This article examines non-financial employment motivation and mental well-being among people in different labour market situations, such as unemployment, stimulating employment or instrumental employment, and controls for the possibility that variations in motivation and well-being are either caused by present labour market status or are the result of a selection process. The article is based on a panel study of 1,782 Swedes who were interviewed at the beginning of 1996, when all were unemployed, and then again at the end of 1997, when the labour market situation had changed for some of them. The results show that, in 1997, the unemployed had the same level of employment commitment as individuals with instrumental jobs, but as compared to people with stimulating jobs, their non-financial employment motivation was weaker. In general, the unemployed report poorer mental well-being than the employed. Results support the hypothesis that the substantial changes in employment commitment and mental health observed between 1996 and 1997 are primarily due to the labour market situation in 1997. The results refute the notion that the level of employment motivation is a major determinant of the likelihood of getting a paid job.