Economic Snapshot: Education by the Numbers

Current Economic Data


Q4-’12 Q1-’13 Q2-’13 Q3-’13
Growth Rate—Real GDP 0.1% 1.1% 2.5%  NA*
Inflation Rate—Consumer Price Index 2.2% 1.4% -0.0% NA
Civilian Unemployment Rate 7.8% 7.7% 7.6% NA

*Advance estimates were not available because of the October government shutdown.  Please see the online version for updates.

SOURCE: GDP,  Bureau of Economic Analysis; www.bea.gov;
Unemployment rate and consumer price index, Bureau of Labor Statistics; www.bls.gov.

 

1. According to the graph below, how has the percentage of high school graduates who enroll in college changed recently?

From 1998 to 2010, the percentage of high school graduates who enrolled in college increased slightly. (This is a continuation of a long-run trend.)

Percentage of High School Graduates Enrolled in Two- or Four-Year Colleges Immediately Following High School Graduation

SOURCE:  National Center for Educational Statistics, Condition of Education, 2012. http://media.collegeboard.com/digitalServices/pdf/advocacy/cca/12b-6368_CCAProgressReport_WR.pdf.

NOTE: High school completers refer to those who received a high school diploma or equivalency certificate. This indicator provides data on high school completers age 16 to 24, who account for about 98 percent of all high school completers in a given year.

 

2. According to the graph below, what is the unemployment rate of recent college graduates by level of degree and gender?    

From 2007 to 2011, the unemployment rate for those with a bachelor’s degree was higher than for those with an advanced degree. In both categories, women had lower unemployment rates than men (except for women with an advanced degree in 2009). 

Unemployment Rates of Recent College Graduates Ages 20 to 29 by Degree and Gender

SOURCE:  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2013/ted_20130405.htm

 

3. According to the chart below, how has the education level of individuals changed since 1940?  

From 1940 to 2009, the percentage of the population ages 25 to 34 with a bachelor’s degree or higher increased from 6 percent to 32 percent, while the percentage of high school dropouts decreased from 64 percent to 12 percent. 

Education Level of Individuals Ages 25 to 34

SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau and
http://trends.collegeboard.org/education-pays/figures-tables/educational-attainment-over-time-1940-2009.

 

4. According to the chart below, what is the breakdown of degrees earned by recent college graduates?

Almost 82 percent of recent college graduates earned a bachelor’s degree. The remainder earned an advanced degree.

Recent College Graduates Ages 20 to 29 by Degree

NOTE: Recent college graduates refer to persons age 20 to 29 who completed a bachelor’s, master’s, professional, or doctoral degree in the calendar year of the survey (Jan. through Oct.). In Oct. 2011, recent college graduates totaled 1.3 million.

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2013/02/art1full.pdf.

 

5. According to the chart below, what is the trend for college graduates working in jobs that do not require a degree?

Since 2007, the percentage of college graduates working in jobs that do not require a degree increased roughly 10 percent. However, for 2013 a slight 0.3 percent decrease is projected.

Recent Graduates with Jobs That Do Not Require a Degree

NOTE: *Through May.

SOURCE: Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University
http://www.northeastern.edu/news/in-the-news/recent-college-grads-face-36-mal-employment-rate/.

 

6. According to the chart below, what is the correlation between (i) education and unemployment and (ii) education and earnings?

There is a positive correlation between educational attainment and median weekly earnings. There is a negative correlation between educational attainment and the unemployment rate.  

Earnings and Unemployment Rates by Educational Attainment

SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey

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