Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Unemployment creates a vicious circle

A reader sent me a US article about the best way to alleviate poverty in the US. Unsurprisingly it concludes that work is the best strategy. But I particularly appreciated this statement:

" is more than just a means of income generation. Work also provides adults and their families with a time structure, a source of status and identity, a means of participating in a collective purpose, and opportunity for social engagement outside family life.  A host of studies have connected joblessness to increased risk of family destabilization, suicide, alcohol abuse, and disease incidence, as well as reduced lifespan. Several large reviews of research conclude that unemployment not only reduces physical but also psychological well-being."

Although the paper does not make a direct connection, the graph below highlights this. Percentage-wise, people not working due to illness and disability has quadrupled since 1969.

Being unemployed makes people psychologically unwell. The same pattern has occurred in New Zealand. This problem is not going away. In fact it is worsening. The number of people who relay on welfare for the reasons of psychiatric or psychological incapacity - the primary reason for being on the Supported Living Payment - have risen from 51,000 to 55,000 since 2011.

Unemployment creates a vicious circle.It can ultimately make people unemployable.

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