seasonal unemployment

The concept of unemployment is seen and taught in Economics, where five different types of unemployment have been identified and explained from an economy’s perspective. Each of these unemployment occurs as a result of various economic fluctuations that take place in a particular country. These factors vary from one country to another. Overall, there are quite a few types of unemployment that are common in every country. But, our area of concentration is seasonal unemployment, where we have explained seasonal unemployment definition and relevant examples.

What Does Seasonal Unemployment Mean?

seasonal unemployment

Per the definition, seasonal unemployment is a type of unemployment that occurs when working people are employed only for the seasonal period or a specific period in a year and unemployed for the rest of the year. This unemployment arises due to less or seasonal demand for products or services and the seasonal labor that products them. Even though seasonal unemployment is temporary and predictable, i.e., employment is known beforehand, its contribution to the economy is still negative since there isn’t much for the government to do in this respect. Want to learn more about seasonal unemployment? Read below about the causes, pros & cons, and classic examples of seasonal unemployment in detail. 

Classic Examples Of Seasonal Unemployment

Seasonal unemployment is usually seen in agriculture, tourism & leisure, construction, and retailing as well. 

1. Farming:

Farmers are the classic example of seasonal unemployment because they only work for the period when it’s time to harvest their crops. For the rest of the time, they are sitting idle with zero productive work. For example, farmers who grow seasonal fruits, like mangos, litchis, strawberries, coconut apple, and more, work when it’s time for the fruits to ripen.  

2. Election Officials:

Elections are a once in a few years event. According to the country’s laws, the government hires temporary officials to organize and conduct the election process in a peaceful manner. Hiring permanent election officers would mean unnecessary monetary costs for the government because their specialization is required for once in a certain number of years. They are not of any productive purpose to the government. 

3. Ice-Cream Vendors And Umbrella/Raincoat Vendors:

The demand for ice cream touches the sky only during summers. For the latter half of the year, there is little demand for the same. It helps in cooling the temperature inside your body during summers. Similarly, the demand for an umbrella and a raincoat is exceptionally high during summer and monsoon season and only during monsoon season, respectively, as the two products save us from the scorching heat and rain. After that, the two products are in no demand at all. So, the ice-cream, umbrella, and raincoat manufacturers and retailers are also an example of seasonal unemployment who stay unemployed during their off-season. 

4. Professional Athletes:

A sportsman or any professional athlete is engaged in playing his sports only during its season. For instance, a football player plays multiple football matches from the early summers before the fall of the winter season when a championship is scheduled. During the off-seasons, they too are out of work.

5. Tourist Guides:

A person whose profession is a Tourist guide is in demand at the tourist season’s embarks. This tourist season also depends from country to country as a city is completely open for visitors and tourists only for a specific period. For instance, the best time to visit India is from September to February when the weather is warm and travel-friendly. At this, tourists in India are highly active, while they are dormant for the rest of the year.

6. Water Sports And Ice/Snow-Skating:

Water sports park or an original ice-skating park function in the summers and winters time respectively, because neither anyone would dare to ride at the frozen park during winters dare to skate at a melted park during summers. So, employees working at such seasonal adventure places are a part of seasonal unemployment.    

What Are The Main Causes Behind Seasonal Unemployment?

Poor Government Policies

1. Seasonal Demand:

Seasonal demand means when a product/service is required only during a specific season/time or conditions. For example, the government hires contractual laborers for the construction/renovation of various public utilities, such as roads, because the benefits from such workers get over once they have finished the work they specialize in. 

2. Poor Government Policies:

The government worldwide has done little to eradicate seasonal unemployment and safeguard the skills and creativity of seasonal workers. Because of no robust policy and contracts in this regard, organizations quickly hire and lay off such workers depending on their needs.       

Pros Of Seasonal Unemployment

1. Sharpening Of A Specific Skill:

Since a seasonal worker works only for a specific type of job every year, he can hone and sharpen his particular set of skills, which he masters gradually. 

2. Higher Wages:

Given that a seasonal employee is only working for a certain period, the wages that he is given are somewhat equal to those employed for the entire year so that the seasonal workers can live a normal livelihood throughout the year.  

3. It Is Highly Predictable:

The coming of seasonal unemployment is inevitable and known in advance, so the employers and the employees both get ample time to plan the upcoming season accordingly. 

4. Something Is Better Than Nothing, i.e., Better Than Total Unemployment:

Total unemployment means people are unemployed for the whole year earning zero income. Therefore, being occupied for some period and earning for the entire year is way better than sitting idle with no work and income for the whole year.  

Cons of Seasonal Unemployment

1. Harsh Economy:

People with seasonal employment, especially those who fall under middle class or lower, suffers the most due to seasonal jobs because during their unemployment tenure when they run out of money, they either have to sell their personal properties to feed themselves and their families and pay-off thor loans (if taken) or hunt for some new job opportunity which is not their specialization.

2. Idle Minds:

People who are seasonally employed tend to become lazy and lethargic during the seasonal unemployment period because their minds are not occupied in any productive tasks and stats pondering wrong things. For example, “an empty mind is a devil’s workshop.”

3. Hysteresis Effect:

The hysteresis effect means that a person who stays out of a job or unemployed for a very long period tends to develop the habit of staying idle and lacks the motivation to work at a new place during their offseason. Such people rely on the welfare cheques they receive from the government during the unemployed period instead of working harder. 

The actual statistics on the unemployment rate are often seasonally adjusted because it also considers seasonal unemployment as a part of unemployment. This way, the usual seasonal fluctuations are also taken into account while calculating the overall unemployment rate of an economy. 

The answer to the question “why don’t government planners try to end seasonal unemployment” is very debatable because there isn’t much a government can do to put a complete stop to seasonal unemployment. The only solution is to create more jobs for such workers, which meets their skills.    

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