General Motors. Nike. AOL and Yahoo. Each wave of layoffs leaves hundreds of workers jobless — hurting not just the individuals who are suddenly unemployed, or even just their families, but children and adolescents across the state, researchers say.
In fact, according to a study published last week in Science magazine, a publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a 7 percent statewide loss in jobs during a low-income child’s adolescence lowers the chance that they’ll head to college by 20 percent.
Plenty of research has documented the adverse impact of a parent’s sudden job loss on the average child, in terms of mental health and economic prospects. But, pulling from a wide variety of datasets — from the Internal Revenue Service, standardized test score records and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, among others — the authors took a macro-level look at the effect of layoffs on surrounding communities. Rather than relying on BLS unemployment rates, they also used instances of large, sudden job losses, as changes in the general, month-to-month jobless rate can be skewed by similar changes in the number of Americans counted in the labor force.
A 1 percent sudden statewide loss in jobs affects 1.5 percent of students directly — and indirectly led the remaining 98.5 percent of students to experience “learning losses … that are about one-third the size of those experienced by children whose parents lose jobs.” More specifically, that 1 percent job loss lowered the state’s eighth-grade math test scores by 0.057 standard deviations, an amount roughly the same size as the increase that results from intervention efforts intended to boost test scores.
“What I see as one of the main points in our study is that the effects on people who lost their job or the children of people who lost their jobs — there are spillover effects,” said Dania Francis, one…