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Unemployment Rate for Workers Without High School Degrees Hits Record Low

The unemployment rate for workers without a high school degree fell to 5.1 percent in July, the lowest rate since the Bureau of Labor Statistics adjusted its educated measures in 1992.

This is 1.9 percentage points below its year ago rate.

Less educated workers have been the big gainers in terms of employment in the last few years of the recovery.

While the unemployment rate for workers with less than a high school degree is well below the prerecession level and even its 2000 low, the unemployment rate for workers with a college degree, at 2.2 percent, is still above its prerecession low of 1.8 percent and well above its 2000 low of 1.5 percent.

Workers with only a high school degree also seem to be doing relatively better, with a 4.0 percent unemployment rate matching the prerecession low (it had been 3.9 percent in May), although still above the 3.2 percent low hit in 1999.

The idea that the labor market is becoming increasingly tilted to favor more educated workers does not appear to be supported by the employment data.

Numerous job websites indicate strong supply and demand for non degree jobs.

The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) is an independent, nonpartisan think tank that was established to promote democratic debate on the most important economic and social issues that affect people’s lives.

Check out Jobs Byte for a more detailed data analysis including graphics.


For more information contact: Karen Conner – – (202) 293-5380 x117

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