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Bad News for Workers with College Degree: Part II

Posted by: Michael Mandel on September 02

The unemployment rate for college graduates fell to 2.1% in August, the lowest since 2001, and about the same level which prevailed at the beginning of the last recession in March 2001 (this number includes advanced degrees as well).

But another measure, the employment-population ratio, indicates no significant recovery. Its current level, 76.5% for college graduates, is still well below the 77.7% level of March 2001, and the 78.7% average for 1992-2000.

This graph (based on three month moving averages) shows no sign of a rebound in the college labor market.


Depending on how you calculate it, we are missing about 2-3% of the college-trained population from the pool of employed workers. That’s a heck of a lot.

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Reader Comments


September 2, 2005 05:11 PM

Maybe some college-educated people are women who are now staying at home with their children, or people who took early retirement in the last few years.


Do real-estate agents get counted in the statistic. I know that a large number of people who used to work in companies (i.e. college graduates) have ditched that to become real-estate agents. In California, the number of agents has increased 25% in 2 years. They are franchisees, rather than employees. Are they factored in the number above? If not, that may be the answer.


September 3, 2005 07:24 PM

Any way you cut it, educated people have less and less incentive to work. Education may have increasing value as a connection to a spouse though. Of course we can put a positive spin on this. More educated people are now affluent enough not to have to work. Given the poor quality of jobs being created these days, it probably doesn't take much affluence at all. Work in the home likely pays better than retail work.


September 5, 2005 08:05 PM

Anyone with a college degree gets counted, including the self-employed.

I'm not sure who's not working.


April 14, 2010 03:27 AM

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Michael Mandel, BW's award-winning chief economist, provides his unique perspective on the hot economic issues of the day. From globalization to the future of work to the ups and downs of the financial markets, Mandel-named 2006 economic journalist of the year by the World Leadership Forum-offers cutting edge analysis and commentary.

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