06/02/2010 04:59 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Unemployment May Be Contagious, Study Finds Link To Friendships

If you're unemployed, and your friends are also unemployed, here's the first step to finding a job: find new friends.

According to a study (hat tip to New York Times's Economix blog), unemployed people are typically less unhappy and less motivated to find work if their friends are also unemployed.

The study from the World Bank, based on British data, is titled, "Can Subjective Well-Being Predict Unemployment Length?" The answer to this question, the study concludes, is yes:

"Upon losing their job, people self-report a drop in their subjective well-being. This drop depends on how many others around are unemployed, and it also affects their search behaviour. When those around are jobless, being unemployed hurts less and the job search effort is less intensive. Hence the rate of return to work is also lower."

The study seems to suggest that unemployed people should seek to maintain a certain level of distress to fuel their drive to find work. As cold as it sounds -- considering the average U.S. jobless period is currently the longest it's been since the government began collecting such data in 1948 -- maybe it's worth a try.

READ the study:

Can Subjective Well-Being Predict Unemployment Length