Monday, February 15, 2010

Every picture tells a story

Found at EconomPic (h/t). The blue line represents those with less than high school education, the red line represents those holding a high school diploma or equivalent, the yellow line represents those who have some college education, and the green line represents those who hold a 4-year degree or higher. There are probably numerous interpretations for the data. Yglesias concludes that while the labor market for those with college degrees is bad historical standards, it's not catastrophically so. On the other hand, dropping out of high school is probably a bad idea regardless of the state of the economy. Right now, the market for unskilled manual labor is about nil.

Of course those holding college degrees may simply be taking jobs that under better circumstances they never would have taken in order to get by, hence making the relatively low unemployment rate less impressive than would appear at first glance.

Note: Calculated Risk also has a graph that breaks down employment data by income level. Basically, the economic mess we've lived with has deeply affected those of us in households making less than $40k per year (unemployment and underemployment for those households below $20k are actually at depression levels), but having next to no effect on households pulling in six-figure incomes.

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