Great News About Oregon's Unemployment Rate

There is a silver lining in our economic cloud.

Yesterday's Oregonian reported an inverse relationship between employment and mortality. Professor Christopher Ruhm at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro found that for each 1% increase in the unemployment rate, there is a 1/2% decrease in the mortality rate.

So, in just the last year alone, the 6.5% increase in our unemployment rate has saved lives right here in Oregon.

According to Ruhm's study, this increase should correlate to a 3.25% decrease in our death rate, which was around 775 people per 100,000 in 2006. 3.25% x 775 = 25.1875, reducing our mortality rate to around 750 people per 100,000. With a population of 3,747,455, this means 925 lives were saved!

Or, looking at it another way, each 1% increase in the unemployment rate saves 142 lives!