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Unemployment: Causes and Consequences

Updated on February 21, 2018

The Causes of Unemployment

Picture Illustrating Unemployment, causes and consequences. Unemployment is one of the major trending hot keywords all over the globe.
Picture Illustrating Unemployment, causes and consequences. Unemployment is one of the major trending hot keywords all over the globe. | Source

Introduction to the Topic

In most developing/underdeveloped countries in the world, people that live in those part think that they are the only one suffering from unemployment problem or challenge. The clear point is that it is a general issue that the world at large is suffering from. I came to realize that the even United States of America that people are rushing to migrate to are even sharing in the bitter cake-unemployment. Those who are unemployed are making effort to make money through cut corners because of the problem facing human race.

What is unemployment? Unemployment can be defined as what occurs when people are without work and actively seeking work (International Labour Organization). It is a condition where qualified citizens of many nations who supposed to engage in one function or the other and have them paid by the employers are not employed. Unemployment is when somebody is not working in any firm or under any organization irrespective of the fact that the person is qualified for the function. Many governments of different countries are treating unemployment without kid gloves, yet the rates keep growing day after day.

Unemployment has its causes and consequences. What may be the major cause of unemployment in one country may not be the major cause in the other country. For instance, the major cause of unemployment among Nigerian youths is the lack of skill acquisition when they were in their institutions of higher learning while this may not be the major cause in the United States of America. The consequences of unemployment are numerous that all cannot be exhausted in this article. Many crime committed by youths of many countries can be traced to unemployment among them.

Overview on Unemployment

There are many documentations on the damage of unemployment in the world. According to International Labour Organization, which is an organization generally allowed in keeping records of employment and unemployment rates of the nations of the world, about 6% of the world population were unemployed in 2012. Before the end of 2013, the body predicted that about 73.4 Million young people are expected to be out of work in 2013(Global Empowerment Trend for Youth 2013).

From 2009 to 2011 the youth un­employment rate decreased from 12.7 per cent to 12.3 per cent. It increased again to 12.4 percent in 2012 and has continued to ascend to 12.6 per cent in the year 2013. This is 1.1 percentage points above the 2007 level of 11.5 per cent. Global youth unemployment is estimated to be 73.4 mil­lion in 2013, which is an increase of 3.5 million since 2007 and 0.8 million above the 2011 level (Sourced from International Labour Organization website).

In Nigeria, the problem of unemployment is like a thorn in the flesh of many citizens of the country. There are many causes of unemployment in Nigeria and possible solutions. It gives stress to a lot of persons living in that part of the universe as they pray day and night for God to come and intervene. Many who were good Christians and practice good now turn to do what is not supposed of them due to the high unemployment rate in the country. Those who have been waiting to turn over new leaf (changing for the better) by securing good lucrative jobs are becoming tired of waiting. Vanguard News online report on Monday, May 19, 2014, said that an estimate of about 60 million Nigerians is unemployed. The statistics are not a tall story ( a tall story is an idiom that implies something that is not real) at all. Nigeria is made up of a population of 140 Million according to report by National Population Commission in 2006; though there is increase in recent time.

The most affected in the rate of unemployment that people of different parts of the world are facing are the youth. This report is according the International Labour Organization. The same source said that 13 percent of young people under the age of 24 years were employed in 2012. It went further to say that about 35 percent of the unemployed ladies and gentlemen have been out of work for six months (2012 report). In the same year, those who were most affected by unemployment were East Asia, South Asia, and Sub Sahara Africa.

In most developed countries, like the European countries, unemployment is also a bane of many people’s life. The youth unemployment rate in 2012 is esti­mated at 18.1 per cent, the same rate as in 2010 and the highest level in this region (Europe) in the past two decades (Global Employment Trends for Youth 2013 by International Labour Organization). This report shows that unemployment had been a serious problem even among those whom other people who live in undeveloped part of the universe think are safe.

Unemployment among African youths is the most pressing among every other Continents. This part of the world is feeling a bit under the weather(feeling ill) as a result of unemployment and other challenges. In 2012, youth unemployment rate was highest in the Middle East and North Africa, at 28.3 per cent and 23.7 per cent, respectively (Global Employment Trends for Youth 2013 by International Labour Organization). Africa is a poor continent and this have added to the high level of unemployment they have been facing.

Unemployment rate of some counties as at second quarter of 2017 (Q2)

Unemployment rate report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).  Unemployment rateTotal, % of labour force, Q2 2017. The organization sourced from Labour market statistics.
Unemployment rate report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Unemployment rateTotal, % of labour force, Q2 2017. The organization sourced from Labour market statistics. | Source

Ten countries with highest unemployment rate (2009 record)

The top ten countries with the highest unemployment according to the information from stastisca in 2009.

