unemployment un‧em‧ploy‧ment [ˌʌnɪmˈplɔɪmənt] noun [uncountable]
1. when you do not have a job:

• Closure of the plant will mean unemployment for 500 workers.

• Most of our staff now face unemployment.

2. ECONOMICS the number of people in a country who do not have a job:

Unemployment rose by 32,000 in May.

• The region suffers from high unemployment (= many people do not have a job ) .

• the unemployment figures

disˌguised unemˈployment ECONOMICS
another name for hidden unemployment
ˌfrictional unemˈployment ECONOMICS
when people are unemployed because they are in the process of changing jobs and are taking time to look for the most suitable job; = SEARCH UNEMPLOYMENT
ˌhard-core unemˈployment ECONOMICS
unemployment among people who have been without work for a long time and who are the least likely to want or find jobs
ˌhidden unemˈployment ECONOMICS
unemployment which is known to exist but is not included in the official government figures
inˌvoluntary unemˈployment ECONOMICS
when people are unemployed but do not want to be, and are looking for a job
ˌlong-term unemˈployment ECONOMICS
when people have been unemployed for a long time, for example more than a year
ˈsearch unemˌployment ECONOMICS
another name for frictional unemployment
ˌseasonal unemˈployment ECONOMICS
when people are unemployed at certain times of the year, because they work in industries where they are not needed all year round
ˌstructural unemˈployment ECONOMICS
when people are unemployed because the industry they work in is getting smaller or disappearing
ˌvoluntary unemˈployment ECONOMICS
when people are unemployed and do not want to work and are not looking for a job, especially because they are satisfied with the money they are getting from the government in the form of unemployment benefit
3. informal money paid regularly by the government to people who have no job:

• I've never claimed unemployment.

— see also NAIRU

* * *

   When people capable of working are unable to find work. There are two main types of unemployment. Frictional unemployment is the temporary unemployment caused by the time it takes people to find new jobs. Structural unemployment refers to the mismatch between vacancies and labour supply caused by structural economic change.

* * *

unemployment UK US /ˌʌnɪmˈplɔɪmənt/ noun [U]
ECONOMICS, WORKPLACE the number or percentage of people in a country or area who do not have jobs: »

In the hardest hit areas, unemployment stands at around 14%.


Youth unemployment among those between 16 and 19 remains high.


The Office for National Statistics said the ""claimant count"" measure of unemployment dropped by 5,500 last month.


an area of low/high unemployment


unemployment figures/levels/statistics


widespread/rising/growing unemployment

unemployment rises/soars/climbs »

In Arkansas, the state's unemployment rose from 4.1% in December to 4.3% in January.

unemployment falls/drops/decreases »

Unemployment is dropping fastest in the north of the country.

level/rate of unemployment »

Unofficial estimates put the level of unemployment in the region at around 10%.

rise/increase/decline in unemployment »

Further increases in unemployment are expected.

reduce/cut/tackle unemployment »

Helping people out of poverty involves ensuring they have the right skills to compete in the labour market, as well as tackling unemployment.

unemployment remains low/high/steady »

Fed forecasts are that unemployment will remain low at about 4.75%.

a situation in which someone does not have a job: »

Fear of unemployment is driving homeowners to trade down as a safety measure against the chance of tough times ahead.

a period/spell of unemployment »

Periods of unemployment are an inevitable feature of modern working life.


Welfare discrimination plunges thousands of young people into a cycle of homelessness, unemployment and poverty.

US INFORMAL money that the government pays regularly to unemployed people who are looking for jobs: »

If your contract is terminated, insist that your bosses give you a letter confirming that you can claim unemployment.

See also FRICTIONAL UNEMPLOYMENT(Cf. ↑frictional unemployment), HIDDEN UNEMPLOYMENT(Cf. ↑hidden unemployment), LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYMENT(Cf. ↑long-term unemployment), SEASONAL UNEMPLOYMENT(Cf. ↑seasonal unemployment), STRUCTURAL UNEMPLOYMENT(Cf. ↑structural unemployment)

Financial and business terms. 2012.

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