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Unemployment and Health

Therman E. Evans, MD
JAMA. 1977;237(18):1965. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270450055024.
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Most people do not make any connection between unemployment and health. Jobs, unemployment, inflation, recession, and depression are all terms that have to do with the Departments of Labor and Commerce and the discipline of economics. They are, it is thought, separate from health, illness, disease, hospitalization, and the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Rarely, it seems, are these two areas connected in public debate, legislative discussions, or executive deliberations.

Recently in suggesting solutions, economists, have repeatedly expounded on overall unemployment rates of 7%, 8%, and 9%, and black unemployment rates of 14%, 16%, and 18%. They have intellectualized on inflation, recession, depression, and occasionally, on recovery. All of the high-powered discussions on various economic and labor-market theories somehow seem to avoid the reality of human suffering that is associated with being unemployed. What is the association between unemployment and other sociological problems? What form do these problems take?


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