Friday, March 12, 2010
The New Jobless Era
I don't mean to depress you as you go away for Spring Break, but I have been thinking about the situation of higher education within the larger economy. Right now, I just have a lot of dots, like the inflation issues I mentioned in the last post. Another dot is represented by Don Peck's "How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America" (The Atlantic, March 2010), which is a scary but important reading for people of college age who, the author argues, are going to face a long period of declining access to jobs and declining salaries in most sectors. The article does not specifically address how this impacts higher education. But you have to wonder. Will a period of declining jobs make people wonder about the value of a college degree? Will the liberal arts go into an even steeper decline as more students rush to the few remaining areas (such as engineering and nursing) where graduates have a chance at getting a job out of college? Will jobless college graduates be more likely to default on their loans?