The Breakdown

Explaining Southern California's economy

If you want a job in this economy, education is a must

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41504 full

In the wake of this morning's bad jobs report from the Labor Department, there's been some discussion in various media outlets about the gap between the unemployment rate for Americans over 25 with limited education and those with a college degree. This comes from the BLS's breakdown of the monthly data, which you can see here.

I've turned the headline number into a simple chart, above. And I've used the seasonally adjusted numbers, just to simplify.

As you can see, having less than a high-school education is a job-getting disaster. But if you follow the line, you'll notice that having that high-school diploma gets you only to the the current national unemployment rate, roughly: 8.4 percent, while the U.S. level is now 8.2 percent.

"Some college" doesn't even push it down that far: 7.5 percent.

But a bachelor's degree mean you join the slice of society that effectively at "full employment," as economists put it: job seekers and employers are being matched up efficiently by the market.

This is more evidence that education, on balance, is perhaps the best investment a person can make in his or her future. But you have to get the college degree to see the serious benefits.

Follow Matthew DeBord and the DeBord Report on Twitter. And ask Matt questions at Quora.

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