College Degrees Are More Than Worth It as Most Jobs Go to Grads, Study Says

Out of the 11.6 million jobs created in the post-recession U.S. economy, nearly all, or 11.5 million, went to those with at least some college education, according to new research from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (Georgetown Center).

Of these jobs, 8.4 million went to workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher. The study found that employment of individuals with a high school diploma or less only grew by 80,000 jobs during the recovery over the past six years.
“The modern economy continues to leave Americans without a college education behind,” said Anthony P. Carnevale, director of the Georgetown Center and lead author of the report. “For decades, we’ve witnessed this growing split that parallels the divide in the current electorate.”
The Great Recession “decimated blue-collar and clerical jobs, whereas the recovery added primarily managerial and professional jobs,” says the Georgetown Center’s press release.
For the first time this year, workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher make up a larger proportion of the workforce (36 percent) than those with a high school diploma or less (34 percent).
Workers with more than a high school diploma, but less than a bachelor’s degree, who are typically employed in middle-skill occupations, comprise the remaining 30 percent of the workforce.
Other key report findings include the following.

  • In the recovery, graduate degree holders gained 3.8 million jobs, bachelor’s degree holders gained 4.6 million jobs, and Associate’s degree holders (and those with some college education) gained over 3 million jobs, compared to workers with a high school diploma or less, who added only 80,000 jobs.
  • About 5.8 million high-skill jobs in the recovery are going to workers with a B.A. or higher, while low-skill jobs are the only area of growth for workers with a high school diploma or less.
  • Workers with at least some post-secondary education now make up 65 percent of the total employment. B.A. holders now earn 57 percent of all wages.
  • Among industries, consulting and business services added the largest number of jobs in the recovery (2.5 million), while manufacturing added the second most (1.7 million). Manufacturing, however, still has 1 million fewer jobs than it did before the recession began. Construction added 834,000 jobs during recovery, but is still 1.6 million jobs short of its pre-recession employment — the largest gap among all industries.

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