Education and Employment!

Education Employment 2013

Dear Commons Community,

The importance of a college degree today is the subject of much discussion and debate.  For example, Charles Blow in his column expressed:

“Being a college graduate is becoming less exceptional. As the Pew Research Center pointed out in November, “Record shares of young adults are completing high school, going to college and finishing college.” College graduation rates are growing even more in other countries. And Anya Kamenetz noted in The Atlantic magazine in December, “During the past three decades, the United States has slipped from first among nations to 10th in the percentage of people holding a college degree, even as the job market has eroded for Americans without one.”

On the other hand, in a featured article, the New York Times provides interesting data on how college graduates have fared in the job market since the Great Recession of 2008.

“The unemployment rate for college graduates in April was a mere 3.9 percent, compared with 7.5 percent for the work force as a whole, according to a Labor Department report released Friday. Even when the jobless rate for college graduates was at its very worst in this business cycle, in November 2010, it was still just 5.1 percent. That is close to the jobless rate the rest of the work force experiences when the economy is good.

Among all segments of workers sorted by educational attainment, college graduates are the only group that has more people employed today than when the recession started.

The number of college-educated workers with jobs has risen by 9.1 percent since the beginning of the recession. Those with a high school diploma and no further education are practically a mirror image, with employment down 9 percent on net. For workers without even a high school diploma, employment levels have fallen 14.1 percent.”

As the article mentions the caveat is whether college graduates are being employed in jobs commensurate with their skills.

“But just because college graduates have jobs does not mean they all have “good” jobs.

There is ample evidence that employers are hiring college-educated workers for jobs that do not actually require college-level skills — positions like receptionists, file clerks, waitresses, car rental agents and so on.”

Regardless, the overall pattern is clear.  A young person today is better off pursuing a college degree than not.




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