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No Recession for College Graduates

Posted By Jim On 08/23/2010 @ 7:20 am In Education | 26 Comments

I’ve been fortunate that most of my local friends have not been affected by the economic downturn. I’m especially fortunate because I have not been affected by the economic downturn. While the companies we work at have downsized, for the most part, we’ve all escaped unscathed in what’s clearly the worse economic decline in our lifetime. It’s difficult to explain why we were so fortunate, many of my friends work in defense which is practically hallowed ground in times of war, but I saw a chart [3] last week that might explain it:

The unemployment rate for people with a bachelor’s degree or high is only 4.5% (the vast majority, if not all of them, of my local friends have at least a bachelor’s degree), which is around where economists believe structural unemployment [4] should be.

The specific numbers for unemployment rate (based on July 2010 BLS data [5]) are:

  • Less than a high school diploma: 13.8%
  • High school graduate, no college: 10.1%
  • Some college or associate degree: 8.3%
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher: 4.5%

I’ve argued in favor of college [6] and against going to college [7], but I’ve always stuck to one point – going to college is a very safe decision if you can afford it. You aren’t guaranteed riches but you’re almost guaranteed not to become insolvent, despite the rising costs of a college education.

On the flip side, look at the employment-population ratio:

  • Less than a high school diploma: 40.8%
  • High school graduate, no college: 55.4%
  • Some college or associate degree: 64.1%
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher: 72.7%

It’s dangerous to read too much into these figures because education is just one factor among many as to why someone could be unemployed. However, I think it’s fair to assume that, all other characteristics being equal, the more education the better.


(Photo: walkadog [8])

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[1] Tweet: http://twitter.com/share

[2] Email: mailto:?subject=http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/recession-college-graduates.html

[3] a chart: http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/2010/08/elite-isolation/

[4] structural unemployment: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structural_unemployment

[5] July 2010 BLS data: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t04.htm

[6] in favor of college: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/is-college-worth-the-cost-of-tuition-yes.html

[7] against going to college: http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/5-reasons-to-skip-college.html

[8] walkadog: http://www.flickr.com/photos/walkadog/3573598435/sizes/m/

Thank you for reading!