More evidence that having a four-year degree or more is the most reliable pathway to employment in today’s economy. The table below displays data on the employment rate –– the proportion of the population that is employed –– for those in their prime working years –– 25-64 –– by education attainment in Michigan and the country in 2011 and in Michigan in 2007 –– the last year before the Great Recession.
The employment rate is a better measure than the unemployment rate because it takes off the table those who are too discouraged to look for work and therefore are not counted. Its a straight forward measure of within a cohort what proportion have a job . The data are clear. The higher your education the more likely you are to have a job, both here and even more so across the country. And here before and after the Great Recession. Maybe most important the advantage is greater today than it was before the onset of the Great Recession. Having a four year degree or more was the best defense against not finding a job in the strongest downturn since the Great Depression.
The gap between those with a four year degree or more compared to those with some college or an Associates Degree (the kind of mid skill workers that are supposedly now most in demand by employers) grew from 7.8 percentage points to 11.8. So much for the new conventional wisdom that we have too many with four year degrees or more.