Year: 2022 Source: Journal of Affective Disorders. (2022). Published online 12 March 2022. SIEC No: 20220222

Unemployment is associated with suicide. However, it is unclear whether the influence of unemployment is consistent on suicide across subgroups with different employment status. This study aimed to explore the immediate and delayed association between unemployment and suicide among unemployed and employed people in Hong Kong.
Quarterly statistics on labor force, unemployment rate and suicide count by employment status in Hong Kong (2003–2019) were obtained from the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department and the Coroner’s Court suicide reports. Separate negative binomial autoregressive regressions were used to investigate associations between unemployment and suicide among employed and unemployed people. The models controlled for linear and non-linear time trends, seasonal variations, the number of suicide cases, Consumer Price Index, and gender ratios of the labor force in the previous quarter.
After controlling for all covariates, every 1% increase in the present unemployment rate was associated with a 15% increase in the suicide rate among the employed people in the current quarter (Incidence Rate Ratio (IRR) = 1.14, 95% CI = 1.01–1.28), and a 13% decrease in the suicide rate among the unemployed in the next quarter (IRR = 0.87, 95% CI = 0.78–0.98).