Poorly compensated employment, unsafe employment and unemployment can all impact a person’s health and well-being. Some people work at jobs with lower wages that can negatively impact living conditions, physical safety hazards that can result in injury, or stress-inducing environments that lead to health problems.  Unemployed individuals, and those with low-paying jobs, who have no health insurance are at greater risk for poor health outcomes than those earning higher wages with health insurance benefits.

Here are six ways that the wrong job or unemployment can impact health:


1. Lower wages affect the choice of good housing options, which may in turn, impact access to quality education, transportation, healthy foods and healthcare providers.

2. Some workers are exposed to physical risks, such as repetitive movements, chemicals, noise, heat, vibrations and other dangers. Long, nonstandard work shifts also lead to health issues, such as sleep disorders.

3. Job stressors, including work-life balance, insecurity and lack of support, contribute to over-eating or not eating in response to stress, consuming unhealthy foods, skipping meals and neglecting exercise.


1. Unemployment can be a major stressor due to potential debt, lack of security and diminished self-esteem, all of which can contribute to health problems such as high blood pressure, anxiety, depression and migraines.

2. Lack of employment and the loss of benefits may lead to fewer healthcare provider visits and less preventive care.

3. The financial strain of unemployment can place undue stress on relationships and families.

Job training and education are key to higher-wage and safe employment opportunities. To learn more about our IMPACT services, including training, education, and job search and placement assistance, click here.

Sources: “Bad Jobs, Bad Health? How Work and Working Conditions Contribute to Health Disparities.” National Institutes of Health.
“The Relationship Between Work and Health: Findings from a Literature Review.” Kaiser Family Foundation.

About Economic Security

Economic security plays a pivotal role in our overall health and well-being. When we have access to the things we need to survive—food, shelter, health care, clothing—our opportunities for growth and development are far greater. Yet, if we struggle to afford life’s most basic needs, we often have to make trade-offs. These trade-offs—between food and utilities, for example, can directly and indirectly impact our physical, mental and emotional health. Economic well-being provides a sense of security, satisfaction and fulfillment, and the means to care for ourselves and those around us.