Zimbabwe 95%
Burkina Faso 77%
Djibouti 60%
Syria 50%
Senegal 48%
Bosnia Herzegovina 41.7%
Haiti 40.6%
Kenya 40%
Marshall Islands 36%
Republic of the Congo 36%
Afghanistan 35%
Kosovo 34.8%

Top ten countries with highest unemployment rate as at Q2, 2017

Rate (% of Labour force Q2, 2017)
South Africa
Euro Area (19 countries)
The above information is sourced from Labour Market Statistics. They are the counties surveyed. It is possible that there are countries that have higher statistics but were not surveyed.

Causes of Unemployment

By Akaahan Terungwa (Own work),  licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0
By Akaahan Terungwa (Own work), licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0 | Source

Poor education: This is the major cause of unemployment in most countries that do not take serious care of their education sector. Nations who do not backup what the students are taught in their individual institutions of higher learning with practical background are likely to 'vomit' graduates yearly who cannot make a good impact on the society. When the graduates that are given out every year cannot defend what they studied, the only thing they do is to add to the unemployment level of the country.

Linking poor education level of nations with unemployment, the Democratic Republic of Congo has one of the lowest education enrollment in Africa Continent. This poor education contributes seriously to unemployment in the country as many of their institutions were destroyed during the nation’s Civil wars. So, the poorer the educations sector of any country, the higher the increase in the unemployment rate of the country.

Nigeria as a country located in Africa has high unemployment as a result of weak education standard. Every year many graduates graduate from the universities and colleges of education with little or nothing to contribute to the society (poor skill). According to National Bureau Statistics of Nigeria, more than 200,000 graduates graduate from Nigeria tertiary institution yearly. The question is: how many of these graduates secure jobs after their graduation? The answer is that very little number of them secure jobs after years of their graduation. The reason is because there are little facilities and poorly trained teachers who rendered poor services to the graduates when they were in their institutions. According to This Day News (a news publication company in Nigeria) on 15th November 2012, about 60% of Nigerian graduates are unemployed. The reason also centers on poor education of the country.

Lack of Skills: It is hard to see any person who is full of skills and still suffer from unemployment. A skillful person can adapt to many environments and feed appropriately to the fullness. One of the principal causes of unemployment among adults of different locations of the world is because good skills which can give them good self-employment are lacking in them. There is much importance of skill acquisition.

In many nations of the world, undergraduates are seriously working hard to acquire material certificates without putting into consideration the importance of skill acquisition. A skillful human being can stand at any point of the test. When paper certificates are supported with skills their strengths are increased.

It is not a crime for someone who is studying mechanical engineering to go to a road-side mechanic (technician) and learn how to repair vehicles. When he learns this, it lessens insult which may be added to his injury (worsen the situation of unemployment) after his graduation. What do I mean? Many who have graduated from mechanical engineering department most especially in African Continent are unable to defend their certificates when they are called for practical interview. They may perform well in the theoretical examination but failed when they were called to show their skills from what they learned by repairing faulty vehicles. So to avoid worsening of the situation, they should learn skills necessary to see them through and can help them get their dream jobs even immediately after their graduation. When they have the necessary skills on their area of specialization, unemployment will be reduced as they will be employed; but on the contrary, there will be consistency rise in unemployment level.

It is shameful to hear that those who graduated from electronics and computer engineering in most developing or underdeveloped countries cannot produce or repair any electrical appliance. The major reason for that is because the skills needed are lacking. Youths, adults and even the young are to go for skills to back themselves up.

Poor moral: One may ask: how can poor moral behavior be a cause of unemployment? It is a cause of unemployment because many citizens have lost their jobs because their moral actions are too bad. Ladies wear some offensive clothes to their places of work and after advice by their boss get fired as a result of their stubbornness. They get sacked because their top banana (boss) could not take that from the poor morally trained ladies.

Some workers do not have a good manner of approach. As a result of the negative feedbacks received by the managers from their customers, the managers have no other option than to sack the workers before the misbehaved workers first 'sack' the customers. When the weak morally trained are given their walking papers (sacked), their numbers add to the number of those who have been 'swimming in the ocean of unemployment'.

There are those who suffer laziness the way patients suffer from diseases. They cannot attend work in a week without being late in at least two work days. This cankerworm that has eaten deep into their bodies became difficult for them to stop. After some time of lateness to duties, the Chief Executive Officer gets tired of them and decides to sack them.

