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Condition of a person who is able to work, is actively seeking work, but is unable to find any. Statistics on unemployment are collected and analyzed by government labour offices in most countries and are considered an important indicator of economic health. Since World War II full employment has been a stated goal of many governments. Full employment is not necessarily synonymous with a zero unemployment rate, since at any given time the unemployment rate will include some people who are between jobs and not unemployed in any long-term sense. Underemployment is the term used to describe the situation of those who are able to find employment only for shorter than normal periodsfor example, part-time workers and seasonal workersand may also describe the condition of workers whose education or training makes them overqualified for their jobs.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on unemployment, visit Britannica.com.