Number of the Day Shows Jarring Kind of COVID-19 Death
Our take on the most relevant or interesting figure in personal finance today
That’s how many more people in the U.S. are estimated to die over the next 15 years because of pandemic-triggered unemployment, according to a new academic study reflecting the link between joblessness and mortality rates.
The COVID-19 pandemic created an unprecedented “unemployment shock” that translates to a roughly 3% increase in expected mortality rates and a 0.5% drop in expected life expectancy, according to a December study by researchers at Harvard Medical School, Duke University, and Johns Hopkins University. The stress of lost income has historically been linked to higher suicide rates and cardiovascular problems, among other things, the authors said.
The researchers predicted that the unemployment shock will be more pronounced for African-Americans than the overall population, perhaps because persistent unemployment is more of a problem after a shock for that demographic.
COVID-19 lockdowns pushed the U.S. unemployment rate as high as 14.7% in April, the highest it has been since data collection started in 1948, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While it has declined since then, November’s 6.7% rate is still almost double what it was before the pandemic began.