Poor government plan: A government that fails in her duty to help minimize unemployment in any country is as bad as a shepherd that does not care for his flock. Some top government officials are after their selfish interest without considering the importance of making provisions for her citizens. Due to the government's weakness, unemployment becomes the major problem in the country.

Selfish governments do not work hard in creating production companies where citizens of the country can get employed to reduce unemployment; rather, they keep on stealing and embezzling the public fund. When the funds that are supposed to be used by the government to provide employment for the masses is not used, the next that follows is persistence rise in unemployment status.

Corruption: What is corruption? How can corruption be a cause of unemployment? Corruption can be defined as the immoral action which could involve bribery and embezzlement (misuse) of public fund for personal use. A corrupt government can be said to be a government which makes use of the public fund for their (the government officials) personal and selfish use. Corruption is a cause of unemployment because when those in government who are to use public money for building more manufacturing industries are busy embezzling the funds for their selfish use, the next is a massive increase in unemployment rate.

According to 2008 census calculation in Liberia, 68 per cent of Liberians were unemployed in that year. In the same year, 2008, Liberia ranked 138 on the scale of 180 countries surveyed by Transparency International, which is a watchdog that fights corruptions in countries and keeps the records. This means that when 138 is subtracted from the 180, Liberia is known to be the 42nd most corrupt in the world in 2008 and that is still high when it comes to corruption. When unemployment is connected to corruption, Liberia was the world most corrupt nation in 2013. It is clear evidence that corruption is also the major cause of unemployment.

Without going too far, Nigeria is the 8th most corrupt country in the world and this country also have high unemployment rate. The corruption in Nigeria government makes the government of the country spend less on the welfare of the citizens of the country. When corruption is taken as a normal routine, functions which are to be done by three persons is being taken up by one person alone and that same one person collects salaries made for three persons. Why can't unemployment rate increase when such action is being observed in the country?

War: Wars have move many persons from heroes to zeros. That Democratic Republic of Congo is the poorest country in the world in 2013 and their poverty level is not because they want to be poor. The major causes are their two destructive Civil wars. These wars rendered many people homeless and destroyed many business establishments of many citizens which results to joblessness.

Many lecturers who are lecturing in many universities have lost their jobs because of wars. When the universities they were teaching in before are destroyed due to wars, where will they stay for their lectures to get paid in return? War is too bad and should be avoided because it can make a rich man to be poor overnight and start begging for foods.

War is disastrous and countries who are hit by it find it difficult to recover what they lost. When this disaster happens both money and properties are damaged. A situation like this results to massive unemployment.

Fraud: Fraudsters have immensely dealt with many persons in the present time. They have turned a lot of persons to square zero where they have to start from little to gather until accumulations are achieved.

The used of internet is now becoming fearful because of internet fraudsters. Those who have internet as their source of earning legitimate cash pray every day not to be ‘hit’ by the wicked ones-internet fraudsters. The worst is that these heartless beings are capable of turning the efforts of many, who have been investing in their online businesses to nothing. How is that possible? Those who publish articles online and earn money in return from advertisers and through affiliate companies can become owner of no websites if the websites where they publish are hacked by internet fraudsters. When their sites are hacked, the publishers become unemployed and find living very difficult due to the bad actions performed by the internet fraudsters.

Still in line with fraud as one of the causes of unemployment among the people of today, many businessmen and women have been duped and become unemployed as there is no money to continue with the works that give them money. Sometimes bad people claim to be what they are not through the internet. They claim to be owners of big companies, oil wells, and things that resemble that just to dupe any who will pay for any goods to be shipped to the areas of his or her stay. This have made many people unemployed due to the facts that they have been tricked by the unknown and no other money to carry out with life activities. In fact, fraud is of ‘many faces’ and all cannot be explained in this article.

Truly, many have lost so much from internet fraudsters. According to internet Crime Complaint Centre Report, a total of about $525, 441, 110 USD were lost through internet scam in 2012. In the same year, the body received about 289,874 complains from those who where scammed. Also, according to Sift Science, which is an organization that fights internet fraud, the top four countries that indulge in internet fraud in the whole world are Latvia, Egypt, United States, and Mexico. Latvia is the worst that indulge in internet fraud follow by Egypt, United States and then Mexico.

Poor Mechanization: Mechanization can be defined as introduction of machines or automation to facilitate production processes. In most developing countries, lack of mechanization is one of the principal causes of unemployment among the citizens of the countries. Some people in developing parts of the world are still making use of crude equipment for cultivation of crops. This is why many quit or find it difficult to become engage in agriculture as their source of employment. But when agriculture in that part of the world is mechanized, people will find it interesting to practice agriculture with joy.

