When the price of coal falls we see coal miners significantly increase their applications for unemployment disability insurance. By the way there is a theory that might explain this, but it falls apart when one looks at disability take-up data and finds out that:
Guest: Actually, there are two dimensions to this that are counterintuitive. One is actually there is a very small percentage of people who go on SSDI actually transition from Worker’s Compensation (Worker’s Comp) or acute workplace injury. It’s certainly not, it was never the case and even less the case now that people are getting hurt on the job and going on disability. That’s definitely not occurring. And the other thing, is jobs have gotten safer. They are more sedentary. Medical care has greatly improved. And of course ability to provide so-called workplace accommodations–technology that allows people with work limitations to still be productive on the job. Those things have all improved dramatically in the 50 years since the SSDI program was introduced. Even if population health were holding constant, there ought to be fewer and fewer people who are effectively disabled because of course the types of jobs they need to do require less and less physical capability. So, it is indeed quite surprising from that perspective that we should see an epidemic of disability. And I should say there really is no evidence that there is an overall downward trend in population health. In fact, quite the reverse. Lifespans have increased considerably in the last 50 years. Russ:And quality of life. People have artificial knees, hips. Guest: Exactly.
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