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No single economic statistic attracts more notice or implies more about the wellbeing of the social system than does the unemployment rate The moral and economic waste brought on by recurring waves of unemployment has always been one of the principal reproaches directed at the capitalist system by its critics In their pursuit of profits and their attempts to avoid losses private sector companies discharge workers permanently or temporarily for various reasons Previously to be without work was to be involuntarily idle and unemployment tended to be seen as an individual matter rather than a social concern beyond the will of the persons involved To be without work was more of leisure than what we would call unemployment today Mass unemployment gradually came largely due to the pursuit of economic self-interest and an extensive division of labor Apart from unemployment that is the result of an inadequate level of aggregate demand important categories are frictional structural and seasonal unemployment Frictional unemployment is the unemployment that corresponds to job vacancies in the same occupations and locations Some workers will be frictionally unemployed because of job search Workers will try to better themselves when they perceive a chance of an improved employment situation by leaving their present employer For example moving from a job paying a low wage to a higher paying position will tend to be associated with higher productivity in the new position leading to an increase in economic output In this case the worker gains and so does society An economy where workers are not involved in self-interested job searches would not be economically progressive Even if the size of the labor force remained the same new workers are likely to join the frictionally unemployed while others will be leaving the labor force However a society should not turn the other cheek to the level of frictional unemployment As the level of unemployment falls frictional unemployment accounts for a higher proportion of unemployment
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