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Early Signs of Pandemic Scarring Dashboard

The New Jersey Statewide Data System is pleased to release its Early Signs of Pandemic Scarring dashboard. This dashboard uses linked, longitudinal data from our state agency partners to show the impact of economic downturns on graduates’ employment and earnings referred to as “scarring.” Employment and earnings are shown following graduation with filters for employment status, degree type, race/ethnicity, sex, and major.

Highlights from this dashboard include:

  • There are differences in the scarring effect across employment status and degree type. For instance, part-time workers and graduates with an associate degree have more variation in median earnings, employment rate, and number employed across cohorts.
  • Employment rates after graduation are lower for the Pandemic cohort, on average, compared to the Intermediate and Great Recession cohorts in most categories across race/ethnicity, sex, and major.
  • Across many groups, median earnings are often higher for those in the Pandemic cohort than the Intermediate and Great Recession cohorts. However, employment rates are often lower.
  • Following graduation, fewer from the Pandemic cohort reenrolled in postsecondary education compared to the Intermediate and Great Recession cohorts.

View detailed outcomes in the dashboard linked above. To change the page, click on one of the six grey boxes at the top. Change selection options by clicking the buttons on the left panel to filter the employment status, degree type, group, and category displayed.

Understanding the Methods

This analysis used three cohorts for comparison: Great Recession, Intermediate, and Pandemic. The Great Recession cohort graduated from New Jersey-based colleges and universities between 2007 and 2009 and the Pandemic cohort graduated between 2019 and 2020. Researchers created the Intermediate cohort, which contains individuals who graduated between 2014 and 2016, as a comparison group. Each cohort includes graduates with associate or Bachelor’s degrees in both the fall and spring terms during their respective periods to track quarterly earnings and employment post-graduation. The analysis used the Unemployment Insurance (UI) wage database to connect graduates with quarterly post-graduation employment and earnings records. Post-graduate enrollment records come from New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education data. UI wage database only includes employers that contribute to the UI system in New Jersey, which automatically excludes self-employed workers, federal employees, and workers employed in other states, among others. Nevertheless, the UI wage data still capture approximately 70% to 80% of graduates.

The dashboard uses two indicators for labor market outcomes: median quarterly earnings and employment rate. To comply with the data security and confidentiality requirements within our user data agreements, this report calculates median quarterly earnings as an average of the 45th and 55th quantile. The earnings indicator is adjusted for inflation to the third quarter of 2021. Post-graduation education outcomes include several enrollment indicators, including the type of post-graduate enrollment and the average number of terms enrolled. This report disaggregates the outcomes by race/ethnicity, sex, and major. Using two-digit Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) codes, researchers created eight broad categories of majors: Business; Communications; Education; Health; Humanities; Social Sciences; Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics; and Trades. Each category consists of multiple CIP codes.