Record Levels of US Unemployment and the Health Impacts of Poverty and Job Loss

The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending April 4 was 11,976,000, an increase of 4,530,000 from the previous week’s revised level. This marks the highest level of seasonally adjusted insured unemployment in the history of the seasonally adjusted series.

22 million have filed for unemployment. The number working or seeking work in January was almost 165 million and there were 5.9 million looking for work in January. We are now up to about 27.9 people who are not working but not all are officially insured unemployed.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 8.2 percent for the week ending April 4, an increase of 3.1 percentage points from the previous week’s unrevised rate. This marks the highest level of the seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate in the history of the seasonally adjusted series. The previous high was 7.0 percent in May of 1975.

US unemployment during the Great Depression reached 24 percent.

1% increase in unemployment rate is associated with a 3.3% increase in drug overdose deaths and a 0.78% increase in suicides. There is also increased alcohol abuse.

The suicide rate rose from about 12 per 100,000 before the Depression to a record high of 21.9 per 100,000 people in 1932, in the depth of the Great Depression. The US suicide rate was already at about 14-15 per 100,000 before the coronavirus. The US could see an increase in suicides of about 20,000-50,000.

The increase in drug and alcohol deaths could be double to triple suicide deaths.

SOURCES- Dept of Labor, Psychology Today
Written by Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com

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