January 14, 2009

Another Reason to Stay in School

One of the most common reasons given why young people should stay in school is that the more education they have, generally speaking, the higher their income level will be. For example, a person with a graduate degree should make more money than someone with only a Bachelor's degree, a person with a Bachelor's degree should make more money than a high school graduate, and so on. Of course there are exceptions but, in general, this statement is fairly accurate.

Another reason to stay in school is that the more education one has, the more likely one won't be unemployed. The proof? The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes a monthly report called The Employment Situation. In this report the BLS slices and dices the employment and unemployment numbers in a number of different ways, one of which is to look at the employment and unemployment numbers by the level of education people 25 years and older have (Table A-4). What the report shows is that there is a consistent pattern in terms of the unemployment rate vs. the amount of education people have. The more education one has, the lower the unemployment rate. In December 2008:

  • Those who had less than a high school diploma had an unemployment rate of 10.9%
  • For high school graduates with no college education, the unemployment rate was 7.7%
  • For those people who either had some college education or an associate's degree, the unemployment rate was 5.6%
  • For those people with a Bachelor's degree or higher (Master's, professional, or doctorate), the unemployment rate was 3.7%

Keep in mind that the overall unemployment rate for December was 7.2%.

I get a lot of hits from businesses and universities because I tend to write on topics that are of interest to them; for these people I'm preaching to the choir. (Although, if you're in college but considering dropping out, don't! Obviously the odds are better for you in these rough economic times to continue to stay in school until you at least get your Bachelor's degree.) For those of you who are in high school (or teaching high school students, get the message out to), stay in school! Go on to college if you can. It's far easier to ride out a recession if you have a job and are making money than not. The odds will be in your favor.

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