STEM Employment Resiliency During Recessions: Evidence from the COVID-19 Pandemic
Employment in STEM occupations suffered smaller peak-to-trough percentage declines than non-STEM occupations during the Great Recession and COVID-19 recession, suggesting a relative resiliency of STEM employment. We exploit the sudden peak-to-trough declines in STEM and non-STEM employment during the COVID-19 recession to measure STEM recession-resiliency, decomposing our difference-in-differences estimate into parts explained by various sources. We find that STEM knowledge importance on the job explains the greatest share of STEM employment resiliency, and that workers in non-STEM occupations who nonetheless use STEM knowledge experienced better employment outcomes. STEM employment resiliency may explain the mild effects of COVID-19 on innovative activity.