As with every other aspect of life, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the decision process of high school graduates as they weigh work-or-school choices. May 2020 was the worst of the downturn, with millions of jobs disappearing overnight. Simultaneously, most colleges had shifted at least partially to online classes. Family financial strains due to COVID-19 disruptions were also prevalent. It was something of a perfect storm.
Literally since the pandemic began, I have cautioned that, unlike previous economic dislocations, this one is inextricably linked to a health crisis. Complete recovery can only occur when we reach the point of peaceful coexistence with the virus. Nowhere is this phenomenon more evident than in the job market.