Saturday, April 05, 2008

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.

8 Comments:

At 4/05/2008 9:16 AM, Blogger Gregory said...

Such analysis would suffer from immense self-selection problems.

 
At 4/05/2008 9:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

April 2 - Financial Times (Richard Lapper): “Migrant workers are choosing to move to Europe, Australia or Canada instead of the US in order to protect the purchasing power of the money they send home to their families, according to one of the world’s leading experts on remittances. The shift is a result of sharp falls in the value of the US dollar against other international currencies… ‘We are seeing workers from Bangladesh, Nepal and especially the Philippines choosing destinations where they’ll get paid in stronger currencies,’ Dilip Ratha, head of the World Bank’s remittances and migration unit, told the Financial Times. Mr Ratha said the trend was especially notable among skilled workers, such as doctors, nurses and information technology specialists.”

 
At 4/05/2008 10:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If everyone had a college degree, who would man the Quickie Mart and how much would they be paid?

 
At 4/05/2008 11:00 AM, Blogger Gregory said...

If everyone had a college degree then I suspect the Quickie Mart might be self service, as we would have plenty of engineers to automate the world's Quickie Marts using whatever technology was needed.

But, if the relevant markets determined that labor was still cheaper than automation, then the individuals manning the Quickie Mart would be paid somewhat close to what their equally educated peers were earning elsewhere.

This is because wages are set by the worker's next best alternatives and if all workers were perfectly interchangeable then they would all earn roughly the same.

That said, even with identical college degrees individuals would still not be interchangeable as some hate working at the Quickie Mart, some yearn for power over others and will work has hard as is necessary to attain it, and some could care less.

In my opinion, our biggest source of inequality is not education but a shortage of cut-throat businessmen. Too many of us seek a 9am to 5pm job, so the few among us eager for a 6am to 11pm cut throat position jockying for business domination are being auctioned off by the markets at ever-higher salaries.

 
At 4/07/2008 8:28 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Looking at the graphic I think there is a potential slot there that instead of college in the normal sense a combination of some college and technical training (electrician, plumber, pipe fitter, etc) might have some real upsides...

 
At 4/09/2008 9:10 AM, Blogger Orit said...

Who can I speak with about my keen interest in securing a cut throat position at a financial services firm based in NYC?

 
At 2/04/2009 2:23 PM, Blogger sarah said...

Very interesting! I wonder if you have a current version of this chart? From what I have heard, unemployment levels of the college educated are now about to hit the highest level since the beginning of the index!

 
At 2/16/2009 9:21 PM, Blogger datcollege said...

I was wondering if you could post a link directly to what where you got the data from. I'm doing a research project right now, and it it would greatly help. Thanks.

 

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