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American Men Too Doped to Work

Friday, September 8, 2017 5:18
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A survey of the national labor participation rate reveals that massive jumps in opioid prescription rates across the U.S. are  responsible for the a growing number of men eschewing employment during their prime working years.

The research, produced by Princeton University economist Peter Krueger, found a correlation between a 20 percent drop in the nation’s labor participation rate and rising rates of opioid dependency.

“Labor force participation has fallen more in areas where relatively more opioid pain medication is prescribed, causing the problem of depressed labor force participation and the opioid crisis to become intertwined,” Krueger wrote.

The economist found that roughly half of American men who are of prime working age but not employed are using opioid medications.

For economic planners interested in increasing the nation’s labor participation rate, the former top Treasury economist suggests a closer look at American opioid use is in order.

From his report:

Evidence presented here suggests that much of the regional variation in opioid prescription rates across the U.S. is due to differences in medical practices, rather than varying health conditions that generate pain.

Furthermore, labor force participation is lower and fell more in the 2000s in areas of the U.S. that have a higher volume of opioid medication prescribed per capita than in other areas.

Although some obvious suspects can be ruled out – for example, areas with high opioid prescription rates do not appear to be only masking historical manufacturing strongholds that subsequently fell on hard times – it is unclear whether other factors underlying low labor force participation could have caused the high prescription rates of opioids in certain counties.

Regardless of the direction of causality, the opioid crisis and depressed labor force participation are now intertwined in many parts of the U.S. And despite the massive rise in opioid prescriptions in the 2000s, there is no evidence that the incidence of pain has declined; in fact, the results presented here suggest a small upward trend in the incidence of pain for prime age NLF and unemployed men.

Addressing the opioid crisis could help support efforts to raise labor force participation and prevent it from falling further.

America’s overall labor force participation rate is currently 62.9 percent. It remains unchanged from three years ago, and is expected to remain well below the 67 percent routine in the 1990s.

The post American men too doped to work appeared first on Personal Liberty®.


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