Unemployment Balancing Notes

There’s clearly been some balancing work on unemployment, making the simulation harder to master, which I greatly appreciate. It’s something that the player has to take a lot more seriously now. It adds a new incentive to push policies that create jobs when in previous builds you could bottom out Unemployment just by having a few state systems.

That said, there are now a few policies that I might think would influence the simulation which currently don’t, which irks me when somewhat esoteric systems like Vertical Farms do, so here’s a list of suggested changes. I feel the following policies should create jobs:

Legal Prostitution
Intelligence Services
Diplomatic Service
National Service
Public Libraries

I also feel that Rail and Bus usage should affect the simulation, rather than their subsidies themselves, as creating a system of schoolbuses or increasing coverage to suit a wave of pensioners using free passes are both reasons more jobs would get created.

Can anyone think of any others?

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I agree that more of those policies should reduce unemployment, although the effect should be pretty small for most of them. As an example, a country’s diplomatic service isn’t exactly a huge employment generator.

I appreciate the balancing done on unemployment, but I feel like there could be room for some more policies that reduce unemployment. Even in my most successful, balanced countries, where the economy is booming and there are both strong state services and market-oriented policies, my unemployment declines but then very slowly inches back up to a certain point. This is despite me continuing to add unemployment-reducing policies while minimizing situations that would increase unemployment.

As for rail and bus usage affecting unemployment, I think that’s a bit too convoluted for the simulation to take into account. I mean at that point, there are thousands of such indirect effects to be added to the game, which is just unfeasible. I think bus and rail subsidies reducing unemployment by themselves is reasonable.


I’d say that the GDP should have more impact on unemployment. Labour shortages may not be on anyone’s mind right now, but they do happen when the economy is booming. I also feel that it should be harder to max out the GDP.


I definitely agree. I’m probably in the minority here, but I actually enjoyed it when it was still possible to reduce unemployment to zero in the game, because it really messed with wages and productivity, which is essentially simulating the effect of a labour shortage.

We should be able to reduce unemployment to lower levels than is currently possible. The normalization (mathematically speaking) of the unemployment rate might need to be nerfed a little to make that possible. At the same time, the “negative” effects of a lower unemployment rate should be more pronounced. It should decrease productivity even more at lower rates, and it should have a stronger effect on wages, which would then increase inflation at the highest levels.


We do have the Skills Shortage situation, but it’s not affected by GDP.

I’m not so convinced it’s a good idea to have every public sector activity produce jobs. That seems to discount the idea of a private sector that it would be replacing, or if not that, then other places those skills could have been used in. I’m not saying it doesn’t create jobs, but we don’t need tons of tiny effects, either.

What I WOULD like to see, is new policies targetting unemployment specifically, and the adult education subsidies to also possibly helping with it:


This post is great. Now that I think about it, it is weird there’s no job centres or employment funding, and compulsory work really ought to be called the Jobseeker Activation Scheme.

I’ve seen modern socialists arguing that shorter hours and the shortening of the working week would create jobs too, as it’d mean more people were required to share the work. The government would pay out to make sure the jobs payed the same over the reduced hours, creating both an employment boom, and an uptick in job satisfaction. It’s a relatively futurist concept, but human beings used to work a 6 day week before the industrial revolutions, so I’m not sure it’s out of the question.

It’d be nice to have all that, but I’d like to maintain that I think it’s good you can’t bottom out the simulation anymore. A little unemployment seems like a healthy and normal part of any society.

I agree, although keep in mind that a lot of those public sector areas do not really have private sector equivalents, so the issue of those jobs “replacing” other ones in the private sector falls flat (think diplomatic service or intelligence services here).

Some active labour market policies would certainly add flavour to the game and should help reduce unemployment when doing a market-oriented playthrough with minimal state services.

Oh, and I should add that while, yes, we do have a skills shortage situation, this is not really the same thing as a labour shortage. A labour shortage is more general and typically includes the lack of even low-skilled workers in the economy. A skills shortage is more to do with there being not enough highly-skilled and well-educated individuals to fill all the available jobs.

Is this something which Cliff has considered?

  • Legal Prostitution
  • Intelligence Services
  • Diplomatic Service
  • National Service
  • Public Libraries
  • Prisons
  • State Housing
  • Nuclear Fission
  • Technology Colleges
  • State Housing
  • Family Planning
  • Subsidies for Unions
  • Small Business Grants
  • Enterprise Investment Scheme

All do not reduce unemployment despite them being about funding labour intensive operations in your nation. Even though something so arbitrary as Armed Police reduces unemployment, separate from the unemployment reduction of the Police Force itself.

With the Unemployment value as hard to master as it was two years ago, this seems like an easy way to rebalance that weird discrepancy while giving weight to all these policies, some of which aren’t worth doing otherwise because they aren’t modelled well - I’m still mystified by how pointless funding nuclear projects are in the game given the implications of the technology and the otherwise climate-aware and technologically conscious nature of the game.