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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Unemployment Bonus

WASHINGTON -- The loss of a job may actually contribute to a healthier, longer life for at least some people, according to Christopher Ruhm, a professor of economics at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Ruhm concluded in a study that higher unemployment may lead to lower overall mortality rates and reduce fatalities from several major causes of death. The findings, published recently by the National Bureau of Economic Research in the United States, run counter to earlier studies showing higher unemployment rates lead to more stress.

Joblessness, for example, may give individuals more time to exercise, to prepare more healthful meals or to schedule medical appointments, according to the study. It looks at state-level data compiled between 1972 and 1991 and suggests that a 1 percentage point rise in the unemployment rate lowers the total death rate by 0.5 percent.