PUBLIC POLICY AND JOB SEARCH

Even if some frictional unemployment is inevitable, the precise amount the f er information spreads about job openings and worker availability, the more rapidly the economy can match workers and firms. The Internet, for instance, may help facilitate job search and reduce frictional unemployment. In addition, public policy may play role. If policy can reduce the time it takes unemployed workers to find new jobs, it can reduce the economy’s natural rate of unemployment. Government programs try to facilitate job search in various ways. One way is through government-run employment agencies, which ‘give out information about job vacancies. Another way is through public training programs, which aim to ease the transition of workers from declining to growing industries and the help disadvantaged groups escape poverty. Advocates of these programs believe that they make the economy operate more efficiently by keeping the labor force more fully employed and that they reduce the inequities inherent in a constantly changing market economy. Critics of these programs question whether the government should get involved with the process of job search. They argue that it is better to let the private market match workers and jobs. In fact, most job search in our-economy takes place without intervention by the government. Newspaper ads, Internet job sites, college placement offices, headhunters, and word of mouth all help spread information about job openings and job candidates. Similarly, much worker education is done privately, either through schools or through on-the-job training. These critics contend that the government is no better-and most likely worse-at disseminating the right information to the right takers and deciding what kinds of worker training would be most valuable. They claim that these decisions are best made privately by workers and employers.