It is well known that during times of economic downturn people go back to school to earn graduate degrees with the hopes of a recovering economy when they graduate (in addition to their new diploma). So, for those of us in the academic world, a bad economy can be a good thing.
Here it is in numbers, as compiled by Jorge Cham, creator of PhD comics:
The correlation factor according to Jorge’s calculations is 0.75583!
Here is a related article that appeared in Business Week, which talks about how the economy effects engineering education/job market.
As the financial crisis deepens, science and math grads who once flocked to investment banking are now considering jobs in engineering
Or, perhaps joining grad school in engineering? Especially a discipline that relates math to business, science, and policy decisions, like systems and industrial engineering or operations research? (Yes, I am advertising our field).
Here is another graph that relates Gross Domestic Product to grad school enrollment:
although in this case, it’s harder to tell which one causes which