Bringing the Economy Home

Understanding The Impact Of Unemployment

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

An unemployed financial engineer peddled for a job on the street in New York City.

Joblessness has long-lasting effects.  It’s a troubling fact, and one that has received particular attention in this downturn, during which the average length of unemployment has surpassed all earlier records.

Here at StateImpact Idaho, we’ve touched on the effects of unemployment on long-term earnings prospects through our Jobless in Idaho reporting.

Given that focus, this post on The New York Times Economix blog caught our eye this week.  Reporter Binyamin Appelbaum takes a look at the “wave of research” dedicated to understanding the effects of unemployment.  A warning: the results are grim.  Take this example:

Studies show that people who can’t find work become more likely as time marches on to suffer from depression and other health problems, according to a 2005 literature review by professors at Oregon State University.

A 2010 Pew survey on the experience of long-term unemployment was aptly entitled, “Lost Income, Lost Friends – and Loss of Self-Respect.” — The New York Times

It’s an interesting read, and a reminder that — even as the unemployment rate ticks downward — plenty of people remain jobless.  For them, the challenges only compound with time.


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