Alcohol & The Economy

Often in rough times, alcohol become the escape despite the state of the economy. Although the unemployment rate exceeded 9.3% in the first half of 2011, alcohol sales rose by 10% in the same period of time. Many studies have shown that along with an increase in layoffs, bankruptcy and foreclosures, an economic recession brings an increase in alcohol consumption, intoxicated driving and binge drinking.

“It was thought that when unemployment goes up, income goes down and people will consume less because they don’t have the resources,” says study researcher Michael T. French, PhD, a professor of health economics at the University of Miami. “However, people are self-medicating with alcohol,” French says. “If you have more free time, you can engage in activities like drinking more frequently than if you were employed. The self-medication and leisure time effect are dominating the income effect.” Even those who have jobs may become stressed and worried about the potential of losing their job and could potentially use alcohol as a comforting resource.

During rough economic times, it is even more critical for bartenders and servers to apply the Responsibility.Accountability. Principles in their interaction with customers that frequent their bars. With an increase in alcohol consumption at bars, pubs and restaurants, owners and managers are facing a higher risk of an intoxicated patron leaving their establishment. This higher risk can contribute to higher DUIs, drunk driving related accidents and even fatalities. Therefore, bartenders should be properly trained and educated prior to serving the public.

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