Monthly Archives: October 2017

The nature of seasonal unemployment

Seasonal joblessness is commonly termed as a seasonal employee layoff. A common effect is that a large group of people, in spite of a good amount of skill sets, routinely face unemployment at fixed time of the year. A further glance through this article will enlighten you about what this unemployment truly is and how to avoid getting affected by it.

Prominent Causes

It is often seen to happen in areas where there is a rapid change in seasons and climatic conditions. Similarly, a pattern of such unemployment can be seen amongst communities with limited occupational skills. Seasonal unemployment is also seen amongst migrant communities who take up certain short time work as a means of temporary source of income.

Seasonal Occupations
Agriculture is one of the most common occupation which has such unemployment as a prominent feature. It is a very common problem in countries that are primarily agrarian economies. Here we see a sudden surge in employment opportunities in agricultural areas during the peak sowing and harvest seasons. After the harvest period is over, the employment suddenly goes slack. However, the same employees may be hired as farm laborers in the next agricultural season.
In fruit picking industries, there is a demand for skilled fruit pickers and expert in fruit processing technology during the peak season. This demand fades after all the fruit processing activities are completed for the year. e.g. This phenomenon is commonly seen in western India where Alphonso mangoes are grown. The fruit picking season generally lasts from March to May each year. By end of May, all activities such as fruit picking, fruit processing and canning are completed. The employees of mango orchards now face unemployment.
Different nations have their own tourist peak seasons depending on the country’s location and best time for visiting the country. At the height of the season, there is a high demand and cut neck competition between transport industries, hospitality industries, manufacturing industries, entertainment industries and so on. But once the season ends, there is a sharp rise in seasonal employee layoff.
There is a surge in demand for woolen products during winters and rainy wear during the monsoons. But have you ever wondered what happens to people engaged in manufacturing these products during off seasons? You guessed it right. They face seasonal unemployment.
Government’s Take on Issue of Unemployment
It might shock you, but government never takes such unemployment into consideration while calculating the unemployment indexes for a financial year. This is because a significant amount of unemployment may have some negative effects on calculations made to assess a nation’s growth. This may further affect the nation’s reputation and economic status.
As means to take care of this unemployment, the government distributes some allowances and unemployment benefits to the people.

The causes and consequences of unemployment.

Considering the unpredictable nature of the economy, unemployment is something we may have to face at any point of time in our careers. The inflating world population, its mismatch with the number and kind of work opportunities available, and a decrease in the size of the educated class results in an economic imbalance, which is an important cause of unemployment. The closing down of businesses, or their reduced needs of manpower are among the other reasons. Apart from adding to the economic imbalance, unemployment leads to stress and dissatisfaction in the jobless and their families. Circumstances force people to remain unproductive, in spite of their capability to work. This has adverse effects on society. In the following sections of this Buzzle article, we will look at the causes and consequences of unemployment.

Causes

◆ According to the Keynesian economic theory, unemployment results from insufficient effective demand for goods and services in an economy. If the demand for a particular good or service falls, companies produce less. This causes a decrease in the demand for workforce, leading to unemployment. In this case, a company may reduce its employees or file for bankruptcy. This is known as demand deficient unemployment.

◆ When businesses experience a growth in demand for their products, they need workforce. This brings in a period of increased employment. When businesses experience a decline in demand, their need for workers reduces. This leads to cyclical unemployment.

◆ Some believe that structural problems and inefficiencies in the labor market cause unemployment. Not being able to learn the skills or technology required for a job role or being unable to move to a different job location can lead to structural unemployment.

◆ Also, regulations like minimum wage laws imposed on the labor market lead to unemployment.

◆ When the law of demand and supply is not applied in case of employing people, unemployment results. A decline in the demand for products or services of a company does not reflect in the wages of its employees. This may strike an imbalance in the economy.

◆ When a person moves from one city or country to another, it may take him some time to find a new job. If he quits his job for a personal reason or because it does not suit his skills, he has to remain unemployed till he finds a new one. This is known as frictional unemployment.

◆ A temporary period of unemployment may be caused by a seasonal production of certain goods. For example, agricultural and mining activities may not be carried out throughout the year, which means, those working in these sectors will be unemployed seasonally.

◆ People may choose to remain unemployed for various reasons. Ideally, those who are not looking for work are not considered as ‘unemployed’. Only those looking for a job but not being able to acquire one, can be classified as unemployed.

◆ Those who are of the working age but have stopped looking for work due to reasons like reduced motivation, are not counted in the unemployment statistics. This can be regarded as hidden or covered unemployment. It means the number of unemployed is always more than what is shown in the statistics.

◆ During a period of recession, some companies may lay off employees and others may reduce or completely stop recruiting people, leading to unemployment.

