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Some educational effects on employment


Since the end of the Great Recession in June 2009, labor markets have improved dramatically. National unemployment rates have fallen from 10 percent to 4.9 percent. In no small part, this has been driven by the roughly 10 million new jobs created. Even so, labor market improvements haven’t been evenly distributed across the U.S. population: Those with higher levels of education have done much better than those with lower levels.

The graph shows the total, post-recession change in employment for workers over 25 years of age grouped by level of education. In the first year after the recession, few if any new jobs were created for anyone, regardless of education. After the first year, jobs steadily increased for those with a bachelor’s degree or higher. And it took another year for labor markets to improve for those with some college or an associate’s degree.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for those with, at most, a high school education. Since the end of the recession, these individuals continue to experience no net job growth. Labor markets have not improved for everyone.

How this graph was created: Search for “Employment Level” and select the following tags (in the left sidebar): “education,” “25 years +,” and “sa.” Select the four series and click “Add to Graph.” Edit the range of the graph to start in June 2009 using the controls in the top right-hand corner or the sliding bar below the graph. Because we want to see how employment has changed since the end of the recession, we need to change employment levels to cumulative changes in employment since June 2009. Here’s how we do that: For each series, find the June 2009 value and subtract it by using the “Create your own data transformation” field: For example, for “Employment Level: Bachelor’s Degree and Higher, 25 years and over,” the June 2009 value is 43,362; so you will apply the formula a-43362. After transforming each series, if the y-axis title and y-axis labels overlap, reduce the general font size in the “Graph Settings” menu.

Suggested by Michael McCracken and Joseph McGillicuddy.

View on FRED, series used in this post: LNS12027659, LNS12027660, LNS12027662, LNS12027689


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