Even when national or regional unemployment rates are low, there are still people looking for a job. As companies restructure, downsize. or go out of business, tens of thousands arc at least temporarily Jobless. Disputes with employers cause some workers to quit a job and look for another line, and other workers may leavea job because they believe they need time to find a job that pays more money than they are currently making (Hight. 1999). There are three major types of unemployment-cyclical, seasonal. and structural.
Cyclical unemployment occurs as a result rates of production during recessions in the business cycle; although massive lay. initially occur. some of the workers will eventually be rehired. largely depending on the length and severity of the recession. Sct/sollte uncinatum results from shifts in the demand for workers based on conditions such as the weather (in agriculture. the construction industry. and tourism) or the season and summer vacations). Both of these types of unemployment tend to be relatively temporary in nature. By contrast. structural unemployment may be permanent. Structural unemployment arises because the
skills demanded by employers do not match the skills of the unemployed or because the uemployed do not live where jobs are located (McEachern. 2003). This typc of unemployment often occurs when a number of plants in the same industry are closed or are moved to other locales (such as an auto manufacturing plant that is either closed or moved from Detroit to Mexico). Early in the twenty-first century. a major portion of new structural unemployment results from either advanced technologies making certai n jobs obsolete or from globalization moving certain jobs to other countries. Although globalization and the postindustrial, high-tech economy have provided relatively high incomes for many individuals in professional and managerial positions in the United States. people with fewer skills and fewer years of formal education may find themselves with jobs that provide relatively low
levels of income and few benefits or opportunities for _advancement-or themselves temporarily or permanently unemployed. The Ill/employment rate is the percentage of unemployed persons in the labor force actively seeking jobs. In 2000 the U.S. unemployment rate was 4.0 percent. and workers who had historically suffered
from high unemployment rates made some gains, For example. unemployment among African Americans. Latiuas/os, women, and workers with high school educations or less was at near-historic lows (Nasar, 1999). In 2001. after massive layoffs at many companies. the unemployment rate increased to about 5 percent. but in 2009. the unemployment rate rose to a high of 9.4 percent. 111e jobless rate for teenagers was 22.7 percent and for African Americans was 14.9 percent. while
the unemployment rate for whites was 8.6 percent and 12.7 percent for Latino/as (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2009). However. like other types of "official" statistics. unemployment rates may be misleading. for example. Bureau of Labor Statistics data do not include the more than <I million people who arc working part time because full-time work is unavailable or the nearly 500.000 people who arc "discouraged" workers and not currently looking for work. It is important to note that individuals who become discouraged in their attempt to f nd work and who are no longer actively seeking employment are not counted as unemployed in governmental statistics. Unemployment compensation provides unemployed workers with short-term income while they look for other jobs. Since this concept was first introduced in the 1930s. federal laws have set the guidelines and minimum standards for the program. which is administered by the states. Although some states exceed the minimum standards. many provide the bare minimum of benefits required by law. l-or a person to acquire band its his or her eligibility must he established. In many states. for example, a person must have worked at least twenty weeks to he eligible. Workers who quit their jobs without "good cause" or who are fired for misconduct or <IIe engaged in a work stoppage due to a labor disputearc usually not eligible for benefits. Fear of losing unemployment ts, coupled with high rates of underemployment and unemployment. appears to have limited worker resistance and activism in recent years.