Georgetown: New jobs go to college-credentialed workers

Almost half the jobs lost in the recession have been recovered and virtually all the added jobs require a college credential of some kind, reports the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce.

“It is a tough job market for college graduates but far worse for those without a college education,” said Anthony P. Carnevale, the Georgetown Center’s director and co-author of the report.


Four-year college graduates continue to earn twice as much as high school graduates. Unemployment is relatively high for graduates, but they do much better than workers with only a high school diploma.

. . . in 2012, seven percent of graduates with a bachelor degree or better are still unemployed and another 14 percent are underemployed in jobs beneath their skill levels. By comparison, the unemployment rate for new high school graduates is 24 percent and 42 percent for those individuals are underemployed.

Jobs that require bachelor’s degrees have been the big winner, increasing by 2.2 million jobs since the recession began.

Those jobs that required some college or an associate’s degree declined by 1.8 million in the recession but have regained 1.6 million of those job losses since the recovery began in 2010. At the same time 5.8 million jobs for those with high school or less have been lost since the recession began.

“In the mid 1970s, less than 30 percent of jobs in America required any education beyond high school,” said Jamie P. Merisotis, president and chief executive officer of Lumina Foundation. “Today, the majority of U.S. jobs require a postsecondary degree or credential.”

In blue-collar sectors, which took the brunt of the recession, college-educated workers were much less likely to lose their jobs. For example, 25 percent of construction workers with high school diplomas were laid off compared to two percent of college graduates.

College enrollment jumped sharply in the recession, peaking in 2009 but has fallen off rapidly since then. Since 2006, the rate of increase in male enrollment has caught up and slightly surpassed the rate of increase in female enrollment.

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