Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education levels and unemployment at end of 2008

April 01, 2009

In 2008, individuals with less education experienced greater percentage-point increases in their unemployment rates than their more educated counterparts did.

Unemployment rates, by educational attainment, seasonally adjusted, fourth quarter 2007 and fourth quarter 2008
[Chart data—TXT]

The unemployment rate for individuals 25 years and older with less than a high school diploma increased from 7.5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2007 to 10.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008. The jobless rate for high school graduates with no college rose by 2.4 percentage points, to 7.0 percent, the highest quarterly rate since the series began in 1992.

The unemployment rate for those with some college or an associate’s degree increased by 2.0 percentage points, to 5.5 percent. Among college graduates, the unemployment rate increased by 1.2 percentage points, to 3.3 percent, equal to the previous peak in the fourth quarter of 1992.

These data are from the Current Population Survey. For more information on labor market trends in 2008, see "U.S. labor market in 2008: economy in recession," (PDF) by James Marschall Borbely, Monthly Labor Review, March 2009.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Education levels and unemployment at end of 2008 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2009/mar/wk5/art03.htm (visited January 21, 2022).

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