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What the quality of work means for our health. 2020. https// (accessed 31 October 2023)

Unemployment and mental health. 2021. https// (accessed 31 October 2023)

Why work matters

09 November 2023
Volume 32 · Issue 20

Work can have a positive impact on health. It brings with it not only financial stability, but also personal contentment; it provides social connections as well as opportunities for growth and development. The relationship between health and work is complex – work affects health and health affects work (Public Health England (PHE), 2019).

Unemployed people are more than five times as likely to have poor health as employees. Only 33% of unemployed people reported their health as either ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’, compared with 48% of people in employment (Tinson, 2020). Unemployment can be defined as a situation where people of working age are without a job, but would like to be in employment. A local area's employment rate is correlated to life expectancy (how long people are likely to live) and healthy life expectancy (how many years they can expect to live, enjoying good health). In those places with higher economic inactivity (less affluence), people are more likely to have a lower healthy life expectancy.

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