Workers invest in education during economic downturns, study shows

Dive Brief:

  • For every hundred workers laid off during economic recessions, researchers estimate that enrollment in two-year college programs increases by three students and completions of “career-technical programs” increase as well, according to the findings of a study published Oct. 1 in the MIT Education and Finance Policy journal.
  • The rise in enrollment accounts for half of the increase in labor force nonparticipation after widespread layoffs, the researchers said. 
  • Those who pursue education under these circumstances lean toward shorter degree programs or certificates and generally pursue programs with higher expected labor market returns, though results may vary, according to the study.

Dive Insight:

The study’s findings highlight the importance of education and retraining during this major shake up in the labor market. Moreover, organizations that invest in continuous development, or even education as an outplacement benefit, may help workers avoid lengthy terms of unemployment or at least smoothly transition

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