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Pandemic Hits Higher Ed Employment Hard

November 11, 2020

Nearly every state lost higher education jobs during the pandemic, according to a report from the Pew Charitable Trusts published Tuesday. The education sector is among the hardest hit by the pandemic.

Public colleges and universities showed a 13.7 percent drop in employment when October estimates were compared with pre-pandemic February numbers.

“Given the magnitude of employment declines so far, public K-12 and higher education could effectively act as a drag on broader economic growth,” the report states. “Education, in fact, has experienced noticeably steeper declines than most other areas of the economy.”

Higher education jobs fell due to state funding cutbacks, new expenses such as for testing and contact tracing, and enrollment declines, according to Pew. Higher education employment has declined at greater rates than overall education employment in most states, though K-12 education, which employs more people, has lost more total jobs.

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