un·​em·​ploy·​ment | \ ˌən-im-ˈplȯi-mənt How to pronounce unemployment (audio) \

Definition of unemployment

1 : the state of being unemployed : involuntary idleness of workers also : the rate of such unemployment

Examples of unemployment in a Sentence

My unemployment lasted about six months. Unemployment has been increasing for months. The current unemployment rate is six percent.
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Recent Examples on the Web Several enhanced unemployment benefits expired Sept. 6, potentially providing incentives for more people to seek work. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 9 Oct. 2021 Many economists had hoped that the reopening of schools, the expiration of federal unemployment benefits and a quickening pace of vaccinations would have led more to search for jobs. Christopher Rugaber, Anchorage Daily News, 8 Oct. 2021 The program lets employers voluntarily reduce hours to avoid layoffs while employees collect partial unemployment benefits. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 8 Oct. 2021 He was arrested again after he was separately charged Sept. 24 with fraudulently applying for $40,000 from the federal Paycheck Protection Program and Oct. 1 with getting $30,000 in Indiana unemployment benefits after he was released. Meredith Colias-pete, chicagotribune.com, 8 Oct. 2021 Several enhanced unemployment benefits ended in early September, including a $300-a-week federal supplement as well as programs that, for the first time, covered gig workers and people who were jobless for six months or more. BostonGlobe.com, 8 Oct. 2021 Major media outlets such as CNN have reported extensively on victims of unemployment benefits fraud, which occurred despite the government using an identity verification tool. Mathias Klenk, Forbes, 8 Oct. 2021 At the same time, preliminary evidence suggests that the cutoff in unemployment benefits has done little to push people back to work. Ben Casselman, New York Times, 8 Oct. 2021 Lawmakers and industry experts anticipated the end of enhanced unemployment benefits would push more workers back into the restaurant sector. Washington Post, 8 Oct. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'unemployment.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of unemployment

1789, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for unemployment

Time Traveler

The first known use of unemployment was in 1789

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Dictionary Entries Near unemployment



unemployment compensation

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Statistics for unemployment

Last Updated

11 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Unemployment.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unemployment. Accessed 17 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for unemployment



English Language Learners Definition of unemployment

: the state of not having a job
: the total number of people who do not have jobs in a particular place or area
: money paid by the government to someone who does not have a job


un·​em·​ploy·​ment | \ ˌən-im-ˈplȯi-mənt How to pronounce unemployment (audio) \

Kids Definition of unemployment

1 : the state of being out of work
2 : the number of people who do not have jobs


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