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Article

Public Health Impacts of Underemployment and Unemployment in the United States: Exploring Perceptions, Gaps and Opportunities

1
School of Public Health, University of Illinois Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612, USA
2
Champaign School of Labor and Employment Relations, University of Illinois Urbana, Chicago, IL 60607, USA
3
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, OH 45226, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Sara L. Tamers, L. Casey Chosewood and Jessica Streit
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(19), 10021; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910021
Received: 23 August 2021 / Revised: 14 September 2021 / Accepted: 16 September 2021 / Published: 23 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Worker Safety, Health, and Well-Being in the USA)
Background: Unemployment, underemployment, and the quality of work are national occupational health risk factors that drive critical national problems; however, to date, there have been no systematic efforts to document the public health impact of this situation. Methods: An environmental scan was conducted to explore the root causes and health impacts of underemployment and unemployment and highlight multilevel perspectives and factors in the landscape of underemployment and unemployment. Methods: included a review of gray literature and research literature, followed by key informant interviews with nine organizational representatives in employment research and policy, workforce development, and industry to assess perceived needs and gaps in practice. Results: Evidence highlights the complex nature of underemployment and unemployment, with multiple macro-level underlying drivers, including the changing nature of work, a dynamic labor market, inadequate enforcement of labor protection standards, declining unions, wage depression, and weak political will interacting with multiple social determinants of health. Empirical literature on unemployment and physical, mental, and psychological well-being, substance abuse, depression in young adults, and suicides is quite extensive; however, there are limited data on the impacts of underemployment on worker health and well-being. Additionally, organizations do not routinely consider health outcomes as they relate to their work in workforce or policy development. Discussion and Conclusions: Several gaps in data and research will need to be addressed in order to assess the full magnitude of the public health burden of underemployment and unemployment. Public health needs to champion a research and practice agenda in partnership with multisector stakeholders to illuminate the role of employment quality and status in closing the gap on health inequities, and to integrate workforce health and well-being into labor and economic development agendas across government agencies and industry. View Full-Text
Keywords: underemployment; unemployment; health impacts; public health; decent work; United States underemployment; unemployment; health impacts; public health; decent work; United States
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MDPI and ACS Style

Pratap, P.; Dickson, A.; Love, M.; Zanoni, J.; Donato, C.; Flynn, M.A.; Schulte, P.A. Public Health Impacts of Underemployment and Unemployment in the United States: Exploring Perceptions, Gaps and Opportunities. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 10021. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910021

AMA Style

Pratap P, Dickson A, Love M, Zanoni J, Donato C, Flynn MA, Schulte PA. Public Health Impacts of Underemployment and Unemployment in the United States: Exploring Perceptions, Gaps and Opportunities. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(19):10021. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910021

Chicago/Turabian Style

Pratap, Preethi, Alison Dickson, Marsha Love, Joe Zanoni, Caitlin Donato, Michael A. Flynn, and Paul A. Schulte. 2021. "Public Health Impacts of Underemployment and Unemployment in the United States: Exploring Perceptions, Gaps and Opportunities" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 19: 10021. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910021

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