No Surprise: BLS Says That It Pays To Earn Your Degree

-- bureau of labor statistics graph - education related to employment --The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently posted a pretty interesting graph that illustrates the value of staying in school.

The graph, titled "Education Pays", breaks down 2008 unemployment rates based on the level of education attained, as well as median weekly earnings for each group. This information only takes in account those who are 25 and older - so, for instance, students who are still in high school aren't included.

It should come as no shock to find out that the highest unemployment rate belonged to those who do not have a high school diploma.

In 2008, this group posted an unemployment rate of 9.0%, which was much higher than those who had graduated from high school and decided to enroll in college for at least a short period of time (5.7%).

It also shouldn't surprise you to hear that people without a high school diploma also earned the least amount of money per week (just $426 on average).

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the doctoral degree group posted an average unemployment rate of 2.0% in 2008. Not surprisingly, they also made the most money ($1,555).

The "Professional Degree" group possessed the lowest average unemployment rate in 2008, clocking in at just 1.7%. This group did nearly as well as those with doctoral degrees in terms of their earning power ($1,522).

The entire list looked like this:

Level of Education, Unemployment Rate (2008), Median Weekly Earnings (2008)

Doctoral Degree, 2.0%, $1,555
Professional Degree, 1.7%, $1,522
Master's Degree, 2.4%, $1,228
Bachelor's Degree, 2.8%, $978
Associate Degree, 3.7%, $736
Some College, no degree, 5.1%, $645
High School Graduate, 5.7%, $591
Less Than a High School Diploma, 9.0%, $426

A few things jump out at me:

1. The difference between those with a Bachelor's Degree and those who attended college but did not finish. Finish out your degree and you will earn over 50% more money, according to the BLS.

2. 9.0% unemployment rate in 2008 for those who hadn't obtained a high school diploma? I wonder what that number is as of May 2009?

3. Is a doctoral degree worth it? Is it worth spending an additional 4-5 years in school, and racking up an exorbitant amount of student loan debt? It seems that way - according to this data, people with doctoral degrees earn nearly 60% more than those with just a Bachelor's degree.

It will be interesting to see where these numbers end up by the end of 2009.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics - Education Pays..

Filed under: General Knowledge

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