Click to follow
The Independent Online
The number of people with long-term illnesses increases sharply as unemployment rises because the long-term sick find it difficult to get back into work when there are few jobs around. The rates are exacerbated among the lowest social classes whereas the professional and managerial classes remain relatively unscathed.

A study in the British Medical Journal of men aged between 20 and 59 over a 20-year period found that when unemployment was low, nearly all men with chronic diseases continued to work. But during the 1980s recession, the impact of unemployment fell disproportionately on low-skilled manual workers.