Economic Activity

Health Impacts

"Being in good employment is protective of health. Conversely, unemployment contributes to poor health.” Marmot Review 2010

Employment is a wider determinant of health and impacts both individuals, families and communities.   Good employment can provide income for essential everyday living and social activities, identity, belonging, drives social status and mental wellbeing.

Unemployment is often linked to poor health outcomes and is associated with increased risk of mortality and morbidity, including limiting illness, cardiovascular disease, poor mental health and suicide.  Social isolation may also be a factor triggered through unemployment.

75.4% of Sandwell working age population that are economically active (aged 16-64)

71% are in employment (GB 75.4%, WM 73.8%).

5.6% are unemployed (WM 4.6%; GB 4.1%).

This is a decreasing trend and is the lowest recorded since 2004.   For April 2017 – March 2018 the unemployment rate was estimated to be 7.6%.


24.6% of Sandwell working age population that are economically in-active (aged 16-64)

Compared to the West Midlands and Great Britain, Sandwell has lower proportions of inactivity due to being in education but higher proportions of inactivity due to long term illnesses or individuals looking after the home/family.

25.5% are out of work due to long term sickness. (WM 22.4%; GB 22.9%)

31.3% are out of work as they are looking after the family/home (WM 25.3%; GB 23.6%)

23.5% are out of work are students.  (WM 28.2%; GB 26.8%)


Guidance & Useful Documents

Health, Work and Health Related Worklessness - A guide for Local Authorities

This briefing provides an overview of the current debate on work, worklessness and health, with an emphasis on the evidence base and case studies to enable a better understanding of the subject matter and how to promote this agenda Local Authorities.

The focus is on employed individuals with health conditions falling out of work and onto out-of-work welfare, and those on welfare with health conditions who are not in employment.

Local action on health inequalities: Increasing employment opportunities and improving workplace health.

This is an evidence review commissioned by PHE and researched, analysed and written by the UCL Institute of Health Equity.


Further information:

Ethnicity; Economic Activity and General Health - 2011 Census