state of being without work and actively seeking work

Unemployment or joblessness is when a person who is of normal working age (usually about 15-18 to about 60-65) does not have a paid job. They therefore do not get paid a salary. It is one of social issues and human rights violations. In some parts of the world, there are social networks to care for the unemployed.

Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother shows poor children in California with their 32-year-old mother, Florence Owens Thompson. She said "that they had been living on frozen vegetables from ... fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that ... tent with her children ... around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me.



The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed people divided by the total population of that age group of a country. The unemployment rate is influenced by many things, including the government of a country to the average age of a country's population. Unemployment is a bad thing for society.

A certain amount of unemployment is natural. 'Full employment' does not mean no-one is out of work. Governments now aim to increase the number of jobs (which can be done) rather than cut out all unemployment (which cannot be done).[1]

Most affected groups


People with Autism and other mental disabilities are mistreated in the workplace, leading to only around 15% of autistic people being employed at all.

Invisible unemployment


Discouraged workers are the number of people who do not have work but who are not counted in government reports. For example, people who have stopped looking for a job. The underemployed are people who work less than they want to do, or people who are overqualified for their job.


  1. Tom de Castella & Caroline McClatchey 2011. Whatever happened to full employment? BBC News magazine [1]