I am unemployed by any definition of the term. I am not presently working, and I have been actively seeking work; and, in fact, I still am.
My teaching contract at The University of Regina ended in December, and I have written to all the post-secondary education institutions in my home area letting them know of my availability. I am willing, able, and eager to accept another job (in this geographic area) teaching economics at a post-secondary institution.
As a result of my currently being unemployed, I applied for what is known as "employment insurance" benefits [EI]. After some confusion on my part, since I've never done this before, I started receiving the benefits this week.
Several of my friends are aghast that I would do this. They know I have a decent pension, having taught at The University of Western Ontario for 40 years, and they know I don't really need the money to survive.
What my friends are really telling me is that those who have the foresight to save for contingencies should NOT receive unemployment benefits (my pension is entirely derived from savings, analogous to IRAs in the US or RRSPs in Canada). If I hadn't saved and didn't have a pension based on those savings, then I guess it would be okay in their minds for me to receive benefits. Or if I had withdrawn all my pension funds from my savings and spent them on something frivolous, I guess my resulting destitute state would justify (in their minds) receiving EI benefits. In other words, it is my having been frugal in the past that would disqualify me, in their minds, from receiving EI benefits now.
What kind of incentives does this view generate? It tells everyone that if you save, you get taxed, but if you don't save then other taxpayers will be required to bail you out. It reminds of the fable of the ant and the grasshopper.