Jobless Rates by Education: Stay In School!
The chart above shows monthly unemployment rates, by educational attainment, from 2000 to March 2008, using data from the BLS, obtained via Economagic. The data show that almost all of the .50% increase in the overall unemployment rate over the last 9 months from 4.6% in June 2007 to 5.1% in March 2008 was mostly from increases in unemployment for workers with less than a high school degree and to a lesser degree from workers with a high school degree. Note that the unemployment rate for college-educated workers has been almost flat for the last three years, and the trend for workers with some college is almost flat as well.
It's also interesting to see that during the 2001 recession, the jobless rate increased by about a full percentage point for ALL education levels. Unfortunately, the data for jobless rates by educational attainment only go back to 1992, so it's not possible to extend this analysis back to recessions before 2001. But looking at unemployment rates by education in the the 2001 recession, we won't be in recession again until the unemployment rates for all education categories start to rise, and we haven't seen that yet.