The opioid crisis has major costs for the U.S. economy, including the labor market, David Mericle, senior U.S. economist at Goldman Sachs, said in a Wednesday note.
The report is one of the first from a major Wall Street bank focused on the growing epidemic killing more than 90 Americans every day.
"The opioid epidemic is intertwined with the story of declining prime-age participation, especially for men, and this reinforces our doubts about a rebound in the participation rate," Mericle said.
The labor force participation rate, the number of people working or actively looking for work, has fallen since the Great Recession and has stagnated near 63 percent for the last four years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This stagnation comes despite monthly jobs reports, such as the one due Friday, showing a steady pace of job creation and a decline in unemployment.
It's a been a puzzle for economists: Why aren't more people actively looking for work again with the job market so strong? Part of the answer may be opioid addiction, the Goldman report suggests.