New Report Details Labor and Economic Impacts of Opioid Crisis

This week, the American Action Forum released a report examining the labor market and economic impacts on the nationwide opioid epidemic. The report measures the direct cost on the economy and estimates the number of workers absent from the labor force due to opioids, hours lost at work, and the subsequent decline in real economic output. Notable findings of the report include:

  • In 2015, nearly 1 million Americans were not in the labor force due to opioids
  • Between 1999 and 2015, the decline in labor force participation cumulatively cost the economy 12.1 billion work hours
  • Between 1999 and 2015, the reduction in work hours and labor participation decreased the real annual economic growth rate by 0.2 percentage points, cumulatively costing $702.1 billion, or approximately $44 billion each year, in real economic output

The report explores data and impacts on the overall U.S. economy and suggests that policymakers address the opioid epidemic when considering ways to grow the economy and boost the labor supply. The full report is available here.