Objectives: This study estimated the effects of changes in unemployment rates of occupation groups on changes in mortality in a period of increasing unemployment.
Methods: Census records for all 20- to 64-year-old economically active Finnish men in 1985 were linked to information on unemployment and deaths in 1987 through 1993.
Results: Change in mortality was similar in occupation groups in which unemployment rates increased at a different pace. These relationships were similar for all age groups and for mortality from diseases as well as accidents and violence.
Conclusions: Unemployment does not seem to cause mortality in the short term. Excess mortality rates among unemployed individuals observed in previous studies may have been due in part to selection.