Journal of Economics and Business

ISSN 2615-3726 (Online)

ISSN 2621-5667 (Print)

Published: 05 October 2020

Unemployment and Midlife Suicide Rates in Australia, 2001-2015: Implications During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Louise Rawlings, Pauline O’Shaughnessy, Jeffrey C. L. Looi, Stephen J. Robson

Australian National University (Australia), University of Wollongong (Australia)

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Pages: 1209-1228

Keywords: Labour, Suicide, Socioeconomic, Regression, COVID-19


The world is experiencing a massive economic shock from the COVID-19 pandemic. Resulting unemployment and socioeconomic disruption have the potential to lead to a major upswing in the population rate of suicide in Europe and elsewhere. We assessed the association between midlife suicide rates and unemployment for Australia. For the midlife group we found a rapid decrease in the rate from 1970s to 1980s, but a more apparent increase after 2007. The increased male suicide rate coincided with the 2008 global financial crisis. The relationship between worsening employment outcomes, including suicide, is a great tragedy and deserves urgent further investigation.


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