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The labor force and output consequences of the opioid crisis

Alternate Title: 
Labor force and output consequences of the opioid crisis
Date Added to Library: 
Sunday, September 29, 2019 - 13:18
Individual Author: 
Gitis, Ben
Soto, Isabel
Reference Type: 
Published Date: 
Published Date (Date): 
Tuesday, March 27, 2018

This study examines the labor market and economic consequences of the opioid crisis. While previous studies have estimated economic costs of the opioid epidemic, none has taken into account the most significant way opioid dependency is likely impacting the U.S. economy: its impact on labor force participation. This study measures the direct cost on the economy of opioids leading workers out of the labor force. Specifically, it estimates the number of workers who are absent from the labor force due to opioids, the loss of hours at work, and the resulting decline in real output. It finds: 

  • In 2015, 919,400 prime-age individuals were not in the labor force due to opioids;
  • Between 1999 and 2015, the decline in labor force participation cumulatively cost the economy 12.1 billion work hours; and
  • During that period, the reduction in work hours slowed the real annual economic growth rate by 0.2 percentage points, cumulatively costing $702.1 billion in real output. (Author executive summary)
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