The article deals with the relation between unemployment and health problems using as a case a local support project for long-term unemployed in northern Finland. Mass unemployment has increased competition on the labor market, and successful job-seekers must have a wider range of qualifications than before. As demands have intensified on the labor market, health has become a salient criterion in the recruitment process. At the same time the incidence of illness among long-term unemployed is surprisingly high. The situations of the project clients strongly indicate that health-related difficulties are one distinct risk factor for the long-term unemployed in finding work. We need new means for health promotion, more extensive psychosocial rehabilitation and local solutions for people who are unemployed.