The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released some data
showing the unemployment rate varies widely according to educational
level. Among those with less than a high school diploma, the July
unemployment rate was 13.8 percent. For high school graduates, it was
10.1 percent. Meanwhile, for those with "some college or [an] associate
degree," the rate drops to 8.3 percent and only 4.5 percent of those
with a bachelor's degree or higher are unemployed. Cue analysis.
- And This Is Why There's No Serious Stimulus Matt Yglesias
suggests the chart explains why unemployment just isn't getting enough
attention. Just about every politician, staffer, and political
journalist in DC, he explains, "is a college graduate," and the
"large amount of social segregation in the United States" means
"college graduates tend to socialize with each other. And among college
graduates, there simply isn't an economic crisis in the United States."
- Yes And No, protests James Joyner
at Outside the Beltway: "While that's true as a matter of personal
experience--the well educated are less likely to know a lot of
unemployed people than the poorly educated--it's not as if we don’t
read the papers."
- An Even Starker Difference With Long-Term Unemployment, points out Mother Jones's Kevin Drum,
who cobbles together a chart showing that, "for those with a high
school diploma or less, the long-term unemployment rate is about 5-6%."
Here's the thing, he says: "Being out of work for a few weeks--or even
a couple of months--is bad but not debilitating." Long-term employment,
on the other hand, can have a profound effect. "But among the
college-educated crowd, it barely exists. The fear just isn't there,
and that makes it awfully easy to ignore."
- Black and White College Graduates Jamelle Bouie at The American Prospect's Tapped blog points out that the numbers are a little more complex than the data Yglesias is looking at suggest:
April, when these statistics were compiled, the unemployment rate for
black college graduates was 7.4 percent. By contrast, the unemployment
rate for white college graduates was a low 4 percent. A college degree
certainly helps black workers, but not by much, at least compared to
the national average. What's more, well-off blacks tend to have more
social proximity to blacks lower on the income scale, so while white
college grads are mostly isolated from the recession's effects, I'm not
sure if you can say the same for their black counterparts.
- The College Grad Monolith Adam Weinstein
of Mother Jones, blogging at Current Intelligence, points out some
other problems with talking about college graduates as a single group.
Aside from issues of race, there are issues of age and class: recent
graduates are much more likely than older graduates to be
underemployed, while Weinstein doesn't take kindly to Yglesias, a
Harvard man, grouping "all of us Florida State, Navy, and Iona College grads in with [him]self, John Boehner, and Ben Bernanke."
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