What is frictional unemployment?

Frictional unemployment is caused by frequent job changes. This type of unemployment occurs when an employee does not find a new job immediately after the termination of an employment relationship. If the employee terminated the employment himself, the frictional unemployment is to be added to the voluntary unemployment. If he has been given notice, unemployment is involuntary.

This lesson deals with frictional unemployment. You will find out what frictional unemployment means and how it can be ended. Finally, we will give you an overview of the other forms of unemployment. To deepen your knowledge, you can answer a few exercise questions after the text.

  • Synonyms: fluctuation unemployment | Search unemployment
  • English: frictional unemployment

How does frictional unemployment arise?

According to gradchem, fractional unemployment can arise when changing jobs because there is no guarantee that the job seeker will be able to take up the new job immediately after the old one has ended.

If an employee changes his job frequently, it is possible that frictional unemployment is very pronounced. Employees who identify with their tasks and the company’s goals are less likely to be hit by frictional unemployment.

How can frictional unemployment be ended?

The duration of frictional unemployment is often short compared to other types of unemployment and depends on several criteria. In order to end them more quickly, the job seeker turns on an employment agency. It is irrelevant whether the job seeker uses a state or a private employment agency to end his unemployment.

The state can also bring about a reduction in frictional unemployment if the unemployment benefit is restricted for the job seeker. However, this is only an effective tool if the job seeker is not involved in finding new employment. It is characteristic that he rejects several job offers from the employment agency or terminates new employment relationships several times during the probationary period.

Types of unemployment at a glance

Unemployment can have various causes.

In addition to frictional unemployment, a distinction is made between:

Types of unemployment

Seasonal unemployment

The seasonal unemployment depends on the season. Asparagus sticks are z. B. only needed in spring. In the summer months, restaurants have a higher influx in beer gardens. The temporary workers who work there are often only employed for three to four months.

However, the main effects of seasonal unemployment are in the construction industry. During the winter months, neither construction workers nor roofers can go about their work.

The cyclical unemployment

The cyclical unemployment is always involuntarily. It arises due to fluctuations in the overall economic development of an economy. Because consumers demand fewer goods, entrepreneurs produce less. Due to the decline in production, companies have to lay off staff.

frictional unemployment

Measures to stimulate the economy are e.g. B. a reduction in the VAT rate or an increase in child benefit. If private households have more money at their disposal, they ask for more goods. For companies, this means that they will need more staff again.

The basic unemployment

The base unemployment results from the proportion of unemployed who cannot find a job after a cyclical unemployment, although the state has taken appropriate countermeasures. This unemployment persists even after the labor market has recovered. Voluntary unemployment and frictional unemployment can be found in the base unemployment.

Structural unemployment

In addition to the forms mentioned, unemployment can also be structural. The structural unemployment is limited to structurally weak regions. It is combated, for example, through job creation measures. Another way of preventing structural unemployment is for job seekers to move from structurally weak regions to economically strong regions.

In addition, a distinction must be made between frictional unemployment as to whether it occurred voluntarily or involuntarily.


A doctor’s assistant quits her job because her employer pays her too low a salary. Contrary to expectations, she has to wait over two months before getting a new job.

The prerequisites for frictional unemployment are met for the two months. Since she quit her job herself, it is voluntary. If the employer had given notice of termination, unemployment would be involuntary.


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