"There are three kinds of unemployment - frictional, structural, and cyclical. Frictional unemployment is voluntary and temporary - ie, a college student who is focusing on his studies and doesn't want a job is "frictionally" unemployed. Structural unemployment is like the buggy whip manufacturers - necessary restructuring of the market due to changes in consumer demand. Cyclical unemployment is caused by fluctuations in the business cycle - there is a temporary drop in demand for your particular industry, as the economy enters a recessionary period, and so you lose your job. The only one of these that the State has a hand in is cyclical unemployment, and that is because cyclical fluctuations are largely caused (or at least exacerbated) by government in the first place."