For what has been a very, very long time, our elected representatives have sought to achieve “full employment” as a national goal….but full employment has been suspect as a possible cause of inflation, and is therefore weakened by decisions of the Federal Reserve, in an attempt to retard inflation. In terms of causes, unemployment has changed; the character, degree of severity, possible solutions of unemployment over the last ten years or so have been reduced, and has morphed in terms of just who is experiencing the unemployment and the suggestions for answering the problem. It has been the traditional fundamental trades, like manufacturing, viewed as part of the shift in the economy towards the new information age model, as workers transition from a manufacturing economy to a service economy, all the while over-coming the obstacles set forth by our own government.
Unemployment for individuals is a relative concept. Currently, the US government defines the worker as someone who has to be actively seeking work, in order to count as unemployed; a worker who has given up searching for work, which many have done recently, they are no longer counted as unemployed. One possible reason for this is that statistically, numbers on unemployment are geared towards employers, that is because employers care only about the amount of movement within the labor market, which means they prefer unemployment levels that keep workers a bit concerned but not high enough to threaten economic activity or political stability. Workers barely connected to the workforce, are not a factor in this calculation. This is what the conventional debate over the statistical level of “full employment” is based on, and mainstream economists disagree over the precise numerical value at which “full employment” is perceived, whether it is 5 percent, 5.5 percent, 6 percent, or 6.5 percent. The belief is that the essential principle holds, however, and that if the unemployment rate gets too low, wages will rise, leading to “inflation.” (Unemployment: an LBO overview, 1999)
The level of unemployement is affected by national policies and international relationships and events. International competition has been significantly on the rise since the end of World War II, resulting in the US facing major challenges from countries like Japan and Germany. American manufacturers have been seeking cost reduction solutions whilst increasing production in an effort attain or maintain a lead. One solution has been to move their manufacturing operations to another country, one with lower manufacturing costs, less regulations, and/or cheaper labor force. Globalization of industries are having a weighty effect on the US labor force, which must deal with increasing quotas, reduced union strength, job flight, high unemployment, and other matters linked to international competition and its effects on US manufacturing. There has been many request of our government to do...