Weak labor markets typically lead young workers to invest in skills. High unemployment during COVID diverged from prior downturns: enrollment at community colleges dropped by 9.5 percent between 2019 and 2020, with the drop larger among men. COVID disruptions generated supply-side impacts on courses of study requiring significant capital and “hands on” experiential learning, particularly programs that deliver assembly, repair and maintenance (ARM) skills. Community colleges that had relative concentrations of credentials in ARM fields pre-pandemic experienced relatively large enrollment declines. The decline in ARM enrollment explains about one quarter of the overall community college enrollment decline, and nearly all the difference in enrollment declines by gender during COVID.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Economics and Econometrics