Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A couple of thoughts about jobs and education

There is a very interesting website provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics titled "Back to College". Here are a couple of figures from the website:

I want to point out a couple of things from the graphs.

  1. The number of employed people with some college or a college degree increased significantly from 1992 to 2009 while the numbers of employed people with a high school diploma or less stayed relatively the same.
  2. Between 2008 and 2009, as the recession began to take its toll on jobs, the number of employed people with only some college or less decreased, while the number of job holders with college degrees stayed the same.
  3. Over all the years shown, the higher the level of completed education, the lower the unemployment rate.
  4. Unemployment of people who had completed college hovered around two percent for most of this time, essentially these people were generally fully employed.
  5. Even in 2009 with more than 4 percent unemployment of college graduates, most could expect to get a new job.
  6. People who had not completed high school had a high rate of unemployment during this whole period, and that rate increased most rapidly as the recession hit.
The United States, having moved from a manufacturing to a service economy, provided more employment for educated people in health services, education, financial services, management, etc. As it moves from a service economy to a knowledge economy, education will be still more important.

It is likely that many of the 22 year olds represented in the graph above will seek more formal education, and consequently adult education will have to be a major concern in the United States.

The small percentage of blacks and Hispanics obtaining college degrees by age 22 is a problem not only for those young people, but for the economy as a whole. Even more problematic is that more than 17 percent of these black and Hispanic young people dropped out of high school without a GED.

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