Horrible News on Education Employment

IMG_6382.jpgEducation jobs fell for the first time since 1959 while enrollments were increasing. There were only three other years in the past 50 years where education employment shrank – and all of them were during periods of declining enrollment as the baby boom petered out.

Business Week has the details.

The decline was -0.9%, or 121,000 jobs lost. It is also the biggest drop by a wide margin in both percentage and actual jobs (the previous record was 1981 where it was down -0.4% or 29,000 jobs).

The data doesn’t show the breakout between Higher Education and K12 but my hunch is that the data above is masking a much bigger drop in K12 employment. As people lose jobs they flock back to higher education. This means an increase in employment in that sector. I’ve heard stories from Professors of enrollments increasing 100% in some departments.

Books Sales Take An Even Bigger Hit

Anecdotally the Higher Ed divisions of the major publishers are busy and doing well – particularly in the area of e-books. K12 Basal publishers are feeling the pinch big time and the supplemental market is hit or miss.

Looking at the textbook sales data from AAP we know that K12 sales through July were down -27.6% from 2008 – with the bulk of the pain being felt on the Basal Textbook side. Higher Education sales were down by -19% – and much of this is due to substitution of e-books which has a significantly higher usage rate at Universities.

As I noted a couple of weeks ago the stimulus dollars are reaching some sectors and I suspect that employment – like instructional materials budgets – is up in these submarkets. IDEA and Title 1 are the most notable areas.

A Ray of Sunshine

The scenario isn’t all gloom and doom – although if you are teacher with low seniority or a basal sales rep it isn’t cheery. Less than 15% of the first wave of the stimulus dollars for education have been encumbered. With 85% yet to come and signs of life across the market we can expect to see some healthy recovery in the next 12 months.

Hopefully for the students we serve this will mean more teachers and high quality materials that support their learning.


One response to “Horrible News on Education Employment”

  1. eRoman says:

    Yes, enrollments are increasing at the university level, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that more faculty is hired–except on a part time basis–because course caps are also being increased. I have been told that the number of full time positions published in the MLA job list (linguistics, literature, etc.) this year is three times smaller than it used to be.