Unemployment in the World

Unemployment in the World




Unemployment in the World


Unemployment is an economic condition that occurs when a person who is actively searching for employment fails to find work. This is especially the case when those looking for employment are persons of legal working age, which varies in different countries. Although there is the concept of voluntary unemployment, it may not be applicable in this paper. This topic has been of concern to governments and the public alike for many years, more so because of its effects. Other than being an indicator of a poor economy, unemployment also reflects the poor living standards of a particular group of people. It means that its effects that it not only shows a nation’s economic status but also that of the population within it.

Unemployment is a global issue experienced in all countries of the world. Through a review of various literature and research, this paper seeks to establish the reasons behind this situation. Various surveys were conducted all over the world in quest for factors that cause unemployment. Many of the respondents were unemployed persons and employers who were questioned on how they contribute to the issue. The findings as documented in this paper are meant to inspire solutions for this problem that is of global concern. Research findings revealed factors such as economic variables of a country, undermining of small and private enterprises and quality of education as some of the causes of unemployment. From this information, some recommendations were made to help solve the problem such as improving the quality of global education to make it relevant to work settings.

The significance of this research is based on the desire to provide solutions to the problem and help improve the living standards of the global population. This topic is important because of how it affects people’s lives. With regard to the above, this paper seeks to answer the question of, what are the causes of unemployment. In so doing, it will offer direction towards finding long lasting solutions for the same.

Background information

Unemployment is a common problem in most economies. However, it has been increasing for the past few years with the current rate being one of the highest (Global unemployment remains at historic high despite strong economic growth – UN, 2007). The levels of unemployment vary in different parts of the world, though the reasons behind it are mostly the same. Economic, political and social changes experienced worldwide throughout history have contributed significantly to the development of unemployment. For instance in most parts of Europe mass unemployment became a problem after the industrial revolution. Recessions became frequent features, and in each of them, more people were thrown out of work. This is because recessions came with stagnation in economic growth, leaving little money for employees’ wages or little work for the growing population. This means that the history of unemployment in Europe has been immensely influenced by economic factors.

Africa, on the other hand, has always had agriculture as the backbone of the economy of its member states. According to the World Bank, unemployment is one of the most serious problems currently facing the African continent the Unemployment in Africa is mostly rampant among the youth, most of them graduates. This problem has continued to aggravate due to demographic pressure, which results in a high number of entrants into the labor market annually. Manifestation of unemployment in Africa is through layoffs done seasonally, automation in industries and fluctuations in the economy. The history of ethnic based politics in Africa is a major contributor to its rate of unemployment. This is because the same manner in which politics is conducted is the same with how matters at the workplace are executed. Multi-ethnicity and the way it has been politicized are largely to blame for the state of affairs in the African continent.

Colonization and industrial revolutions brought about political and societal changes in most parts of the world. Such changes include education and creation of new job titles other than those previously existent in most societies. Others include economic dependency, which is still common today, especially in African countries. All this affect the rate at which people are employed and have continued to evolve as years progress. For instance, education keeps changing and so do the qualifications required for employment. Institutions that do not conform to these global transformations in the education sector end up offering curriculums whose content is irrelevant tin the job market.

Additionally, the pressure of attaining certain qualifications required in the job market means that more people are attending school. This translates to a flood of graduates into the labor market who are in competition for a limited number of jobs. Most of them are eventually left out. This has been the trend, especially in Africa, which has a high number of its population seeking educational qualifications only for them to be disappointed by a saturated labor market.

The above are only a few examples of the origin and causes of unemployment in different regions of the world. Through this information, several common causes arise such as the economic crisis. However, with regard to the fact that economic factors play a huge role in other variables both social and political it is safe to imply that the economy is the main contributor to unemployment. Any changes that occur within a particular country’s economy trigger subsequent transformations in its social and political spheres. This paper examines the historical causes as well as emerging ones that lead to unemployment (Global unemployment rising again but with significant differences across regions, 2013).

Literature review

It is clear that unemployment is not a problem that begun recently. Its failure to decline and the fact that it is spreading to developed countries is an issue of concern. Reports released by the international labor organization in 2012 and 2013 reveal that unemployment is on the rise, with over 200 million people currently unemployed worldwide (Barnato, 2013). According to this report, in 2012, a quarter of the increase was among advanced economies while the rest is a result of a spillover to developing nations such as those in East and South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. They attributed this to economic factors that posed uncertainty to aspects of demand within these countries. As aforementioned, economic variables, contribute significantly to the global rate of unemployment. This is because of their ability to affect other aspects such as investment and subsequent hiring. Whenever a country’s economy is not flourishing, investors shy away from helping to bring up new business ventures. Unfortunately, it is these ventures, which provide employment opportunities for individuals, without which there is unemployment.

Additionally, the demand for economic products goes down meaning that production has also declined. Those previously in employment may have to be terminated because of the decrease in work. Furthermore, there is not enough money inn circulation as wages for employment and people have to be laid off work. These situations could be temporary or permanent depending on the time taken to revamp the economic status. The economic crisis in the west has spilled over to other countries, especially those that depend on them financially or those that interact with them economically. Poor economic conditions in advanced countries paralyze the economies of developing countries that interact with them (Mankiw, 2004).

The same report cited inadequate skills as another cause of unemployment currently. Even with the creation of new jobs, job seekers do not have the necessary skills that are required. With regard to this, the International Labour Organization called on governments to step up efforts to support skills and retraining activities to address this non-conformity, which mostly affects young people. This trend also incorporates long spells of inactivity amongst young people thus affecting their future prospects. With unemployment, comes uncertainty, which can only be relinquished through securing employment. It is a further cause for concern that this rising rate of unemployment will continue to do so until 2017. A new set of skills required for a new job may result in employed persons being laid off work. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, this situation is also classified under unemployment, even though the said workers may be recalled later (Burtless, 2012).

