Employment and Unemployment

Start Free Trial

What is the societal impact of unemployment?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Unemployment has many negative impacts on society. Youth unemployment is considered especially problematic as young people who lack jobs for a few years after completing their school lose out significantly on future job prospects and have significantly lower lifetime earnings than those who do get jobs within a year of completing their educations. Unemployment can also increase crime rates and substance abuse and have negative effects on both mental and physical health. The other problem is that the longer that people are unemployed, the more that their skills deteriorate and their qualifications become dated, making them chronically unemployable.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What are the impacts of unemployment in our society?

Societies endure a heavy toll when there is significant unemployment.  One such impact is the destructive toll on families.  The "family well being" is challenged when unemployment enters into patterns of daily life.  Children experience displacement and couples endure untold stress.  The condition of a family's well being and thus social fabric is threatened with unemployment: 

The current state of the economy continues to be an enormous stressor for Americans, with 78 percent reporting money as a significant source of stress (APA, 2009). Unemployed workers are twice as likely as their employed counterparts to experience psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, psychosomatic symptoms, low subjective well-being and poor self-esteem (Paul & Moser, 2009).

Another impact that unemployment has on society is that it tempts individuals into embracing activity that could be counter productive to society's well being.  This is not to say that people who are unemployed turn to crime.  Yet, one of the impacts of unemployment is that it makes criminal enterprise something more appealing to the individual.  If the business world or the economic forces of a social setting have essentially turned their backs on the individual with unemployment, there is a lure to enter a world where financial promise is evident in criminal enterprise.  

Unemployment also helps to facilitate poverty.  People who are faced with poverty might find themselves in that position because of unemployment or underemployment.  As cost of living increases and the value of money is increasingly essential, individuals who are unemployed are at risk for poverty.  Government assistance is limited and does not account for the realities of living in the modern setting.  The condition of poverty impacts all societies as it is living proof that society is not doing enough and must do more.  In this, one can see that the impact of unemployment is wide ranging to society.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Last Updated on