Many establishments would have employed more and more workers if there are good mechanization processes that are obtainable in those establishments. Taking universities as one of the establishments, when they are equipped with machines, like computers for accessing of information, big generators, air conditioners, and other valuable machines, some engineers, computer scientists and other people of different disciplines have their roles to play and they become employed. Poor mechanization is indeed a contributor of unemployment among people of different races.

Consequences of Unemployment

Unemployment is not a friend and nobody of any kind even a mad person will not like to make it his friend. The reason is because there are many consequences it can bring. The word, consequence, is an English word, which means results or effects. So, consequences of unemployment are those things which unemployment can result to. Hence, the consequences of unemployment are:

  • Migration;
  • Conflict;
  • Crime;
  • Low national industrial output;
  • Poverty;
  • Kidnapping and robbery; and
  • Lawlessness

Migration: Who will like to stay in any country where unemployment is on the high increase? Will you like to stay there if you are unemployed when you have other places to migrate to and secure a good job at last? I am very sure that you will leave your country to another man’s country where there is more availability of jobs to continue life in that part of the world.

What is migration? In this context, migration is movement from one particular area where one is located to another in search of ‘greener pasture’. Unemployment has made many citizens of a specific country move to other countries, work in the new locations, earn their money from that new location, and even die there at their old ages because they take the new place they migrate to as their new homes.

Conflict: There is a popular saying: an angry man is a hungry man. What is that that make the man angry which subsequently leads to hunger? The answer is that unemployment can make a man angry which results to hunger. When large numbers of citizens are unemployed, conflicts can come in because they are angry and hungry at the same time.

Many disagreements that are going on in some states of the world can be attributed to unemployment. People who are unemployed can come up one day and plan to indulge in rioting because of the problem of unemployment in the state. They in some cases move to Government Houses of their states in anger to show the disagreement they have with the ruling government.

Crime: What business does an employed worker have with criminal act going on in his or her country? Most people start thinking of one crime or the other that they will indulge in to make money when there is no source of income for them.

It is said that: an idle mind is devils workshop. Unemployment has made many minds to be idle which hence results to crime engagement. Many crimes committed today are because people do not have what they do for their living-unemployment. So, when they stay alone, they ‘fabricate’ one wicked act they will carry out, which is known as crime.

Low national industrial output: It is clear that any nation which faces unemployment will have a decline in industrial production. This is because those who are to be employed in various manufacturing companies are not given opportunities to boost the output of the country.

Employing graduates and learned persons will increase products which are yearly produced in many nations. When there are fewer numbers of cosmetic companies in a nation instead of having many, the yearly output made by the country will be small. But when there are many cosmetic companies that produce the same products, the yearly cosmetic products will be of high increase. The high increase is because more workers were employed which help in rapid outputs that were obtained. In the contrast, due to low national industrial output because of unemployment, nations Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decreases.

Poverty: Mathematically, unemployment is directly proportional to poverty. Even any baby who is taught on unemployment can know that unemployment can result in Poverty. In the 2013 release of top countries that face high unemployment rate by International Labour Organization, Africa faces the highest unemployment rate. When this is compared with the poverty level of African Continent, it is not farfetched that Africa continent is the poorest continent in the world. Yes! It is the poorest.

From the list of the world poorest country in the year 2013, the world poorest country is Democratic Republic of Congo located on the African continent. In fact out of the top fifteen poorest countries released by the International Monetary Fund World Economic Outlook, fourteen of then came from Africa. The increasing order in the poverty level of the top fifteen poorest nations in the world as in 2013 is given as Mozambique→ Ethiopia→ Guinea→ Togo→ Mali→ Afghanistan→ Madagascar→ Malawi→ Niger→ Central African Republic→ the Eritrea→ Liberia→ Burundi→ Zimbabwe→ Democratic Republic of the Congo. Out of these top fifteen poorest countries of the world, it is only Afghanistan that merged from another continent.

NetRight Daily (own work), licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0
NetRight Daily (own work), licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0 | Source

Kidnapping and robbery: What is kidnapping? Kidnapping can be defined as abduction of any person to receive ransom which can be money before the kidnapped is released from the captive. In criminal Law, kidnapping is the taking away or transportation of a person against the person’s will, usually to hold the person in false imprisonment, a confinement without legal authority (definition from Wikipedia). Kidnapping is of higher increase in the recent time and government and other important organizations are fighting on daily basis to see that the menace is reduced in many parts of the world.

Missing of human beings is a daily occurrence in the United States of America. An astounding 2,300 Americans are reported missing every day, including both adults and children. This is as reported by the body in charge of keeping the records of the missing persons. The question is: what are they used for or where can the abducted be found? Many persons said that some of these persons are used for sacrifices while others said that they are sold out to people in the form of slavery but nobody can really tell. According to a justice department study, nearly 90 per cent of the abductors are men.

