The recession we’ve been through has been so long and so deep that it has touched virtually everyone. Yet the impact has not been felt equally. How has the recession’s impacts varied with a person’s education level? N.C. State University economist Mike Walden answers.
“Well, that’s a very good question … . Now as you know, I teach college-level students, and a lot of them have been very pessimistic when they look ahead to getting a job, because they have friends or relatives who’ve gotten a college degree recently (and) have not been able to find a job. And so I think that goes along with your point that this recession really did touch everyone.
“However, what I tell them – and what the data supports is – that you’re much better off out there in the job market, even though it may be difficult with a college degree than without one.
“Let me give you some numbers. And these recently came from the Pew Charitable Trust Survey. If we look at the employment rate for young workers – and this is a study that focused on young workers with a high school degree – that employment rate dropped 8 percentage points during the recession. Young workers with an associate’s degree, the employment rated during the recession dropped 7 percentage points. However, however for young workers with a bachelor’s degree, they did suffer employment loss, but their employment rate dropped only 4 percent – about half of what it was for those with an associate’s egree and those with a high school degree.
“So the bottom line here is, even in the worst of times, education appears to still pay.”