Employment Remains High Among Educated and Skilled Workers
November 2, 2001
The economic slowdown is expected to be reflected in a rise in unemployment figures. However, experts say that looking deeper, beyond the changes in total employment, reveals a continuation in a long-term shift in the economy to occupations and sectors that require more education and skills.
- While total employment declined by 165,000 over the past 12 months ending September 2001, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, most of the job loss was concentrated in the traditional areas of production, craft and agriculture.
- Those sectors lost almost 1 million jobs; by contrast, employment in managerial, technical and professional occupations -- jobs at the core of the changing economy -- grew by 636,000.
- The net loss of 165,000 jobs masks massive shifts in employment -- a total of 2.7 million new jobs were created in 27 different industry sectors while nearly 2.9 million jobs were lost in 24 other industry sectors.
These trends point to a continuing critical need for skills and education. Between September 2000 and September 2001, more than 944,000 new jobs went to applicants with post-secondary training. Meanwhile, job losses of 1.1 million were concentrated among workers with no post-secondary education.
- Thus, during the past 12 months, the unemployment rate for persons with less than a high school diploma has spiked from 5.6 percent to 7.1 percent.
- The rate for workers with college degrees remains at a low 2 percent, which is effectively full employment.
- In contrast, workers with some college education but no degree had a rate of 4.2 percent, which experts say reinforces the importance of demonstrated and certifiable accomplishments and skills.
The overall unemployment rate for September 2001 was 4.9 percent.
Source: News Release, "Changing U.S. Economy Places Emphasis On Education and Skills," October 31, 2001, Employment Policy Foundation, 1015 15th St, N.W., Suite 1200, Washington, D.C. 20005, (202) 789-8685.
Browse more articles on Economic Issues