Consumers concerned about their ability to find good-paying jobs are turning to educational institutions to sharpen their skills and improve their attractiveness to employers. During the recession start year of 2008, colleges, universities and trade school saw a 6% increase in freshmen enrollment. An enrollment jump during a recessionary period is not new, but what has changed this time around is the demographic composition of the freshmen classes.
If there’s one statistic that many economist find sobering, it’s the high unemployment rate among students who have failed to complete their high school education. Once students drop out of school, many fail to pursue further education. And this trend leads to a lifelong earnings gap when these consumers are compared to those who possess higher educations.
To counteract the rising accident rates of younger drivers, many states have enacted a graduated licensing system. Yet, it seems that a substantial percentage of drivers, both young and old, could use remedial education when it comes to the rules of the road. The 2010 GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test results indicate that the average score on a test regarding the rules of the road dropped from 76.6% last year to 76.2% this year.
While Congress debates the fine points of the expected new health care legislation bill, the cost of health care continues to rise. As a percentage of the typical U.S. household budget, health care costs have risen from 5.3% to 5.9% in the past 10 years. To keep pace with demand, employment continues to rise in this sector, despite the general economic slowdown. Overall, private sector health care employment stands at 11.6% of total private sector employment.
Since 2000, the Department of Defense has been paying college costs of up to $4,500 annually for active members of the military. The availability of these funds are leading institutions of higher education to compete for students who qualify for this special funding. A recent Businessweek article pointed out that over $3 billion has been spent on this program in the past 9 years.
General economic conditions are boosting the outlook for community colleges. Because of reduced financial aid packages at traditional colleges, more 18 to 24 year olds are attending local two year community colleges. And the havoc in the labor market is leading more consumers to look at community colleges as a resource to provide them with new skills.
Between 2002 and 2008, the number of 4‑year- olds attending state-funded preschool programs in the U.S. jumped from 14% to 24%.