Background The majority of research exploring the impact of deindustrialisation on health is centred on industrial employees. This study explores this association even further. It compares population groups engaged in industries and services and takes into account their occupational transition: unemployment, inactivity and re-employment. The current study assesses the self-rated health and limiting long term illness (LLTI) of industrial and service sector employees who became unemployed and inactive, in comparison to employees still working in similar industries and services, and those reabsorbed in other sectors of the economy.
Methods The data was derived from the Scottish Longitudinal Study (SLS), a census based study representing 5.3% of the Scottish population in the years between 1991 and 2001. The sample included the employed population in the industrial and services sector aged 20–54 in the year 1991 followed up in the year 2001. The service sector was divided between high-paid and low-paid jobs. Overall health was measured by two indicators, LLTI and self-reported health. Logistic regression models were conducted in order to examine whether industrial employees were more likely to report overall health deterioration compared to the service sector employees through redundancy and re-employment. The analysis was stratified by gender and accounted for socio-economic and demographic circumstances together with pre-existing LLTI.
Results The main sample comprised of 63,150 individuals (52% males and 48% females). The reference group is the employees who remained in manufacturing/mining sector for both census years. Industrial employees transferred to low-paid service jobs report higher probability of not good health (OR 1.26, 95% CI 0.95, 1.66) compared to individuals who continue in manufacturing. Employees who change jobs within the service sector demonstrate the highest likelihood of LLTI (1.51 [1.29, 1.76]). In contrast individuals who change occupation within the industrial sector illustrate lower probability of LLTI (0.98 [0.74, 1.29]). Unemployed from high-paid service jobs (LLTI: 4.46 [3.36, 5.92], Not good health: 5.15 [3.61, 7.34]) and inactive from the industrial sector show more chances of overall health deterioration (LLTI: 17.99 [15.73, 20.58], Not good health: 21.08 [17.70, 25.09]).
Conclusion This study shows that there is an association between health and occupational transition. In addition, unemployment and inactivity do not have the same health effect on employees across sectors.