Majority of unemployed went to college, new data shows


Stephen Greene works a street corner hoping to land a job as a laborer or carpenter on June 3, 2011 in Pompano Beach, Florida.


Joe Raedle

For the first time in US history, the majority of unemployed workers 25 years and older have either attended some college or graduated.

Out of the 9 million unemployed Americans in April, 4.7 million had gone to college or graduated and 4.3 million had not, new seasonally adjusted Labor Department data shows.

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That is a swing of more than 2 million since the start of another economic recovery in 1992, when 4.1 million who hadn't gone to college were jobless vs. 2.3 million jobless who had, Investors Business Daily reported.

The jobless rate for those 25 and up with some college but no degree was 8 percent in April compared with 6.6 percent for that age group as a whole. Unemployment stood at 7.7 percent for 25-and-up high school grads with no college and 6.2 percent for those with a two-year college degree, according to the Labor Department.

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The shift reflects more people attending college now than 10 years ago, and a growing number of older Americans who were less likely to pursue higher education exiting the work force, according to Investors Business Daily.

In 2011, 57 percent of workers 25 years and older had attended some college compared with 43 percent in 1992. High school dropout rates fell from 21 percent to 12 percent during that time, Investors Business Daily reported.

However, college dropout rates are also on the rise, with just 56 percent of those who start a bachelor's degree finishing within six years and 29 percent of those pursuing an associate's degree finishing in three years, The Atlantic reported.