Unemployment is the status of being without a job and unable to provide for ones livelihood. There are many reasons for unemployment some of which are voluntary decisions that individuals make. Involuntary unemployment is brought about by a negative economy. There can be many causes for involuntary unemployment. Some of these include a company downsizing for fiscal reasons or can happen when a person breaches a contract or is fired for misconduct. An individual is considered to be unemployed if they have not job, have actively sought employment within a months period, and are available to begin employment immediately if hired. Workers who are laid off because of seasonal or temporary work are still considered unemployed and are counted in the unemployment rate even if they plan on returning to their employer when work becomes available again.
Unemployment rates tend to be higher during times of recession and lower during times of economic strength. The United States has been collecting data concerning the unemployment rate since the 1940s. The lowest recorded unemployment rate in the United States was recorded at 1% during World War I and the highest rate was recorded at 25% during the Great Depression. The United States average unemployment rates is around 5.8%. Historically the unemployment rate for people with a college degree is lower than the unemployment rate for people without higher education.
Individuals who are unemployed can receive unemployment benefits from the government to help provide some financial help while they seek future employment. These benefits are usually only a small percentage of the lost wages and the recipients must meet qualifying conditions.