NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Education and Jobs Growth

September 14, 1998

  • From 1980 to 1996, employment in sectors where at least 30 percent of U.S. full-time workers have college degrees rose at a 2.6 percent rate in the U.S. and at an average 2.2 percent pace in France, West Germany, Britain and Italy.
  • But in sectors with less than 30 percent college graduates, employment shrank in all four European countries, while climbing at a nearly 1 percent annual rate in the U.S.
  • Since the majority of workers in both the U.S. and Europe are in lower-education sectors, Europe's lagging job growth has clearly been concentrated in such industries.

Analysts cite several labor market factors that have probably contributed to this situation -- Europe's high minimum wages, labor regulations which impose high costs to get rid of workers, and regulations which inhibit expansion in retail and other service industries.


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