artificially higher wage rates" have on employment
"Most studies of minimum wage laws in countries around the world show that fewer people are employed at artificially higher wage rates. Moreover, unemployment falls disproportionately on lower skilled workers, younger and inexperienced workers, and workers from minority groups. The new Cato Institute study cites data showing job losses in places where living wage laws have been imposed. ... As imposed wage rates rise, so do job qualifications, so that less skilled or less experienced workers become 'unemployable.' Think about it. Every one of us would be 'unemployable' if our pay rates were raised high enough."
Related Topic: Minimum Wage Laws
Minimum Wage Rates, by Ludwig von Mises, Human Action, 1949
Chapter 30, "Interference With the Structure of Prices", Section 3; discusses the setting of minimun wages both by legislation and by collecitve bargaining, pointing out some of the resulting problems
"Assistance granted to the unemployed does not dispose of unemployment. It makes it easier for the unemployed to remain idle. The nearer the allowance comes to the height at which the unhampered market would have fixed the wage rate, the less incentive it offers to the beneficiary to look for a new job. It is a means of making unemployment last rather than of making it disappear."
UpdMonetary Central Planning and the State, Part 26: Milton Friedman and the Monetary "Rule" for Economic Stability, by Richard Ebeling, Future of Freedom, Feb 1999
Examines Friedman's arguments, in a 1967 speech, about what monetary policy could not accomplish and his defense of a paper money standard in the 1960 book A Program for Monetary Stability
"Second, Friedman argued, monetary policy could not permanently push unemployment below a market-determined 'natural rate.' Over any period of time, there is always a certain amount of unemployment owing to several factors. For example, normal changes in supply and demand throughout an economy are always resulting in a certain amount of shifting of the labor force among various sectors of the economy and thus there are always some people between jobs. Also, there are various institutional rigidities that result in a certain amount of unemployment ..."
Related Topics: Milton Friedman, Inflation
Protectionism and Unemployment, by Hans Sennholz, The Freeman, Mar 1985
"Economists do know, however, mass unemployment, no matter how painful it may be, cannot be placed on the doorsteps of foreigners. It is a self-inflicted evil of radical interventionism that cannot be alleviated by beggar-thy-neighbor policies. Protectionism only exacerbates it."
The Cure for Unemployment, by Roland W. Holmes, The Freeman, Jul 1982
"... what is the 'appropriate relationship' between wage-rates and prices? ... Allow every person looking for work to accept a job at the highest wage he can get. Let him bid freely. ... The cure for unemployment is free competition for jobs. Only a free market can arrive at 'the appropriate relationship' ..."
The Economic Costs of Going to War: Transcript: Bill Moyers Talks with Lew Rockwell, by Lew Rockwell, NOW with Bill Moyers, 7 Mar 2003
Topics discussed include: the economy, the federal budget deficit, the national debt, inflation, Republican vs. Democrat presidents, tax cuts, war spending, World War II and the depression, Sadam Hussein and unemployment
"I remember when Mr. Bush, Sr., when he was running for re-election, and there was concerns about the unemployment rate, and so he passed a vast expansion of unemployment benefits, and gee, just amazingly enough, the unemployment rate went way up when people could get more money for a longer period of time staying unemployed. So, if the government is subsidizing unemployment, no I do not think that's a good thing. I think it's very socially destructive. "
The French Employment Fiasco, by Lew Rockwell, Mises Daily, 11 Apr 2006
"There are only two reasons for unemployment: legal restrictions that forbid contracts from forming ... and price restrictions that prevent the market for labor from clearing properly ... In other words, involuntary unemployment is always and everywhere brought about by the same cause: government restriction of the market."
Related Topics: France, Labor
What About Immigration?, by Julian Simon, The Freeman, Jan 1986
Examines the economic impact of immigration to the United States, including actual levels of legal and illegal immigration, effect on unemployment, wages, services used, taxes paid and productivity
"The most politically powerful argument against admitting immigrants has been that they take jobs held by natives and thereby increase native unemployment. The logic is simple: If the number of jobs is fixed, and immigrants occupy some jobs, then there are fewer jobs available for natives. Theory says that there must be some short-run unemployment in some sectors as a result of immigration. But theory does not say whether the effect will be huge or trivial. And no empirical study has found such unemployment in noticeable amounts."
Related Topics: Taxation, Wages
Why Government Can't Create Jobs, by Mark Ahlseen, The Freeman, Oct 1993
"... it is a fallacy of the Keynesian legacy that government can reduce unemployment by priming the pump with spending programs. Government needs to reduce spending and taxes in order to leave income in the hands of individuals who earned it and who can spend it much more efficiently than the government can."

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Unemployment" as of 03 Dec 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.