New Report: A Moment of Opportunity: The COVID-Era Job Market for Noncollege Workers

Posted by Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia on January 11, 2022

Recent research clearly illustrates that job losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic were not evenly or randomly distributed across the labor force. Lower-wage workers and workers without a college degree were among those most impacted. A new report, A Moment of Opportunity: The COVID-Era Job Market for Noncollege Workers, examines trends in job openings, educational requirements, and wages to understand how the recovery has affected employment prospects for noncollege workers. Findings include:

  • The labor market was somewhat tighter for workers without a bachelor’s degree in June 2021 than in February 2020. The reverse was true for those with at least a bachelor’s degree.
  • The minimum educational requirements that employers requested in online job postings were slightly lower after the onset of the pandemic, even after controlling for the postings’ broad occupation and sector classifications.
  • Compared to the five quarters preceding the pandemic, the five quarters following its onset included an additional 2.3 million opportunity employment job postings. These are jobs that do not require a bachelor’s degree and pay above the national annual median wage.

The dramatic job losses wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic were followed by historic highs in job openings and an online labor market that offered a new level of opportunity for noncollege job seekers. Matching skilled candidates with these openings could mean economic mobility for the workers and their families and lead to a sustained and equitable economic recovery.

Read the report.


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