Georgetown Study Finds that People with College Degrees Lost Fewer Jobs in the Recession

Barry Lenson

Georgetown Study Finds that People with College Degrees Lost Fewer Jobs in the Recession

People with Degrees Lost Fewer Jobs in the Recession  “It is a tough job market for college graduates but far worse for those without a college education,” writes Anthony P. Carnevale, director of The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. Carnevale is co-author of a new study from the Center, entitled The College Advantage: Weathering the Economic Storm. 

Summarizing the study’s findings, Carnevale notes that “At a time when more and more people are debating the value of postsecondary education, this data shows that your chances of being unemployed increase dramatically without a college degree.”

Here are some highlights from the report . . .

  • Four out of five jobs lost during the recession were held by employees with only a high school diploma or less.
  • Even during the recession, college-educated workers earned about twice as much as other workers with only high school diplomas.
  • Even in blue collar sectors, which took the hardest hit in the recession, college-educated workers were favored. In manufacturing, for example, employment dropped 15 percent for people with high school diplomas and only one percent for those with bachelor’s degrees or better.
  • In construction, employment dropped 25 percent for those with high school diplomas and only two percent for workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • Since the recession began, the healthcare industry has added over one million jobs for people with two-year and four-year college degrees.
  • Even in the darkest days of the recession, unemployment rates for college graduates never exceeded 6.3 percent. Today, only about 4.5% of all bachelor's degree holders do not have a job.

So the message is clear. Despite the rising cost of education, a college degree is still the best assurance of a successful future.

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