Unemployment Basics

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  • Created on: 29-09-12 20:36
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Unemployment is when you are of working age but cannot find a job yet actively looking for
Many factors can cause unemployment to vary. One such factor is resource exhaustion; when raw materials run
out e.g. coal or iron in an area, the primary industry in that area declines. This leaves many
unskilled primary workers unemployed who lack the skills to find work in the secondary or
tertiary sector. Another factor contributing to unemployment is increased automation
(mechanisation). Each year 2% of workers are no longer needed within industry and are
made redundant due to machines taking over their roles. Machines are much cheaper to run
than to employ somebody to do the same job. For example, self-service checkouts in
supermarkets only need one person to monitor up to 6 checkouts as opposed to having 6 checkout assistants
on normal checkouts; the former is much cheaper for the supermarket. Another factor that can make
unemployment vary is changes in the population structure. If a country has a young population then
unemployment will rise as there are more people coming on to the job market as lots of people become of age
fighting for the same amount of jobs that the previous smaller generation had and vice-versa for ageing
Ethnic minorities might suffer from higher than average unemployment. This is mainly due to what is called the
`language barrier', many ethnic minorities speak little or no English which makes it difficult to compete for jobs.
In addition to this point, many ethnic minorities come from countries where they obtain educational or skill
qualifications which are not recognised over here so cannot compete for skilled jobs. They must then either
retrain, which may be expensive, or find work that is low skilled. Discrimination also means some employers
don't employ people of certain ethnic groups, although this is illegal it still happens. This means ethnic
minorities find it harder to get work. Ethnic minorities also tend to live in inner city areas where unemployment
is usually high so find it harder to get jobs as there are lots of people competing for them.
Unemployment varies with location factors as well as social factors.
Unemployment is highest in Northern Ireland, Scotland, North East and
North West England and Central London, tends to decrease towards
the midlands and is lowest in South East England.
Northern Ireland is surrounded by water and has furthest/poorest
access to the `main markets (including Europe) and is on the periphery
(edge) of the UK economy so the no. of potential customers is low and
it is expensive to transport goods. This means companies (especially
market orientated companies) do not locate here as there would be a
lack of business so unemployment levels are high.
In the North East and North West of the UK, the traditional heavy manufacturing industries which accounted
for a large proportion of employment have declined and shut down therefore leaving many people unemployed
who lack the skills for other jobs such as tertiary jobs so unemployment levels are higher in these areas.
In the South East of the UK is the `core' of the UK economy and has easy access to Europe so there are large
potential markets so many market orientated industries locate here creating jobs and raising levels of
employment in this area.
There are several different `types' of employment. Underemployment is when you are employed but cannot
get as much work as you would like, for example somebody who works 3 days a week but would like to work 5.
Part-time work is work which has fewer hours than the `full or average' working week (a full time worker usually
works 35 or more hours a week).
There are advantages to part-time work. The work: life ratio/balance is lower meaning people have more time to
spend on other commitments such as family life or leisurely activities. Younger people and students can benefit
from having a small income while still in education and can gain new skills which increases independence which
can increase job prospects when looking for full time employment. There are also disadvantages to part time
work: fewer hours mean lower wages so workers have a lower disposable income. There is a lack of job

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Businesses that employ part-time workers must
balance their schedules and devote time and money to training more employees than a smaller, full-time
workforce would require.
The total UK population is made up of people in part-time or full-time employment, people in full-time
education, young people, people who are unemployed and actively looking for a job or people who do not want a
job and retired people.…read more


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