What is the impact of unemployment on society?

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Unemployment, if it is high enough, can have many impacts on society.  These impacts can be economic, but they can also be seen in areas like crime and the family.

The most obvious impact of unemployment is that it hurts the economy.  People who are unemployed have less money to spend.  They are able to buy fewer goods and services, thus making businesses less profitable.  This can lead, in turn, to even more unemployment.  High unemployment, then, has very negative economic impacts.

Unemployment can impact society in ways that go beyond its economic impact.  For example, unemployment can be very psychologically hard on a worker.  It can make that person doubt his or her value as a person.  This can lead to stress within that person’s relationships.  Unemployed people are less likely to get married and more likely to get divorced as their lack of work puts stress on them.  Stress can also lead to poorer health in the unemployed, which is exacerbated if they have less access to health care than they previously did.  Finally, unemployment can potentially lead to crime.  A person who has no job still needs the necessities of life.  Such a person may turn to crime to be able to get the things he or she needs.

There are many other ways in which unemployment impacts society.  In general, it can have both an economic impact and an impact that is more social than economic.

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cstcm69's profile pic

cstcm69 | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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The economy suffers as unemployment rates increase. As more people become unemployed and apply for federal or state assistance, governmental strain continues to grow, which increases government borrowing. People who are unemployed also spend less, which impacts local businesses by reducing their revenue. As businesses lose income, they face inability to maintain operating costs. Important resources start to decline; people who are unable to locate adequate employment begin suffering since they are unable to afford foods, medical care and other basic items. This impacts families greatly by creating high levels of stress and depression. When people experience these issues, it can create tensions within, which can lead to violence and other types of criminal behavior. Children are also impacted by a parent’s job loss as they may also go without daily needs, such as food and clothing. Children begin suffering from stress and depression due to the lack of essentials as well. Poverty stricken children are more likely to suffer academically and engage in risky behaviors.

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