The Long-Term Effects of Job Loss

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    Effects of Job Loss on the Individual

    • Unemployed individuals suffer both economically and psychologically. Those who have lost a job have significantly poorer mental health, lower life satisfaction, less family and marital satisfaction and poorer physical health. These effects impact men even more than women, as men often identify themselves with their careers and financial success more than they identify themselves as being a successful husband or parent. The unemployed and underemployed are more likely to divorce and less likely to marry. The majority of unemployed who do find a job experience a decline in income of upwards of 14 percent, although they are now re-employed. Financial problems have been shown to cause increased divorce rates and incidences of child abuse.

    Effects of Job Loss on the Family

    • Families suffer financially regardless of which parent becomes unemployed. A study by the Society for Study of Psychological Issues on Society found that the family suffers even more when the husband or father loses his job. Men historically became more irritable and tense with more angry outbursts. Children in these families were more prone to tantrums, hypersensitivity and negativism. Single mothers who were unemployed were found to punish their children more often and to have greatly increased symptoms of depression.

    Effects of Large-Scale Layoffs on the Community

    • While individuals and families struggle through the economic and emotional crises of job loss, the community suffers along with them. High unemployment in a community is associated with neighborhood decline. Neighborhoods become impoverished, the availability of recreational activities decreases and funding for public schools drops with the community's inability to fund them with a proper tax base. Community safety and the overall feeling of community have also been shown to decline with the advent of mass unemployment. As these communities lose industry and overall lifestyle declines, the ability to attract new industry can also decline.


    • Individuals and families who are experiencing the effects of long-term and even short-term unemployment can seek help. Government programs like the unemployment insurance program (UI), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and some training and education programs for the unemployed can help. Not everyone qualifies for these programs, but they are certainly worth checking out if you are experiencing job loss. The Consumer Credit Counseling Program can help families effectively deal with credit card and other debts by providing free counseling and referral for bankruptcy.

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