Jan 1, 2018
Back in September, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland released a report on the opioid epidemic and the labor market.
The bank looked at trends in overdose deaths and drug use to document how the opioid epidemic has spread across the United States. Officials found that rising overdose death rates are getting worse and “could be large enough to have an impact on the labor force.”
In 2016, more than 64,000 overdose deaths were reported. It’s a grim trend that outpaced traffic deaths and suicides, with most of the increase after 2010, which can be attributed to opioids.
Latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate, the number of fatal overdoses from drugs or alcohol in the workplace increased 32 percent to 217 in 2016 from 165 in 2015. While that number may seem small, it’s growing evidence the opioid crisis has now invaded the workplace.
Overdoses from the non-medical use of drugs or alcohol while on the job increased from 165 in 2015 to 217 in 2016, a 32-percent increase. Overdose fatalities have increased by at least 25 percent annually since 2012.
Data on the overdose deaths paints a grim reality of how the opioid crisis is fracturing the American empire from within. The Atlanticprovides an explanation of how the labor market is shifting in accordance with the crisis:
Over the past few years, economists have struggled to explain why so many people appear to be dropping out of the workforce. The most telling measure of that is the labor-force participation rate—which measures the percentage of the population that is employed or actively looking for work—which now sits around 62.7 percent. That’s low by historical standards. For example, between 1986 and 2001, labor-force participation grew fairly steadily, to between 65 and 67 percent.
There are many theories about why this figure has been declining in the past decade…