Department of Labor Logo United States Department of Labor
Dot gov

The .gov means it's official.
Federal government websites often end in .gov or .mil. Before sharing sensitive information, make sure you're on a federal government site.


The site is secure.
The https:// ensures that you are connecting to the official website and that any information you provide is encrypted and transmitted securely.

Career Outlook article page

data on display logo

Data on display
Education pays, 2023

April 2024

If you’re wondering whether it pays to stay in school, take a look at data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS): As workers’ educational attainment rises, their unemployment rates decrease and earnings increase.

As the charts show, workers age 25 and over who have less education than a high school diploma had the highest unemployment rate (5.6 percent) and lowest median weekly earnings ($708) in 2023 among those at all education levels. Workers with graduate degrees had the lowest unemployment rates and highest earnings.

Earnings and unemployment rates by educational attainment, 2023

These data come from the BLS Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly survey that collects information about the labor force, including age, sex, and other characteristics. Earnings data are for full-time wage and salary workers.

Each level of education you complete may help you develop more skills, give you access to higher paying occupations, and signal that you’re able to follow through on important tasks, such as planning ahead and meeting deadlines, that employers value. Other factors affecting employment and earnings include geographic location, experience, and hours worked. BLS data and information can help you understand some of these factors. For example, the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) provides information on wages, typical education requirements, and the projected job outlook for hundreds of occupations.


Suggested citation:

"Education pays, 2023," Career Outlook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, April 2024.

PRINT print article