Introduction to Unemployment for Kids and Teens
This video explains the concept of unemployment in a simple, concise way for kids and beginners. It could be used by kids & teens to learn about unemployment and unemployment rate, or used as a money & personal finance resource by parents and teachers as part of a Financial Literacy course or K-12 curriculum.
Suitable for students from grade levels:
- Elementary School
- Middle School
- High School
The topics covered are:
- What is unemployment
- Which is better: High or low unemployment
- What causes unemployment
- Are there different types of unemployment
- Does the government do anything to support unemployed people
What is unemployment?
Unemployment refers to a situation where someone who is capable of working and is looking for a job is unable to get hired.
Unemployment is a key indicator of the economy’s health.
It is often expressed as unemployment rate – which is the percentage of unemployed people as a proportion of the overall workforce.
The monthly jobs report published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides a view of the current unemployment rate.
Which is better: High or low unemployment?
The answer may seem obvious: The lower the unemployment, the better. However, it isn’t that simple.
A low unemployment rate is definitely better than a high one, as low unemployment indicates increased productivity, improved standard of living and an overall healthy economy.
But if the unemployment rate is too low, that can be a sign of inefficiency in the economy, potential inflation and lack of available labor force for businesses looking to hire.
What causes unemployment? And are there different types of unemployment?
Yes. Voluntary or frictional unemployment happens when someone has quit their job and is looking for a new one or a student is looking for a job after graduation – this is usually short-lived.
Involuntary unemployment is when someone gets fired from their job and is forced to look for another one.
One type of involuntary unemployment is cyclical unemployment, where jobs are impacted due to changes in economic cycles. For instance, during a recession, businesses are forced to cut costs by laying off workers due to decreased demand.
Another type of involuntary unemployment is structural unemployment, where some structural changes in the economy cause permanent unemployment. For instance automation, outsourcing, or technological advances making some skills obsolete.
Does the government do anything to support unemployed people?
Yes, the government helps them by offering unemployment benefits.
But that’s a topic for another time.