Economists say that it is a good thing if fewer people are going to colleges, as it indicates that the economy is doing well. Jobs are abundant when the economy is doing well, so many people do not think it necessary to attend a four-year education degree. On the other hand, when the economy is not doing well, people will enroll in college to learn skills and seek opportunities to gain employment.
The US has had its longest economic expansion: it marked 10 years of uninterrupted growth in June, the unemployment rate has dropped to historic lows, and there have been continuous job creations. A survey conducted by Northeastern University and Gallup show mixed sentiments about the value of a college degree in US Canada and the UK. While the majority of Canadians continue to believe in that college degrees are valuable, 41% of people in the UK believe that college degree diminishes in importance over the next decade. Thirty-six percent of Americans agree with the people of the UK.
Alicia Sasser Modestino, an associate professor at Northeastern University, has studied the relationship between employer demands and the labour market. She says that counter-cyclical trends in college enrolment and especially graduate school enrolment, are par for the course. “When the labour market’s very slack and there are lots of available workers, suddenly employers (who didn’t want a college degree in the past) want a college degree, or they want five years of experience, or they want the candidate that walks on water to walk through the door,” she says. “Whereas, when the labour market starts to tighten, you actually see employers removing those college degree requirements, removing the number of years of experience, and we can actually see that in our data for the same job at the same employer.”