Job Security and Health Outcomes in the United States

Sarah A. Burgard, University of Michigan
Jennie E. Brand, University of Michigan

Empirical evidence has shown that job insecurity and unemployment are hazardous to an individual’s health. Job security appears to have declined in the United States in recent decades, and there is some evidence that differences in beliefs about job loss across subgroups of workers in the 1990s accurately reflected their relative likelihoods of involuntary job loss. In this study, we focus on the relative impacts of perceived and actual job insecurity on the health of U.S. workers. We use data from two longitudinal studies to (1) Assess the relationship between perceived risk of job loss and actual incidence of job loss, and examine the distribution of each, (2) Examine the effects of both job insecurity and actual involuntary employment termination on health outcomes, and (3) Explore some of the possible mechanisms for the relationship between job insecurity and physical and mental health.

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Presented in Session 86: Social Inequality and Health