According to the report on kidnapping, in the year 2000, Iraq was known to be the country with highest kidnapping activity with total of about 1, 500 foreigners kidnapped in that year. In the year 2004, Mexico registered the highest in kidnapping activity. Again, an estimate of about 12, 500 to 25, 500 persons are kidnapped per year in the world. In totality, the cause of the kidnapping can be traced to be unemployment as one who has no job to sustain him can indulge in such act to make some money which he or she will use for daily expenses. I do not think that a full flesh human being who makes enough money from where he is employed will have time to plot evil in the name of kidnapping to get ransom in return. Even if there are those who are working and still engage in kidnapping of people, they are of minimal number.

Robbery is another social criminal activity which can to be as a result of unemployment. One whose conscience is dead and wants to make money either by hook or crook can force himself into robbery to make money. Robbers have caused a lot of injuries to innocent persons and have shaded lots and lots of blood. Many do this because they want to meet up with the demand of life, which they think that the only option available to them is by armed robbery attacks.

Lawlessness: To make Law is good as it is a set of rules that govern group of persons living is a particular society or state. Laws are made by the Lawmakers and anyone who goes against it faces the ‘kind of music’ attributed to the offence. In a nutshell, any citizen that goes contrary to the Laws governing the state faces the punishment attributed to it.

Notwithstanding the importance of Law in any society, unemployment has made some Laws to be Lawlessness. How is that possible? People are no longer obedient to certain Laws that govern a group of persons because the government who made the Laws are not able to provide opportunities for the citizens to get employed in many places of work. The constitution of every nation prohibits armed robbery, yet people break this Law as a result of what unemployment caused.


Unemployment is a big global challenge. Truly, any who quietly and gently go through this topic will confirm and confess that this topic is well explained and understandable. The topic is backed up with many research works and it is full of information. The question like: which countries have high unemployment rate are answered in this piece. Again, another question: which country is the poorest in the world is also answered.

Above all, discussed on this essay are the causes and consequences of unemployment. The causes of unemployment are: poor education, lack of Skills, poor moral, poor government planning, corruption, war, and fraud. As discussed, the consequences of unemployment include migration, conflict, crime, low national industrial output, poverty, kidnapping and robbery, and Lawlessness. Note that other authors may have their own views but all are interrelated.

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  • Causes of Unemployment by Geoff Riley
  • Wikipedia on Unemployment Issue
  • Unemployment: Its Causes and Their Remedies by Tuper Trouton
  • The Guardian News on the topic: World Unemployment Figures Set to rise in 2013, Claims US Labour Agency
  • ThisDay News: Nigerian News Publication Company
  • Unemployment: The shocking Truth of Its Causes, It’s Outrageous Consequences and What can be Done about It
  • Youth Unemployment: Consequences, Implications, and the way forward by Cassava Millers
  • Major Causes of Unemployment in Nigeria by Aberare Samuel
  • Causes and Effects of Unemployment on Society by DoubleGist
  • Transparency International on Countries Corruption Rankings
  • Vanguard Online News on 19th May, 2014 by Emmanuel Edukugho
  • Malaysia among Top e-Commerce Fraudulent Countries List by e-Commerce
  • America’s Missing by David Krajicek
  • Website of National Crime Information Center of Missing Persons
  • World Bank, 2008 DRC Public Expenditure Review
  • International Labour Organization (ILO) on Unemployment Report
  • National Bureau Statistics of Nigeria on statistics of Graduates that Graduate Nigeria Tertiary Institutions
  • Statistica (2010), The 20 countries with the highest unemployment rate, retrieved February 2, 2018

© 2014 Okwuagbala Uzochukwu Mike P


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    • Uzochukwu Mike profile imageAUTHOR

      Okwuagbala Uzochukwu Mike P 

      3 years ago from Oba

      Am happy you enjoyed it Tchibara because if you do not, it will appear as if am a bad cook who do not know how to cook. It's an evidence that am trying in the field of article writing.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I enjoy it


    • Uzochukwu Mike profile imageAUTHOR

      Okwuagbala Uzochukwu Mike P 

      3 years ago from Oba

      Thanks Adeola. I am grateful.

    • profile image

      very interesting 

      4 years ago

      interesting and senceble

    • Uzochukwu Mike profile imageAUTHOR

      Okwuagbala Uzochukwu Mike P 

      4 years ago from Oba

      martin lynda what is your question?

    • profile image

      martin lynda 

      4 years ago

      my question is not always answered


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