Data-Driven Approach for Predicting and Explaining the Risk of Long-Term Unemployment

Linan (Frank) Zhao, F. Wu, Y. Ahn
2020 E3S Web of Conferences  
Long-term unemployment has significant societal impact and is of particular concerns for policymakers with regard to economic growth and public finances. This paper constructs advanced ensemble machine learning models to predict citizens' risks of becoming long-term unemployed using data collected from European public authorities for employment service. The proposed model achieves 81.2% accuracy on identifying citizens with high risks of long-term unemployment. This paper also examines how to
more » ... o examines how to dissect black-box machine learning models by offering explanations at both a local and global level using SHAP, a state-of-the-art model-agnostic approach to explain factors that contribute to long-term unemployment. Lastly, this paper addresses an under-explored question when applying machine learning in the public domain, that is, the inherent bias in model predictions. The results show that popular models such as gradient boosted trees may produce unfair predictions against senior age groups and immigrants. Overall, this paper sheds light on the recent increasing shift for governments to adopt machine learning models to profile and prioritize employment resources to reduce the detrimental effects of long-term unemployment and improve public welfare.
doi:10.1051/e3sconf/202021401023 fatcat:4cjuwzwu3faezk47wpky7tvgle