(WURK.lus.nus) n. The condition of being unemployed and having little or no prospect for employment.
workless, adj.

Example Citation:
My question about the meaning of the new buzzword 'worklessness', which is replacing the more traditional 'unemployment' in council documents produced a spirited response from Labour cabinet member Stewart Stacey.

Unemployment, he said, could be translated as 'I haven't got a job this week.'

Worklessness, meanwhile, could be defined as 'I never expect to have a job, no one in my family has had a job for two generations, so why should I bother'.
—Paul Dale, "The iron angle," Birmingham Post, May 25, 2002

Earliest Citation:
Forget unemployment, the big challenge in deprived neighbourhoods is worklessness. There's a big difference. Unemployment is a temporary phenomenon: you may lose your job or fail to get one, but you're still actively part of the labour market. . . . Workless people, however, are out of the labour market completely.
—Rachel Spence, "Neighbourhood renewal," The Independent, January 23, 2002

This term has been a clumsy synonym for unemployment since at least the 1880s. Now — pushed by the bureaucrats in Britain's Labour government — this new sense of the word has appeared and is angling to replace more cumbersome constructions such as chronic unemployment, persistent unemployment, and non-employment.

Related Words: