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Employment and unemployment
Unemployment has consistently been found to have a negative impact on health in a variety of ways.

Key stats

5.1 years
is the average increase in men's healthy life expectancy for every 10-percentage-point increase in their area's employment rate.
of adults are unemployed and 5.2% are underemployed.
1.5 million
adults are unemployed for the first time since 2016.

Unemployment is defined as wanting but lacking paid employment, and is normally measured by whether a person is actively seeking and available for work. Unemployment has consistently been found to have a negative impact on health in a variety of ways. Reviews have found links between unemployment and poor self-rated health, with a greater impact on men and people who are unemployed due to health problems, and reduced impact of people with strong social networks. There are similar relationships with poorer mental health, including depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. 

These charts explore the relationship between employment and health, as well as trends and inequalities in employment.

Relationship between employment and health

Trends and inequalities in employment

Explore other subtopics within Work
Job quality
Not all work helps to protect people's health. Some evidence shows that poor-quality employment is as bad for health as unemployment.
Job security
This relates to confidence in the continued existence of a job or hours of work

Explore the topics

Local authority dashboard
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Health inequalities

Money and resources
Poverty | Income | Debt

Quality | Unemployment | Security

Affordability | Quality | Stability | Security

Active travel | Social exclusion | Trends

Family, friends and community
Personal relationships | Community cohesion

This is part of Evidence hub: What drives health inequalities?

Data, insights and analysis exploring how the circumstances in which we live shape our health
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