Recessions, job loss, and mortality among older US adults

TitleRecessions, job loss, and mortality among older US adults
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsNoelke, C, Beckfield, J
JournalAmerican journal of public health
KeywordsEmployment and Labor Force, Health Conditions and Status, Public Policy

OBJECTIVES: We analyzed how recessions and job loss jointly shape mortality risks among older US adults. METHODS: We used data for 50 states from the Health and Retirement Study and selected individuals who were employed at ages 45 to 66 years during 1992 to 2011. We assessed whether job loss affects mortality risks, whether recessions moderate the effect of job loss on mortality, and whether individuals who do and do not experience job loss are differentially affected by recessions. RESULTS: Compared with individuals not experiencing job loss, mortality risks among individuals losing their job in a recession were strongly elevated (hazard ratio = 1.6; 95 confidence interval = 1.1, 2.3). Job loss during normal times or booms is not associated with mortality. For employed workers, we found a reduction in mortality risks if local labor market conditions were depressed, but this result was not consistent across different model specifications. CONCLUSIONS: Recessions increase mortality risks among older US adults who experience job loss. Health professionals and policymakers should target resources to this group during recessions. Future research should clarify which health conditions are affected by job loss during recessions and whether access to health care following job loss moderates this relation.


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Endnote Keywords

Job Loss/labor Force Participation/recessions/mortality risk/mortality risk/Unemployment

Endnote ID


Citation Key8121