what do you think is better to use in a formal writing (Unemployment or Joblessness) ?

I had an exam today, and one of the students kept telling us that the word joblessness was completely wrong, and the correct word was unemployment.

  • Are you open to other possibilities as well? – Elian Jun 1 '14 at 18:36

"One of the students" was absolutely right.

Jobless is mainly used in contexts like "downmarket" newspaper headlines - as a modifier in, for example, "Jobless figures rise for third successive quarter".

If you actually ask a person whether they work or not, they're much more likely to say "I'm unemployed" than "I'm jobless". And the derived form joblessness is even less likely to arise in any normal context.


Unemployment is the correct term to use especially in a formal context.

Unemployment occurs when a person who is actively searching for employment is unable to find work. Unemployment is often used as a measure of the health of the economy. The most frequently cited measure of unemployment is the unemployment rate. This is the number of unemployed persons divided by the number of people in the labor force.

Joblessness is a much less common term as shown also in Ngram.

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