College Grads Lead the Jobs Recovery

A new study shows the lifetime earnings of college-educated workers are nearly double those without degrees. The unemployment rate for recent high school grads is also four times as high as for recent college grads.


A study released last week from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce finds America has recovered almost half of the jobs lost in the recession, “and virtually all of those jobs required some form of postsecondary education.”

The study’s main findings include these stats and conclusions…

  • Degrees get more people hired. The unemployment rate for high school grads is 9.4 percent, more than double the rate for those with a bachelor’s degree, 4.5 percent.
  • It’s worse lately. The unemployment difference is starker among recent grads: 24 percent for those just out of high school and 6.8 percent for those graduating with a bachelor’s.
  • Colleges help create jobs. The growth in employment in the past two decades was “entirely due to increases in college-educated workers.”
  • Degrees pay off. Earnings with a bachelor’s degree are still nearly double those with a high school diploma. As of 2009, college grads earn an average of 84 percent more over a lifetime than high school grads. That figure’s grown over time – two decades ago, it was only 75 percent.
  • Enrollment has rebalanced. College enrollment skyrocketed during the recession but has dropped back to normal levels of growth since, but male enrollment caught up to female enrollment during that period “after lagging behind for decades.”

The study looks at a lot more, including the job losses various industries faced during the recession and how they’ve recovered. Check out the full report for more.

College sounding good right about now? Avoid a lifetime of debt that could cancel out those higher earnings: Check out 5 Steps to Dramatically Reduce the Cost of College.

Stacy Johnson

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