Statistics Detail the Emotional Toll of Unemployment

Ben Casselman of FiveThirtyEight analyzes the results of the latest American Time Use Survey and draws conclusions about the ways unemployment sap Americans. Not only do the unemployed possess a higher risk for depression, obesity, and suicide, they also tend to lead more inert lives than their employed counterparts.

What's the Latest?


The results of the latest American Time Use Survey were released on Wednesday and Ben Casselman of FiveThirtyEight has the scoop. The government's data appears to back up societal estimations regarding the emotional welfare of the unemployed -- notably, that it's a struggle. Not only are the unemployed more at risk for depression, obesity, and suicide, they are also more likely to have relatively inert lifestyles. They spend more time sleeping, watching tv, and playing games while their employed counterparts spend more time socializing and relaxing.

What's the Big Idea?

The unemployed also spend a large chunk of their time trying to become un-unemployed -- about 45 minutes a day on average. This includes time spent applying for new jobs or taking classes in pursuit of a degree or certificate. The statistics also cover the plights of more particular demographics: single mothers, the long-term unemployed, the married. Casselman offers a number of insights on each though his overarching conclusion is that the unemployed struggle to get off the couch -- though that's more a metaphor than literal take.

Read more at FiveThirtyEight

Photo credit: baranq / Shutterstock

Related Articles

Human skeletal stem cells isolated in breakthrough discovery

It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.

Image: Nissim Benvenisty
Surprising Science
  • Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
  • These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
  • The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Keep reading Show less

How exercise helps your gut bacteria

Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.

National Institutes of Health
Surprising Science
  • Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
  • Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
  • Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
Keep reading Show less

Giving octopuses ecstasy reveals surprising link to humans

A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.

Image: damn_unique via Flickr
Surprising Science
  • Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
  • Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
  • Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
Keep reading Show less