Can Being Laid Off Really Make You Better Off?

Researchers found axed Boeing workers healthier than those left behind

By Michelle Conlin


As the Great Recession continues to devour jobs at an alarming rate, tales are legion about the millions of unemployed struggling to right their lives and recover their self-esteem. But what happens to those left behind?

Would it surprise you to learn that survivors can suffer just as much, if not more, than colleagues who get laid off? It certainly surprised a team of academic researchers who embedded themselves at Boeing from 1996 to 2006, a tumultuous decade during which the company laid off tens of thousands. The results of the study will appear next year in a Yale University Press book called "Turbulence: Boeing and the State of American Workers and Managers."