Unemployment and Death

David Flattum by e-mail points out that in the movie “The Big Short”, it is said that each 1% rise in the unemployment rate is associated with 40,000 deaths. Another anonymous e-mailer suggests that the government authors of shutdowns be held accountable by international tribunals for the deaths they cause.

These comments motivate a brief look at unemployment and death. To that end, a search is conducted using Duckduckgo on “unemployment relation to death”. The first article dated Feb. 13, 2015 reports on a study of the 2008 recession:

“The analysis, carried out by Carlos Nordt and colleagues at the University of Zurich, explored the link between increases in rates of unemployment and suicide. They attribute 45,000 – or one in five – suicides a year worldwide to unemployment, with a further 5,000 deaths caused by the economic crisis.”

The suicide numbers across 63 countries rival those from this new virus:

“The researchers found that there had been an increase in the relative risk of suicide associated with unemployment across all regions of 20% to 30%. There were an estimated 233,000 suicides a year between 2000-11, of which around 45,000 could be attributed to unemployment. In 2007, the year before the crash, there were 41,148 identified cases of suicide. In 2009, this number had risen to 46,131 – an increase of 4,983 or 12%.”

The next article dates from May 23, 2002: “Rising unemployment causes higher death rates, Yale researcher shows”. An epidemiologist conducted this study, and it encompassed advanced economies like America’s:

“Employment is the essential element of social status and it establishes a person as a contributing member of society and also has very important implications for self-esteem,” said Brenner. “When that is taken away, people become susceptible to depression, cardiovascular disease, AIDS and many other illnesses that increase mortality.”

The third article is an NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology) article. The NCBI is a branch of the NIH (National Institute of Health). This article dates from Aug. 26, 2014. It’s titled “What is the effect of unemployment on all-cause mortality? A cohort study using propensity score matching”.

“Unemployment was associated with a significant all-cause mortality risk relative to employment for men… This effect was robust to controlling for prior health and socio-demographic characteristics. Effects for women were smaller and statistically insignificant…

“For men, the findings support the notion that the often observed association between unemployment and mortality may contain a significant causal component though for women there is less support for this conclusion. However, female employment status, as recorded in the census, is more complex than for men and may have served to under-estimate any mortality effect of unemployment.”

Conclusion of this blog: It would be highly irresponsible for American governments at all levels to ignore the established knowledge of a positive link between unemployment and mortality. Those who keep insisting on policies like lockdowns and other arbitrary rules that have caused immense unemployment need to change their policies now and change quickly. Otherwise, they will have a great deal to answer for, namely, excess deaths caused by the policies causing unemployment.


2:10 pm on May 6, 2020