The Consequences of Unemployment


    The Consequences of Unemployment

    • Unemployment can have consequences for the economy, the unemployed, and other economies

    Lost Output

    • Of the unemployed were in work, then the country’s output would increase
      • Increasing output is likely to increase living standards, as the country would produce more goods and services
        • g. more films would be made or houses would be built to accommodate to the demand.

    Lost Tax Revenue

    • If more people were in work, it is likely that incomes, spending, and a firm’s profit would be higher
      • This would cause the government to earn more revenue in tax
      • The government could then spend this money on spending schemes like education and health care
        • This SSP is likely to increase the economy’s productive capacity.
      • If the government wants to maintain its current level of spending, and the amount of people unemployed increases, it will have to raise taxes or borrow
        • Higher taxes will reduce people’s spending power via reducing their disposable income
        • A rise in government borrowing may push up the rate of interest, which would also reduce a consumer’s spending power

    Government Spending on Unemployment Benefits

    • If unemployment rises, the government will have to spend more on unemployment benefits like Job Seeker’s Allowance
      • This may mean that the government has to then reduce spending in other areas, or increase borrowing or tax rates
      • There is therefore an opportunity cost of unemployment benefits – the money spent could be used for other things

    Pressure on Other Forms of Government Spending

    • People being unemployed could cause them to have health problems or turn to crime
      • This is likely to cause the government to spend more in these areas


    • Hysteresis can occur in an economy – which is basically unemployment causing unemployment
      • From the demand side: this can arise as firms would be reluctant to take on anyone that’s been out of work for a long time
      • From the supply side: the longer a worker’s out of work, the rustier and worse their skills get, hence lower productivity

    The Costs for Other Economies

    • Unemployment in country B, where country A usually exports, is likely to decrease the demand for exports
      • This will decrease country A’s aggregate demand, and could cause unemployment in country A
    • A country may also experience immigration from countries with high unemployment
      • This could be useful if the country has a shortage of labour, but could place a burden on the country’s housing stock.

    The Benefits of Unemployment

    • If the economy is operating close to its full capacity, then a rise in unemployment, and hence a fall in AD, will likely results in a fall of the price level.

    The Significance of Unemployment

    • How significant the consequences of unemployment are depend upon:
      • How much unemployment there is
        • g. a 3% rate of unemployment isn’t seen as a problem, as there’s usually frictional unemployment even in a booming economy, whereas a 10% level of unemployment would mean a greater loss of output and tax revenue, and an increase on government spending on benefits.
      • How long on average people are unemployed
      • The benefits provided to the unemployed
      • The type of unemployment
        • Cyclical unemployment tends to bring with it higher costs due to it being more widespread and on a more significant scale
        • Frictional unemployment has the lowest cost
        • Structural unemployment is more serious than frictional, but its effects are only likely to be experienced in particular areas of the country


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