Editor’s Picks

46% of Americans Have Lost their Jobs or Experienced Work Reductions Due to Coronavirus: Strada Education Report

By Henry Kronk
April 02, 2020

Nearly half—46%—of Americans say they have lost their jobs, have seen their income diminish, or experienced reductions in their hours as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. That’s according to a nationally representative survey published by the Strada Education Network on April 2.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus hit the U.S., things have changed for Americans on a weekly, if not daily basis. In response to the surging numbers of Americans who have experienced disruptions or lost their jobs, the Strada Education Network has launched a coronavirus “Work and Education Survey.” The research group says they plan to update it weekly with polling results from a nationally representative body of 1,000 Americans.

Read the report here.

Nearly Half Surveyed Had Lost their Jobs or Experienced Work Reductions. Even More Are Worried the Worst Is Yet to Come.

The results published on April 2 represent answers from a March 25-26 survey.

Besides those who have already experienced reduced hours and pay, or lost their jobs, 55% anticipate it will happen to them. Even more, 57%, worry they will lose their jobs.

“Nearly half of all Americans already are reporting financial impacts as a result of the pandemic,” said Dave Clayton, Senior Vice President, Consumer Insights at Strada Education Network, in a statement. “By tracking consumer sentiment weekly during this unprecedented time, we hope to provide insights that can inform the response of policymakers and education providers, as well as identify the emerging role of education in economic recovery. For example, we’re hearing that one in three respondents say if they lost their job due to COVID-19, they would need additional education or training to obtain a comparable job.”

Education Is Historically Counter-Cyclical. Will that Trend Continue?

With a recession imminent (if not already a reality), many have speculated what role higher education will play in the years to come.

Some economists describe the education sector as “counter-cyclical.” According to Caroline Hoxby, a professor of economics at Stanford University and the author of How the Financial Crisis and Great Recession Affected Higher Education, enrollment in higher education has increased during each recession since the 1960s.

That was also the case during the last recession—despite the fact that tuition had increased sharply over the past two decades.

“In short, even though families may find it more painful to pay for college during a recession because their incomes and home values are stagnant or falling, they do pay for college,” Hoxby told Stanford News.

But the nature of the current coronavirus pandemic may alter this trend. The online recruitment platform Cirkled In released a survey of their network on April 2. Though they heard from a very small sample—just 33 admissions officers—87% said they were adjusting their 2020 fall enrollment projections from an increase to a decrease compared to the previous year.

The credit rating agency Moody’s Investor Services reported a change from a ‘negative’ to a ‘stable’ outlook for higher education in December. In mid-March, however, the agency flipped the outlook back to ‘negative.’

As part of the $2 trillion stimulus bill passed by Congress and signed into law on March 27, colleges will receive $14 billion in aid. Many advocates worry the funds won’t come close to the amount needed to keep institutions of higher education afloat.

But Many Americans Indicate They’re Willing to Pursue Further Education

Still, the Strada Education Network report indicates that many Americans are considering returning to education if the downward trends continue and more people lose their jobs. One third of respondents said if they loser their jobs, they will pursue more education. 26% said they would look to online college or university, while 18% and 17% said they would consider apprenticeship programs or community college, respectively.

Featured Image: Velizar Ivanov, Unsplash.