Why Education Matters: Updated Numbers on Unemployment by Ed Level

July 6, 2012 by Emsi Burning Glass

image of Lightcast gradiant

If you missed the latest jobs report, well, you didn’t miss much. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.2% (and the broader unemployment measure, the U-6, increased to 14.9%). Private payrolls continue to increase (+84,000), and the government continues to shrink its workforce (-4,000) — especially at the federal level.

An always-interesting element of the jobs report is the unemployment rate by education level for adults (aged 25 and over). As we show in the chart below, every group tracked by the BLS is better off now than in June 2011 — and all are in significantly better position than they were in June 2009.

These are year-over-year numbers (not seasonally adjusted) for every June dating back to 2002.

It’s worth noting that that jobless rate for those with at least a bachelor’s degree is 4.1%, less than one percentage higher than in 2003. Nothing new here, but the recession and so-called jobless recovery have impacted those with less education far more than educated workers.

To illustrate this trend, the following table lists the 20 occupations that have lost the most total jobs since 2008 in the US. In all, these occupations have shed more than 2.3 million jobs since ’08. And only one, general and operations managers, requires on average a postsecondary degree. The rest are mostly low-skilled occupations — or, as in the case of electricians and plumbers, occupations that demand significant work experience/on-the-job training.

SOC CodeDescription2008 Jobs2012 JobsChange% Change2011 Median Hourly WageEducation Level53-7062Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand2,275,9752,044,006-231,969-10%$11.13Short-term on-the-job training47-2031Carpenters832,549618,852-213,697-26%$19.93Long-term on-the-job training41-2031Retail Salespersons4,316,8274,156,980-159,847-4%$9.81Short-term on-the-job training51-2092Team Assemblers1,083,197928,792-154,405-14%$12.91Moderate-term on-the-job training11-1021General and Operations Managers1,754,0761,605,421-148,655-8%$45.29Bachelor's or higher degree, plus work experience47-2061Construction Laborers924,326778,414-145,912-16%$15.10Moderate-term on-the-job training47-2111Electricians625,192504,351-120,841-19%$23.67Long-term on-the-job training41-4012Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Except Technical and Scientific Products1,475,9261,360,639-115,287-8%$24.69Work experience in a related occupation43-6014Secretaries, Except Legal, Medical, and Executive1,915,8261,806,763-109,063-6%$14.58Moderate-term on-the-job training47-1011First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers570,440469,985-100,455-18%$28.37Work experience in a related occupation53-3032Truck Drivers, Heavy and Tractor-Trailer1,624,4651,524,796-99,669-6%$18.08Short-term on-the-job training43-9061Office Clerks, General3,023,4362,930,064-93,372-3%$12.62Short-term on-the-job training41-2011Cashiers3,476,6813,388,786-87,895-3%$8.47Short-term on-the-job training43-5071Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks754,977667,936-87,041-12%$13.59Short-term on-the-job training51-1011First-Line Supervisors/Managers of Production and Operating Workers640,310554,895-85,415-13%$25.14Work experience in a related occupation43-3031Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks1,835,0151,751,376-83,639-5%$16.21Moderate-term on-the-job training37-2011Janitors and Cleaners, Except Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners2,173,9712,094,569-79,402-4%$10.70Short-term on-the-job training53-3033Truck Drivers, Light or Delivery Services876,138803,993-72,145-8%$13.65Short-term on-the-job training53-7064Packers and Packagers, Hand752,815681,911-70,904-9%$9.41Short-term on-the-job training47-2152Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters427,983359,132-68,851-16%$23.38Long-term on-the-job trainingSource: EMSI Covered Employment 2012.1

Find out more about EMSI here and reach us via Twitter @DesktopEcon. Specific questions can be directed to Josh Wright (jwright@economicmodeling.com).