Having an Education Pays--Even in a Difficult Job Market

ANGELA PASCOPELLA's picture
Wednesday, November 23, 2011

On the surface, having a college degree might seem to make getting and keeping a job more difficult in the current employment environment. Armed with a college degree, most people would expect to earn more than someone without a college degree. When jobs appear scarce, the lower-cost worker would seem to have an easier time finding a job.

It's actually a different story, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the U.S., the higher the level of education the lower the unemployment rate.

In a report issued this November, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said overall unemployment was 9 percent.

For those in the workforce 25 years and older, the aggregate unemployment rate decreases somewhat to 7.8 percent. Digging into the education levels of those unemployed and comprising this aggregate 7.8 percent provides support for the value of education in today's competitive environment.

The lowest reported unemployment rate is for those people with a bachelor's degree or higher, at only 4.4 percent. Unemployment among those with less than a high school diploma is reported to be 13.8 percent, or 6.0 percent more than the overall unemployment rate of 7.8 percent among this group. Although not quite double the unemployment rate among those 25 years and older, this difference is substantial.

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