Background: In 1996, the number of persons newly infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the US was estimated to be 36 000. As a chronic disease that primarily affects younger persons, hepatitis C has the potential to influence employment considerably. Objective: To estimate employment effects associated with hepatitis C morbidity. Design: An economic model of labour supply, which used the outcome measure workforce participation (yes/no), was applied. Study participants: The study samples (by gender) were comprised of persons 18-65 years of age, with and without serological evidence of HCV infection, and with normal or elevated levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III from 1988-1994. Results: After controlling for the potential confounding effects of demographic, social, and economic factors, positive HCV status/normal ALT level in males was associated with a 10.7% reduction in labour force participation (when compared with negative HCV status). Positive HCV status and elevated ALT levels was associated with a 17.5% reduction in employment. The results for females were not statistically significant. Conclusions: Nationally, the employment response for HCV-positive status and elevated ALT levels translates into an excess non-employment of 48 000 males annually.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health