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College Grads vs. Non-Grads and Unemployment Statistics

written by: Terry Caron•edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom•updated: 10/15/2010

A comparison of college graduates vs. non-college graduates unemployment statistics to identify if there is a difference in unemployment numbers for those with a college education and those without. Great information if you are thinking about going back to school or furthering your education.

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    With unemployment in double-digit percentages across the country many students and adults are considering furthering their education. Many are taking advantage of programs that help fund education and others are looking for better opportunities in various career fields. With this in mind one question comes to the foreground of this subject. What impact does a college degree have with the chances of being unemployed? Is it beneficial to have a college degree to help avoid being unemployed? We are going to take a look at college graduates vs. non-college graduates unemployment statistics, to decide if a college degree helps people hold their jobs.

    Note. Statistics are pulled from the US Dept. of Labor and based on comparisons between 2009 and 2010 monthly statistics. The quoted figures are numbers in thousands.

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    Those Without a High School Education

    We first look at the civilian population, over 25, without a high school education. Between 2009 and 2010, there are 11,900 to 12,400 members of this demographic in the workforce. From this group, 9000 to 10,500 were employed and 1700 to 2000 were unemployed for a percentage average of 15% unemployed. Now we will compare that to high school graduates.

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    Those With a High School Diploma

    In 2009 and 2010 there were 37,700 to 38,900 civilians over the age of 25 with a high school diploma and no college in the workforce. Of those, an average of 3500 to 4500 was unemployed. This equals about 9.4% to 11.2% unemployment in 2009 to 2010. As you can see we are already observing a trend between the amount of education and its impact on unemployed. Let’s take a look at those with some college or an associate’s degree.

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    Some College or Associates Degree

    There were 36,600 to 36,800 people over the age of 25 with some college or an associate’s degree in the workforce. 2900 to 3300 were unemployed in 2009 and 2010. This makes the percentages equal to 8.0 to 9.0 percent unemployment. Looking at these numbers and the clear trend that is forming it is viable to conclude that the chances of staying employed can be increased with education. Now we will look at college graduates to see if this trend continues.

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    College Graduates

    The civilian population with college degrees in the workforce from 2009 to 2010 was 45,500 to 49,000. Of these categories, 2000 to 2280 were unemployed at a percentage of 4.4 to 5.0% of this total demographic.

    Based on the trending we see for college graduates vs non-college graduates unemployment statistics, it is safe to say that members of the civilian workforce, over the age of 25, with a college degree, have a better chance of keeping their job than those without. In fact, almost twice as many college graduates were able to keep their jobs as opposed to those with less education. Does this mean that a college education is worth the time and money? That still depends on the individual. However, this is a good argument for getting one.

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