◆ Businesses may have other reasons for reducing employees, such as the shutting down of a particular division or new technology reducing the amount of workforce needed.

◆ If a company can obtain cheap labor from another country, it results in unemployment for the natives. For example, Chinese and Indian people are taking up jobs in the US. Companies are benefiting from having to pay relatively lesser salaries to workers from these countries. But this can affect the employment opportunities that Americans have.

◆ An increase in the taxes imposed on companies in certain countries, may lead the businesses to move out of that country. This may lead to job cuts of people employed by these companies.

Discrimination at the Workplace

Women have been forming a considerable part of the US workforce for decades now. Their efficiency to succeed professionally has been acknowledged all over the world. Irrespective of this, gender discrimination in the workplace still continues in one form or the other.

With better opportunities, more and more women are opting for financial independence by working towards a stable career. Today, almost every field that was earlier touted as being men-only, has been pervaded by women.

If a woman qualifies on the basis of all the requirements of a profession, then there is no reason why there should be any discrimination. Although laws have been passed in most countries to provide equal opportunities for both men and women, the fact is that ‘women and the glass ceiling’ still exists.

The Concept Explained
• Most countries allow for equal opportunities for men and women through the federal laws. For example, the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII, prohibits employers from discriminating against job seekers. It also protects discrimination against employees on the basis of race, religion, sex, pregnancy, and nationality.
• A recent study by the Census Bureau shows that women working earn 79% of what their male counterparts do. The statistics become more dismal with increase in hours of work.
• Outright refusal of employment on basis of gender is just one of the most blatant forms of exploitation of the right of each individual to work. However, the scenario seems to be even more complex. Many a time, women are refused benefits – monetary or otherwise, and other privileges that their male counterparts receive as part of the employment policies.
• Overlooking performance of employees while considering for promotion is a type of employment discrimination. This is often done on the ridiculous assumption that women are not capable of handling stressful situations and tend to be emotionally influenced when it comes to taking decisions as high ranking personnel in the corporate sector.
The Legal Considerations
• Even during recruitment, many firms prefer men to women employees, though most of them don’t divulge this attitude when they advertise for the job opening (as that is illegal too). This is mainly done on the pretext that the health care requirements and social responsibilities of a woman are different from that of a man, and this is often viewed as a hurdle against her performance.

• Federal laws do not allow discrimination, for example, if an employer refuses to hire a woman with children who she has to care for, but recruits a man with small children at the same position, this discriminatory behavior is accountable to federal laws. What fuels such sentiments of discrimination is the fact that a woman’s role in the society has always been as that of the caregiver in the family, and a working woman does not get any leeward in this responsibility.

Employee Discrimination and Guidelines

According to the EOCC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission), all employers in the United States are not allowed to discriminate against you for any of the following reasons: Transfers, layoffs, promotions or recalls Use of company facilities Fringe benefits Hiring or Firing Job advertisements Testing Pay, disability leave and retirement plans Compensation, classification and assignment of employees Apprenticeship and training programs Recruitment But, in order to be ‘illegally’ discriminatory, an employer has to be in violation of certain state or federal laws or statutes, or even the regulatory and constitutional provisions. Under normal circumstances, most employees or applicants are not protected from discrimination, however unethical or unfair it may be. For instance, if your boss is stricter with you than with the other employees for no logical reason whatsoever, though it might be considered as unethical behavior on the part of the boss, it is not considered to be discrimination by law. But if your boss is extremely strict with an employee for a reason that is protected by law, like age, race, sex, or religion, then this is illegal employment discrimination, especially if the employee is suffering from damage like being overlooked for a promotion or raise that was well-deserved. Discrimination by Type Though discrimination falls under many categories, here are some of the more common types of employment discrimination that you may witness or be the victim of at any organization Age Discrimination This comes about when an employee is suddenly treated in an unfair or inequitable manner for either being ‘too old’ or ‘too young’. While in most cases, it is not considered to be illegal to discriminate against any employee for being very young, there are various federal and state discrimination laws that exist to protect and aid employees who are aged 40 and above. Gender Discrimination It is also known as sexual discrimination or sex-based discrimination, and it occurs when any employer treats a particular employee in an unfair manner or inequitable manner based on the gender of the employee. Racial Discrimination The most common form, racial discrimination, takes place when an employee or a group of employees are treated harshly or differently based on their ethnicity or race. There are laws that prohibit employers from denying a worker an employment opportunity because of his or her racial group, characteristics or even marriage to someone from another color or race. National Origin and Language Discrimination This occurs when an employee is neglected or treated badly because of his or her nationality, accent, or ethnicity. Religious Discrimination This occurs when an employer treats a particular employee in a harsh manner because of the employee’s religious beliefs and practices. Discrimination generally takes place in the form of special treatment, harassment, or even refusal to consider the employees religious practices.