Workers with no college degree or higher education were the hardest hit during the economic recession that began in December 2007, according to a new study from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
About four out of five jobs destroyed in the recession were positions held by individuals with a high school diploma or less.
“It is a tough job market for college graduates but far worse for those without a college education,” said Anthony P. Carnevale, the Georgetown Center’s director and co-author of the report, in a statement.
Whereas 7 percent of graduates with a bachelor’s degree or better are unemployed, the unemployment rate for new high school graduates is three times worse at 24 percent, the study showed.
As expensive tuition rates and heavy debts become an even bigger burden on students, some have called into question the value of a college education. But the study indicates that college degrees are still hugely valuable in today’s competitive workforce.
During the recession, those with bachelor’s degree or better actually gained 200,000 jobs, while people with high school degrees or less lost 5.6 million jobs.
The recession also served as a “college wake-up call” for men, who previously were lagging behind women in getting postsecondary education. Hit harder during the past few years, men are now jumping to enroll in college faster than women.
Overall, the study makes a clear point: stay in school. College graduates not only fared better during the recession but have also led the recovery, as more than 2 million jobs created during the past two years have gone to these individuals.
“At a time when more and more people are debating the value of postsecondary education, this data shows that your chances of being unemployed increase dramatically without a college degree,” Carnevale said.
Do you think having a college degree (or higher) is worth it? Let us know in the comments.
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Kelly Zhou hails from the Bay Area and is currently a student in Los Angeles. She has written on a variety of topics, predominantly focusing on politics and education. Email Kelly | @kelllyzhou | TakePart.com