Of the research on health and economic stress, the approach that has produced the strongest findings has been the aggregate time-series analysis of unemployment and suicide rates. A review of the literature indicates that this aggregate work has been disputed on both methodological and interpretive grounds. To address these issues, two studies of the relationship between economic stress and suicide were conducted on the same population. The first, reported in this paper (Part 1), replicated the aggregate time-series work with improvements in method, using monthly data for 1975-1982 for Los Angeles. A second study (reported in Part 2) combined aggregate economic indicators with individual-level measures of stressful events, symptoms, and suicidal ideation.