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Employment Stability and Economic Opportunity

Limited community economic opportunities and a high unemployment rate are risk factors for all five of NC’s prioritized violence outcomes. What’s more, stable employment, at the individual level, may play an important role in reducing the economic-related, family and relationship stress believed to predicate some forms of violence against children and intimate partners. Diminished economic opportunities and high unemployment not only reduce the potential for individual stable employment, but are also linked to greater community disorganization and lower social cohesion and trust. Researchers at Duke University have also linked community economic downturns to youth educational achievement and youth suicidal ideation and attempts.

Strategies to increase employment stability and opportunities vary widely. They range from sector-specific job training and literacy programs to tax policy to encourage job growth to enhanced family leave policies and public-private partnerships. They also encompass procedures and policies designed to increase access to higher education, which in turn prepares individuals for more stable employment.

At every step in the process of developing and implementing a strategy to increase employment stability and economic opportunity it is critical to assess whether the program will reinforce existing health disparities. Programs that specifically seek to support opportunity among disproportionately affected or marginalized groups should be prioritized.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Suicide Prevention Resource Center, U.S. DHHS Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention