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How to talk about unemployment

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So here we are in the middle of a world recession or the 'credit crunch' (or 'credit crisis') as the media like calling it. I'm sure that wherever you are in the world, you are seeing signs all around you.
Companies are having to make cut backs in order to survive, and avoid going under. This downscaling is taking many forms: some companies are making works redundant, others are forcing workers to take pay cuts or work reduced hours.  Rising unemployment means that it’s becoming increasingly more difficult for those who have been laid off, to find new jobs.
In the UK a number of high-profile companies have already gone bust. How many other companies will go bankrupt before this recession ends? Britain's Finance Minister is predicting that the economy will pick up by the end of the year; however, confidence remains low – especially amongst those who have recently been let go, or are facing the sack.

Key words

The following words and phrases all mean bankrupt (when a company loses all of its money and has to close forever)

  • go under
  • go bust

(make) cut backs - a reduction in something, made in order to save money.

downscale - (also known as downsize) to make something smaller and therefore cheaper to operate; in this case it refers to companies trying to save money. Can be used a verb or adjective.

(take) pay cuts - to receive less pay (money) for working than before.

(work) reduced hours - to spend less time working than before, usually meaning that you get paid less.

The following expressions all mean 'to lose your job':

  • (make) redundant
  • lay off (past tense: laid off)

The above words usually imply that you lose your job through no fault of your own (you didn't do anything wrong).

  • let go
  • sack (also known as fire) - this word is used more when someone.

The above two words imply that you lost your job because you were not good enough or because you did something wrong.

Link: Talking about the economy