As many may have noticed getting the perfect balance of jobs and people to fill those jobs is probably impossible. So I am asking what will cause the least amount of negative affects to my city; unemployment or unfilled jobs?


It depends on what negative effect is worse in your opinion:

Unemployment will result in people moving out of their homes eventually due to not having any money, or turning to a life of crime to support themselves. They will also stop shopping at local commercial zones for the same reason (or steal from them), and will instead visit parks. Either way, the result is not good. If they stay in their homes, you start getting a crime problem in their area, which if they are located in a $$$ or $$ wealth area will cause negative happiness. If they lose their homes, they will set up camp in your parks, lowering land values and happiness.

Underemployment will result in businesses abandoning their buildings, which will usually need to be bulldozed. This causes you to lose the tax revenue, and the building will be a den for crime and/or fire hazard in the meantime.

In my opinion, unemployment is worse, as the effects of underemployment can be dodged by being diligent about bulldozing abandoned buildings. This is of course provided you can afford the financial hit of losing the tax revenue. Typically, the building will start rebuilding itself anyway, but the cycle may keep repeating or pop up at another building.

  • unemployment, sounds worse. – Paralytic Mar 16 '13 at 14:58
  • If you go with underemployment make sure that your critical services (power, water etc) and specialization buildings (mines, processor factory etc) are between your Residential and Industrial areas. This will ensure that during the commute the residents will first staff the jobs that keep your city working and profitable. – Xantec Mar 18 '13 at 18:20

As of update 7, cars are able to reserve their destination. This means that unemployment no longer generates a swarm of extra traffic!

Low wealth residential is not very tolerant of unemployment. With much more than 5-10% unemployment, they will run out of money and abandon. This will also cause homeless people to appear, which crowd your parks.

Medium wealth and high wealth residential is very tolerant of unemployment. I've had 50% unemployment with high wealth and it's completely stable (jobs = working = unemployed). This allows you to add more shoppers, students and residential tax at that wealth level, as well as bolstering your population without the need to add jobs for them.

All workplaces have maximum jobs per wealth level and minimum jobs overall. Unfilled jobs that do not push the workplace below minimum jobs are fine! Example, a T1 HD industry building has 1400 LW, 200 MW, and 20 HW jobs. It functions fine with just 800 LW workers.

A common concern that gets raised about underemployment is workplace balancing. It is feared that one workplace will fill completely and leave insufficient workers for other workplaces. This fear is unfounded. This blog entry describes a two pass system. First workers go to the closest workplace, then workers above the minimum will leave that workplace and find another which is below its minimum.

Sum up:

  • Unfilled jobs, no downside as long as you don't go below minimum jobs overall (~60%?). Upside is more taxes per filled job seat.
  • Unemployment, no downside until over 5%, 30%, 50%+ for LW, MW, HW respectively. Upside is more students, shoppers and tax per employed worker.

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