The Missing School Bus Drivers: A look at employment data before and after the COVID-19 pandemic
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Bus drivers took a big hit from the COVID-19 shutdown. Schools were shuttered and workers were furloughed. After classrooms reopened, employment levels rebounded, but school bus driver ranks were 14% smaller in September 2021 than they were in September 2019.
Employment dropped most significantly for 25- to 34-year-old drivers. Workers in this age group fell by nearly a third in 2021 from 2019 levels. Drivers 55 and older had the lowest drop in employment, falling less than 5% in September 2021 compared to 2019. In fact, these older drivers had modest increases in employment year over year prior to September.