What Is Frictional Unemployment? Definition and Causes (With Examples)

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Frictional Unemployment

Causes of frictional unemployment

The most common causes of frictional unemployment include:

Its important to note that during recessions, the rate of frictional unemployment decreases. This is because employees are often afraid to leave their positions due to a lack of other job options.

What is frictional unemployment?

Frictional unemployment occurs when people leave one job to search for another in a healthy economy. Economists use this term to reference both voluntary and involuntary unemployment. Unlike other types of unemployment, frictional unemployment is a component of the natural labor turnover rate and not a sign of an unhealthy economy.

Frictional unemployment is considered part of natural unemployment, which refers to the minimum unemployment rate an economy is experiencing as a result of labor movement and economic forces. Natural unemployment also takes into account individuals who are unemployed involuntarily.

Examples of frictional unemployment include:

Effects of frictional unemployment

Because frictional unemployment is a natural part of a healthy economy, it doesnt always have a negative impact. In fact, frictional unemployment can be beneficial. For example, when higher-qualified, employed individuals choose to explore new opportunities in a healthy economy, companies usually have a better selection of candidates.

A few potential disadvantages of frictional unemployment include employees losing income, even if only for a short period of time, resulting in challenges managing household expenses. Additionally, unemployment can be a stressful event for people even if temporary. The longer a person is unemployed, the higher the chances they’ll experience some of the negative effects of unemployment.

Solutions to address frictional unemployment

While some level of frictional unemployment is beneficial, too much can begin to create economic challenges. Businesses can take the following measures to reduce frictional unemployment:

Make job information readily available

When people are unaware of available positions, they’re less likely to try to learn more about those positions. To increase the overall employment rate, its important to improve the availability of information related to open jobs. Employers can do this through various mediums such as online job boards, social media platforms and advertising campaigns. The faster the exchange of job information is between potential employers and job seekers, the quicker people will find positions that meet their needs and qualifications.

Increase job flexibility

Job flexibility is often an attractive perk. Examples of ways to increase job flexibility include:

Offer relocation assistance

Offering relocation assistance is a good way to contribute to decreased frictional unemployment because it may widen the pool of available job candidates. Examples of relocation assistance include reimbursing for moving expenses, giving relocation bonuses and contributing to an employees living expenses until they’re established in their new location.

Frictional unemployment vs. seasonal unemployment

While frictional unemployment and seasonal unemployment are both voluntary, they have some notable differences:


What is the meaning of frictional employment?

Examples of frictional unemployment include: Employees leaving their current positions to find new ones. Employees seeking a career change. Individuals entering the workforce for the first time after graduating from college or searching for their first job.

What is a frictional unemployment in economics?

Frictional unemployment is a type of unemployment that arises when workers are searching for new jobs or are transitioning from one job to another. It is part of natural unemployment and hence is present even when the economy is considered at full employment.

What is frictional and cyclical unemployment?

Frictional unemployment is a type of short-term unemployment. Frictional unemployment happens when a person is voluntarily job searching or searching for a new career. Frictional unemployment isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, because frictional unemployment is voluntary, it can be a sign of a healthy economy.

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