What information do you have on the employment rates of college graduates?
Focusing on 25- to 34-year-olds, this Fast Fact examines recent trends in the employment rate. The employment rate (also known as the employment to population ratio) is the percentage of persons in the civilian noninstitutionalized population who are employed.1
In 2019, the employment rate was higher for those with higher levels of educational attainment. For example, the employment rate was highest for 25- to 34-year-olds with a bachelor’s or higher degree (87 percent). The employment rate for those with some college2 (80 percent) was higher than the rate for those who had completed high school3 (74 percent), which was higher than the employment rate for those who had not completed high school (57 percent). The same pattern was observed among both sexes. For example, the employment rate for females was highest for those with a bachelor’s or higher degree (83 percent) and lowest for those who had not completed high school (39 percent).
Employment rates of 25- to 34-year-olds, by sex and educational attainment: 2019
NOTE: Data are based on sample surveys of the civilian noninstitutionalized population, which excludes persons living in institutions (e.g., prisons or nursing facilities) and all military personnel. The employment rate, or employment to population ratio, is the number of persons in each group who are employed as a percentage of the civilian population in that group. “Some college, no bachelor’s degree” includes persons with an associate’s degree. “High school completion” includes equivalency credentials, such as the GED. Although rounded numbers are displayed, the figures are based on unrounded data.
From December 2007 through June 2009, the U.S. economy experienced a recession.4 For 25- to 34-year-olds overall, the employment rate was lower in 2010 (73 percent), immediately after the recession, than in 2000 (82 percent), prior to the recession. The employment rate increased after 2010, reaching 79 percent in 2019; however, the rate in 2019 was still lower than the rate in 2000. During these years, the same patterns in employment rates were observed for those at most levels of educational attainment. For instance, for those who had completed high school, the employment rate was lower in 2010 (68 percent) than in 2000 (80 percent). Although the employment rate then increased to 74 percent in 2019, this rate was still lower than the rate in 2000. The only exception was for those who had not completed high school, where there was no measurable difference between the employment rates in 2010 and 2019.
1 Data in this Fast Fact are based on sample surveys of the civilian noninstitutionalized population, which excludes persons living in institutions (e.g., prisons or nursing facilities) and excludes all military personnel.
2 In this Fast Fact, "some college" includes those with an associate's degree and those who have attended college but have not obtained a bachelor's degree.
3 Includes equivalency credentials, such as the GED.
4 National Bureau of Economic Research. (2010). U.S. Business Cycle Expansions and Contractions. Retrieved October 22, 2018, from http://www.nber.org/cycles.html.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2020). The Condition of Education 2020 (NCES 2020-144), Employment and Unemployment Rates by Educational Attainment.
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