Unemployment is the one constant throughout history. Despite changing technology, the underlying principles of why unemployment occurs remain the same. It’s also what continues to this day. The three main causes of unemployment are economic conditions, new technology, and increasing populations.
Economic conditions are the main factor in unemployment. The 2008 economic crash caused unemployment to rise dramatically, and the same has been true of every economic slump throughout history. An economic crash causes businesses to fold and posts to disappear. If there isn’t enough money coming into a company, it can no longer afford to pay its employees.
Once a company fails to pay its employees it has no choice but to let them go. Sometimes, it reduces its size in waves of redundancies or it simply shuts down.
New technology also has an impact. As conventional tasks become more automated and more convenient, some employees find their posts obsolete. With no reason to continue paying them, they lose their jobs as the job simply disappears. It’s why the Swing Riots occurred in Britain during the 1830s. Workers fought against the introduction of threshing machines which would make many traditional jobs disappear.
In the 21st century, the main threats are robotics and increasingly intelligent computers. Professional filing systems which require teams of people to maintain are now on a single computer server controlled by a single person. This is the form of unemployment which happens during prosperous times when companies can afford to invest in new technologies.
Increasing populations often lead to unemployment at a slower rate. The numbers of unemployed have increased over the past few decades as the population has accelerated. To an extent, the increasing demand for goods and trade balances out the population increase, but businesses often fail to deal with the short-term consequences.
Initially, many young humans aren’t yet old enough to need the economy to enlarge itself. It will take at least 20 years before the economy needs to respond to growing demand. Children generally don’t figure in the size of the economy or the need for jobs, on a large scale. It’s only when they become adults things start to change.
And it doesn’t always keep pace with the number of adults in society. There are simply not enough employment roles for the number of applicants.
New technology and an increasing population generally go hand-in-hand. If technology remained the same the increasing population wouldn’t matter as the jobs would form naturally. The rescinding in the number of roles from multiple sides overwhelms the employment market and we finish with a shortfall in jobs.
Unemployment seems like a complicated issue as people attempt to take complicated formulae into account. Really, it’s caused by the same three things it has always been caused by. Poor economic conditions, new technological advances, and an increasing population have and always will continue to perpetuate the problem of unemployment.