Saturday, February 24, 2018
Opinion

On jobs, grads are glad

This chart, based on jobs numbers released last week, shows that there are fewer jobs now for people with a high school degree or less — and that nearly all of the job gains since December 2007 have gone to workers with at least some college. Two writers interpret that news.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, via Haver Analytics

How to read this chart: It starts with a baseline of 100 in December 2007. College graduates are now at 109, which means that for every 100 jobs held by college graduates back then, there are 109 graduates working now. Conversely, for every 100 jobs held by workers with only a high school diploma in 2007, there are only 91 such workers now.

At the Atlantic, Matthew O'Brien writes:

As you can see in the chart of workers 25 and older, college grads are the only group that has net added jobs in the past 5½ years. Here's the story of our polarized labor market in two acts. During the recession, college graduates didn't lose many jobs, while everyone else did. But during the recovery, college grads have gained the most jobs, while everyone else mostly hasn't. Look at the bottom two lines again. People without any postsecondary education not only got hit hardest during the downturn, but have also gotten hit during the upturn. In other words, they have even lost jobs during the recovery. Remember that the next time a college grad tells you college isn't worth it anymore. (Read more at tinyurl.com/tbtimes-collegejobs1.)

At the New York Times, Catherine Rampell writes:

Of course, just because college graduates have jobs doesn't mean they have "good" jobs. There is ample evidence that employers are hiring college-educated workers to perform jobs that don't actually require college-level skills — positions like receptionists, file clerks, waitresses and car rental agents. This form of underemployment might be one reason why we see so much growth in employment among college graduates despite the fact that the bulk of the jobs created in the last few years have been low-wage and low-skilled. Clearly positions in retail and food services are not the best use of the hard-earned (and expensive!) skills of college-educated workers. But at least those graduates are finding work and income of some kind, unlike their less-educated peers. And as the economy improves, college graduates will be better situated to find promotions to jobs that do use their more advanced skills and that pay better wages. (Read more at tinyurl.com/tbtimes-collegejobs2.)

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