In the second quarter of 2022, the labor force participation rate for college-educated women was 69.6%, the same as in the second quarter of 2019. In contrast, men and most other educational groups now have lower rates of labor force participation than they did in the second quarter of 2019.
This shift in the college-educated labor force – as women now comprise a majority – comes around four decades after women surpassed men in the number of Americans earning a bachelor’s degree each year.
The economy is still short 4.2 million jobs, but as the virus (hopefully) recedes and remaining restrictions are lifted, these trends should continue. The labor market is on the road to recovery—or the cyclical piece of it is, anyway. But during each recession we see many prime-age men leave the labor force and never come back. This was the case during the last recession, too. Prime male labor force participation is still down nearly 1 percentage point from pre-pandemic levels, and this poses huge costs to the economy because a large number of productive workers are simply sitting out. This is terrible for social reasons as well, because work is important to feeling productive, for increasing stability, for marriage, and being fully productive members of society.
This is a difficult economic problem that falls under the category of “structural,” which means that the Fed’s tools are not well-equipped to deal with it. Even with a tight labor market and rising wages, men are simply not working.
Instead, we need to think more creatively and just fix what’s broken. The common answer is that some of this is driven by a skill mismatch and that there just aren’t many good jobs for men without a college degree. I’m not sure that’s true, it’s very hard to find a good plumber or electrician, which are very well-paying jobs that don’t require a college degree. But they do require skills and training. Community college is often the answer we are given, but it has a terrible track record, primarily because it’s trying to paper over a bigger problem, namely the terrible quality of secondary school, which often fails to properly educate our teenagers. It seems like if we really wanted to keep men from leaving the labor market, this is the low-hanging fruit. Many people drop out of community college, but high school graduation rates are at record highs (or at least they were pre-pandemic). We can raise standards and accountability and fund more vocational high schools. However, tech education has become less popular from the 1980s to 2013, even if the skills are still in quite high demand.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “social vulnerability index” has formed the basis for the state’s prioritization system and has been a reliable indicator of low vaccine uptake. Generally speaking, the higher a community’s SVI score, the lower its vaccination rate, a CT Mirror analysis found.
An estimated 32% of the state’s eligible population lives in the state’s priority ZIP codes, and the state aims to administer the same percentage of vaccines within those communities. While the state inches closer to that goal each week, the statewide slowdown in the number of shots administered means that it has a lot of ground to make up. Of all the vaccines administered so far, just 25% of all vaccines distributed as of last week have gone to residents of those ZIP codes.
“Progress is slower now,” said Josh Geballe, the state’s chief operating officer, at a recent press conference.
From March 1 through August 22, 2020, 146 557 deaths were recorded in California, with an estimated 19 806 (95% prediction interval, 16 364-23 210) deaths in excess of those predicted by historical trends (Table). Per capita excess mortality was highest among people aged 65 years and older, men, Black and Latino residents, and those without a college degree. Comparing deaths in March through April vs May through August, Latino residents and those without a high school degree or general education development (GED) certificate had the greatest increase in excess deaths, with Latino deaths tripling (from 16 to 51 excess deaths per million) and deaths in those without a high school degree/GED increasing by a factor of 3.4 (from 21 to 72 excess deaths per million). Across age groups, younger adults had the greatest increases in excess death, with rates more than doubling between shutdown and reopening (age, 25-54 years: from 4 to 11 excess deaths per million, 55-64 years: from 12 to 30 excess deaths per million).
In most weeks of the pandemic, Black residents had higher per capita excess mortality than other racial/ethnic group (Figure). Late in the shelter-in-place period, White, Asian, and Black residents had a decline in excess per capita mortality. In contrast, Latino residents and those without a high school degree/GED saw a substantial and sustained increase in per capita mortality.
Author(s): Yea-Hung Chen, PhD, MS1; M. Maria Glymour, ScD, MS2; Ralph Catalano, PhD, MRP3; et al