Erica Groshen, an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of
Moreover, unemployment varies by demographic group with men, teenagers, minorities and the less educated the hardest hit:
Finally, Groshen documents that male-dominated industries have lost the most jobs with government, education and health the only areas to gain employment since the recession.
What will be the affects, then, of the Great Recession of 2008 on community colleges?
First, the downturn has exacerbated the funding shortfall for community colleges. Already, some colleges are turning away students as classes fill and others are reducing services to students. As is usual in economic declines, the poor and working-class – in this case community college students – are most affected by cuts in public college funding. Colleges will struggle for some time in trying to serve more students with less governmental support.
Second, high and persistent unemployment brings into question the value of particular college programs. Colleges will have to examine program offerings to ensure that education leads to the prospect of decent paying jobs. Colleges will want to align offerings to support local economic development efforts. In this regard, the value of dialogue over economic planning with state and local officials will increase.
Finally, the most important affect of the Great Recession of 2008 will be to convince Americans that college is a pre-condition for a decent paying job. The community college role will be permanently enhanced as more and more Americans view them as the portal for obtaining a college credential.