The defective education system in most parts of the world is also a cause of unemployment. This is in line with the report from the labor organization whereby skills are lacking among job seekers. Africa in particular has education systems whose content does not correspond with the economic realities outside the school system. Theoretical concepts are given more priority in such systems as opposed to the required practical skills. The graduates produced from these curriculums do not have industrial skills that are transferable to the job market. An open door policy at colleges and universities levels makes graduates fit for white-collar jobs and not for self-employment. This means that whenever they cannot find white collar jobs, their chances of remaining unemployed are high because of their inability to create self-employment. In addition to this, there is lack of education facilities. This situation is becoming prevalent in developed countries where there is a high number of unemployed and uneducated youth (Randall, 2013).

Automation is a trend that is being incorporated into most industries al over the world. As a result, many people are forced out of work and replaced by machines. Automation of labor is meant to increase productivity at a workplace, though at the expense of workers who have put years of effort into the same job. Although not among the most notable contributors, its adoption is negatively affecting global unemployment. This is especially because industries cannot ignore it, as it is a technological advancement beneficial to their productivity.


This research came into being because of the effects of unemployment on the world population. Unemployment mainly results in a decline in welfare of individuals worldwide. It is an indicator of poor living standards and reflects the economic and social status of a country (World Bank, 2009). One tremendous effect is that of poverty. Through unemployment, individuals lack a source of income without which they are unable to cater for their needs. If this situation prevails, poverty becomes inevitable. Social problems also arise from unemployment including unlawful acts that stem from idleness (Mooney et al, 2013). These acts comprise of dishonesty, theft among others, which pose a security threat to the public. The youth are mostly victims of criminal activities as they are easily lured into these acts with the hope of earning a little amount of income. This income is not sustainable, and the eventuality is that they become hooked to crime. Furthermore, this gives way to political instability as people lose faith in their governments, often blaming them for their predicament. Due to their vulnerability to antisocial elements, unemployed persons are easily coerced into acts of defiance against the government.

Unemployment leads to the loss of human resource in a country. Potential employees waste a lot of time searching for jobs, despite the fact that most of them are qualified. Not only does the government lose human resource but also individuals face the possibility of losing the knowledge and skills acquired for the job market as time progresses (Mondy et al, 2005). The few that are privileged to be in the job market are exploited extensively to make up for the deficiency of laborers, sometimes for meager wages. More work is imposed on the available workers thus affecting their efficiency.

With the above in mind, a hypothesis that delves into the causes of unemployment was established. Various governments worldwide have conducted surveys within their countries to find out the root causes of unemployment and how to avert it. Non-governmental institutions such as the World Bank, the United Nations and the International Labour Organization have taken major interest in the problem and offered recommendations to solve it. This paper is based on a review of current and previously conducted researches in the global arena. In many cases, state institutions were examined to establish their contribution to unemployment. Through this paper, a link is clearly established between causes and possible solutions for unemployment.


The aim of this paper is to ultimately participate in resolving the problem of unemployment in the world. Readers should be drawn to this paper to acquire knowledge of how to avert this problem. By finding out the causes of unemployment, readers are able to contribute to measures taken to improve the situation. Some of the recommendations made include shielding employees from economic adversities, which may cause them and potential workers their jobs. This is a call to world governments to ensure that workers do not have to be laid off work because of economic stagnation. Additionally, supplementary budgets should be availed to cater for wages and salaries for those being recruited into employment.

Standards of education should be raised to incorporate practical skills essential in the job market. Training facilities and vocational centers should be set up to accommodate individuals who are unable to attend regular education programs to give them necessary skills for the job market. Curriculums should be changed from theoretical to practical based whereby the content acquired is relevant to the reality of current job markets. This is especially in Africa, which has been the most affected. Training programs accommodate the unemployed youth. Furthermore, the preference given to white-collar jobs should also be accorded to self-employment and the means to do so made available to students before they graduate.

Governments should work to wards measures of job creation. This can be done through various ways such as employing more labor-intensive methods in their industries. For instance, they can train existing employees on using machines instead of laying them off their jobs. They should not be replaced by the process of automation when they can actually become part of the system. Additionally, more capital should be injected into struggling industries and businesses to create more job opportunities. Instead of the norm of concentrating on large enterprises, governments should also pay attention to smaller ones and help in creating space for more laborers.

These recommendations are important and form the basis for this paper’s significance. Readers should be concerned about dealing with the problem of unemployment because of how it affects their lives (Komarovsky, 2004). By knowing its causes, they are better positioned to come up with solutions for the problem. This is because of the relationship between the causes and solutions for unemployment. The content of this paper is beneficial to anyone concerned about the global rise in unemployment, its resultant effects and the slow progress of providing solutions for the same.

Unemployment is an issue of global concern. Various world leaders have commented on the issue frequently, citing its spread as disastrous to the global population. Bill Clinton is quoted saying he does not believe that the fabric of society can be repaired until those willing to work have access to employment. According to him, work organizes life, giving it structure and discipline. This shows the significance of work in an individual’s life and how much unemployment is a constraint to the welfare of individuals. This paper has managed to bring out underlying causes for the unemployment in the world. These findings have been used to come up with recommendations and possible solutions for the problem of unemployment, which is becoming increasingly uncontainable. This is evident in the manner in which it continues to spread worldwide with the current focus on developed countries. Therefore, through the findings of this paper, readers will be able to understand the concept of unemployment with primary focus on its causes and how they can help in resolving it.


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Global unemployment rising again but with significant differences across regions (2013). International Labour Organization. Retrieved from http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_202320/lang–en/index.htm

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