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Unemployment and education

Here is a very interesting graphic (from Catherine Rampell at Economix) taken from the Federal Reserve of Cleveland:

Generally, the more education, the lower the unemployment rate. But as the picture shows, the unemployment rate for high school dropouts instead of being four or five percentage points higher than that of people who have at least a college degree–it’s now more like TEN percentage points higher.

Every level of education has a higher unemployment rate than before. But it seems that the least educated have the worst time and that the effect is much greater than in the recession of 2001 (although it may be similar to the recession of 1991–hard to tell from this picture.)

My speculation is that the narrowing of unemployment rates between 1992 and 2001 and the great increase in the gap post-2007 has a lot to do with the expansion and expansion in construction employment over this period. It’s just a guess, though. It would be nice to have data on construction employment by educational level.


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