Friday, February 5, 2010

Employment by Education Attainment

This clearly shows the growing differentiation within the U.S. of the "haves" and "have nots".

Source: BLS


  1. Are you saying that education level is an indication of wealth? Or are you saying that unskilled labor is in decline? It would be interesting to see percentage of workforce with a specific educational level over time as that might help disambiguate percentages from raw numbers.

  2. Let me get this straight: People who are educated and trained are more capable at making money than those that are unskilled and uneducated? What's the problem?

  3. mentat- definitely the latter and anon, this has nothing to do with money. it has to do with ability to get any job, at any salary, based on education. it is more likely a shift in demand for highly educated service oriented workers vs. manual labor. in the recent downturn, my guess is in a number of case educated individuals took the lower paying jobs that typically went to less educated (i.e. they traded down) and those less educated simply are out of work.

    there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of this if everyone had the same opportunity to receive the same level of education. that is simply not the case (due both to ways in which individuals are brought up, wealth of the family, social services, and the structure of our society more broadly).

    rather than ranting about it as i know i will not influence anyone who agrees or disagrees with me, that is my belied.

  4. I want to see this further broken down by post-baccalaureate and also by whether the college degree is in humanities or a technology field.

    Not only is more education better, but education in a demanding field is best, IMO.

  5. This line "education in a demanding field is best" summarizes everything. I am 99.99% positive that this guy is a technology guy.

    A humanities guy wouldn't declare one more or less demanding, but rather equal and dependent on the individual studying that profession.

  6. Of course it's trading down. It's why a PhD is lucky to have a 10hr a week clerical job - the educational requirement for it having been typing.

  7. Would someone direct me to a chart and/or stats that relate to age? Thanks in advance.
    Education (and experience) mean squat as you get older in my non-profit cultural institutions employment experience...retired early and feel as free and scared as a teenager.

  8. Some humanities majors are in hi tech. (BTW We are the ones that can talk to other humans and not seem like self important jerks.) How should that be broken down?

    This chart -coupled with the rising costs of a college education, portend a future that will look more like economic feudalism than a middle class American dream.

  9. I have a master's degree (MFA) and I'm working as a secretary so, yes, the point here is that highly-educated people are taking jobs that don't require that much education because, well, they need jobs. When you have overqualified people working as bookstore clerks because they were laid off and can't find anything else, that squeezes out the people who have less education and leaves them jobless.

    Trust me, a BA is not required to do my job, much less an MFA, but it's all I could get.

  10. (BTW We are the ones that can talk to other humans and not seem like self important jerks.)

    Irony is not dead, I see.

  11. One of the problems that these statistics bear put is how the problems of unemployment do not get enough attention from our political and media classes. They are all college educated and have advanced degrees, as are everyone else they know, so they figure, "I have a job, my friends have jobs, the economy must be ok!" Because unemployment is so uneven, it means a lot of people are out of touch when it comes to how bad things are out there.

  12. Below the chart is SOURCE: BLS. If you click this link and then go below that chart to Table of Contents and click that, you will get a much more detailed breakdown.

  13. I'm working for a quarter less than I was three years ago. At least it is still in the same field. Meanwhile, a lot of truly incompetent Ph.D's are kept in positions where they prevent success. The whole system is messed up.

    It would be curious to see underemployment numbers broken down this way. I am taking a job that essentially a kid out of college would normally get. It is incredibly frustrating to go from run projects to be entirely unable to positively direct the project at all. For far less money, and no hope of moving forward.

  14. Now let's see the figures for each group based on wage levels.

    I'm a fool, but being employed at Wal-Mart with a bachelors degree in engineering seems like pure economic suicide for college grads.

    I recently received a desperate request for money from a friend. Bachelors degree in English and qualified to teach. Working 35 hours per week in two separate fast food joints for minimum wage, is he counted as two employed highest education level?

    The thirtyfive hours is so he can't get benefits.

    He is lucky not to have student loans since his parents are both professionals and they had an education fund for both of their children, but they had to declare bankruptcy because a cancer became a "pre existing condition."

    Given the glacial slowness of change in government recording systems when the feds are listening to everyone, you would think that some of the underutilized talent could be used to create more accurate data on all fronts.

    Oops. only republicans are allowed to hire insane numbers of politically connected idiots instead of qualified experts.

    Merit system under the oligarchs only means hire people that support out desires at all levels. See Liberty University law school and justice department political correctness litmus test.

  15. Interviewing and presenting oneself for a job is a skill, too, not always related to the qualifications for the job itself. Someone who has been to college and has learned to conform to acceptable manners, behavior, dialect, and to create professional-appearing written materials - letters, resumes, etc. - is naturally going to be more competitive for a job, whether it's working at WalMart or being CFO.

    I'm not saying it's fair or it's good, but such nuances make a difference as employers rank candidates. If you receive 25 resumes submitted for a single position, you're naturally going to rank them in order of the quality of the presentation as well as the content.

  16. Man, it is confusing reading comments by so many different authors, all using the id "Anonymous..." It's like reading the ravings of someone with multiple personalities.

    And now I've added yet another!

  17. The answer then is that everyone should go to college, preferably the Ivy League, flagship state universities like Michigan, Cal-Berkeley, and Texas, and major private research universities of Ivy caliber like Duke, Stanford, MIT, Wash U and Emory. It's that simple. How does Nike put it? Just do it.