Americans who are employed full time or voluntarily part time enjoy better physical health than those who are unemployed or have less work than they would like. However, those who are not in the workforce at all report the worst health. Employed Americans have a score of 81.4 on the Gallup-Healthways Physical Health Index, compared with 76.1 among those who are employed part time but seeking full-time work, 75.2 for those who are unemployed, and 68.8 for those who are not in the workforce.
Employed Americans in every age group report better physical health than do those who are underemployed or those who are not in the workforce, particularly among those between the ages of 30 and 64.
Those not in the workforce — meaning they are not employed and not actively seeking employment — have the worst physical health overall. While this is partly due to most of these individuals being of retirement age, even among seniors, those who are working report better health than their counterparts who are not. This pattern holds among those between the ages of 30 and 44 as well as those aged 45 to 64, and may be, in part, due to those who have lost or cannot hold work due to poor health and have now stopped seeking employment.