August Jobs Report: 368K Stop Looking for Work – Many Stay in School

Beth Dumbauld

August Jobs Report: 368K Stop Looking for Work – Many Stay in School

August Jobs Report: 368K Stop Looking for Work – Many Stay in School

by Steven Pope

I’m pretty sure the government waits to release bad job reports on Fridays, you know, kind of like any company’s best practice to fire employees on Fridays to avoid workplace drama? Well, the unemployment monster is still at 8.1%. Numbers released September 7, 2012 by the government show that 368,000 people gave up looking for work in August! Many are deciding to go back to school, or continue their education. (Tell us what you are doing in the comments...)

"In addition to those who've given up looking for work, many young Americans are avoiding the job market by remaining in school. All told, the proportion of the population that is either working or looking for work fell to 63.5 percent. That's the lowest level in 31 years for the labor force participation rate." – Yahoo News.

How does this impact you?

  • Increases demand on higher education (more people want a degree)
  • Increases value of college degree (employers can overlook the less educated)
  • Finding a job is harder

Demand for higher education has never been higher, and online learning makes it easer than ever. So why should you go back to school in a recession? Some of you can’t find a job anyway. Or you may feel it’s better to get your degree online while living with your parents rather than taking an underpaid position and paying rent.

Value a college degree, now more than ever. According to USA News, “Four out of five jobs destroyed during the recession were held by employees with a high school diploma or less.” More shocking is the fact that many jobs are remaining unfilled because of a lack of applicants with the right skills! Can you say, “Job security?” Yes, a college diploma is not just a plaque on the wall. It’s much easier to get a job if you have a college degree. Jobs that DO require a college degree are getting 100 applicants per position. That alone puts a strain on positions that don’t require a degree, because those with a degree are going to be applying for those jobs too. What else can they do?

Finding a job is harder, much harder. My own father, Dan Pope, held a job as a television weather caster for more than 25-years. He has a meteorology degree from the University of Utah. But he’s been underemployed for more than a year now. He even asked me whether he should follow my path of getting an MBA at WGU. Pairing a business degree with meteorology may seem strange, but he figured he could use his learned skills and proven competency to innovate a new business. Individuals who thought they were in a career and planned to retire 10-15 years later have had to change those plans. Many are unemployed, underemployed, and/or seriously considering going back to school to finish school or even get a higher degree.

Maybe you aren’t ready to go to school fulltime? StraighterLine has a great option for you. You can take one or two classes at a time for $99 a month. So if you can pay for a cellphone bill, you can pay for college and still get closer to that valuable degree. Plus it might help you land a job because employers appreciate when their employees are educating themselves.

How does StraighterLine work? Click here.

Steven Pope has an MBA from Western Governors University and Bachelors of Science in communication from Weber State University. He has a background as a television reporter in Idaho and Wisconsin, and most recently as an enrollment counselor at WGU.

Related Readings

It’s Not too Late to Go Back to School in September
How to Go Back to College
Working While Going to College: It Can Be Done
Report on The High Cost of Dropping Out of College
Trends in Online Education: Going Back to School


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