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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Business-cycle influences on work-related disability in construction and manufacturing

  • Author(s): Robinson, James C
  • Shor, Glenn M
  • et al.

Business-cycle upswings generate increased hiring of inexperienced workers and speedups in production methods. The upswings, however, are also associated with sharp increases in disabling work-related injury rates. Data from California for the years from 1953 to 1985 demonstrate the cyclical sensitivity of five types of disabling occupational injuries, fatalities, and acute occupational illnesses to cyclical economic fluctuations. Public policy toward work-related disability needs to focus on macroeconomic determinants of employment and unemployment patterns, as well as on improved safety training programs and worker participation in shop-floor decision making.

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