Topic Progress:

Introduction to Unemployment

Directions: Before you start listen to part of a talk in an economics class.

*Vocabulary is sometimes provided in written form when it may be unfamiliar to the student, but essential for understanding the lecture

Vocabulary
opportunity cost

TRANSCRIPT

Introduction to Unemployment

Unemployment can be a terrible life experience—like a serious automobile accident or a messy divorce—whose consequences can be fully understood only by someone who has gone through it. For unemployed individuals and their families, there is the day-to-day financial stress of not knowing where the next paycheck is coming from. There are painful adjustments, like watching your savings account decrease, selling a car and buying a cheaper one, or moving to a less expensive place to live. Even when the unemployed person finds a new job, it may pay less than the previous one. For many people, their job is an important part of their self worth. When unemployment separates people from the workforce, it can affect family relationships as well as mental and physical health.

The human costs of unemployment alone would justify making a low level of unemployment an important public policy priority. But unemployment also includes economic costs to the broader society. When millions of unemployed but willing workers cannot find jobs, an economic resource is going unused. An economy with high unemployment is like a company operating with a functional but unused factory. The opportunity cost of unemployment is the output that could have been produced by the unemployed workers.

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