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A Recession for the Less Educated - So Far

A Recession for the Less Educated - So Far

Unemployment for high school graduates rose from 4.5% to 5.1%, while the unemployment rate for bachelor’s degree and higher fell from 2.2% to 2.1%.

Michael Mandel, BusinessWeek

This morning’s employment report leaves no doubt that we are in a recession, with less-educated workers being hardest hit so far. Private sector employment has fallen for four straight months, since November.

The private sector decline of 300K since November is concentrated in construction, manufacturing, retail trade, and temp services—mostly industries which tend to employ less educated workers, on average.

Still staying strong is health care which has a fairly even mix of high-end and low-end workers

The combination of private and public education, private health care services, and private social assistance have added 239K jobs since November. Employment in professional and technical services is up as well, adding 44K jobs. Without these areas, the economy would be in a steep decline.

Given the industries which are slumping and those which are still expanding, it makes sense that the unemployment rate has soared for less-educated workers since November, while actually falling for college-educated workers.

For example, the unemployment rate for high school grades rose from 4.5% to 5.1%, while the unemployment rate for bachelor’s degree and higher fell from 2.2% to 2.1%

The question now is whether the layoffs on Wall Street will end up hitting educated workers hard enough to change this equation. Finance and insurance employment is only down by 13K since November, but surely more is coming.


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