Impact of the Global Economic Crisis on the Health of Unemployed Autoworkers

Wally Joseph Bartfay, Emma Bartfay, Terry Wu


A phenomenological investigation was undertaken to examine the effects of the 2008-09 global economic recession on the health of unemployed blue-collar autoworkers in the Canadian province of Ontario between September and November 2009. A total of 22 men and 12 women took part. Participants completed a quantitative demographic and financial questionnaire. The qualitative aspect of the study consisted of a phenomenological component comprising semi-structured focus group sessions lasting 2 to 2.5 hours. The number of years employed ranged from 2 to 31.7 with a mean of 15 ± 8. Participants reported high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression; increased physical pain and discomfort; changes in weight and sexual function; and financial hardships, including inability to purchase prescribed medications. The authors conclude that unemployment associated with the global recession has negative health effects on autoworkers in Ontario.

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