Unemployment, Bankruptcies, and Deaths from Multiple Causes in the COVID-19 Recession Compared with the 2000-2018 Great Recession Impact

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Abstract

Objectives. To determine whether unemployment and bankruptcy rates are related to increased excess deaths during the COVID-19 recession and to examine whether the current recession-based mortality rate not only is dependent on COVID-19 but also continues the pattern of recessions, especially the Great Recession, in relation to chronic disease mortality rates and mental health disturbances (e.g., including suicide) from 2000 to 2018. Methods. This study used pooled cross-sectional time series analysis to determine the impact of unemployment and bankruptcy rates on excess deaths from February to November 2020 for US states. The study used a second pooled cross-sectional time series analysis to determine whether the COVID-19- era recessional mortality continues the impact of prepandemic recessions (2000-2018) on multiple causes of mortality. Results. Ten percent unemployment was associated with approximately 48 149 excess deaths, while, jointly with bankruptcies, their combined effect produced 35 700 and 144 483 excess deaths, for unemployment and bankruptcies, respectively. These health-damaging COVID-19-recessional findings suggest a reiteration of the significantly increased major cause-specific mortality during 2000 to 2018, mitigated by the size of the health care workforce. Conclusions. Minimization of deaths attributable to the COVID-19 recession requires ample funding for the unemployed and underemployed, especially Black and Hispanic communities, along with significant investments in the health workforce.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1950-1959
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Volume111
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2021

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