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Study finds bachelor's degree holders weathered recession better than those with less education

by Silas Allen Published: January 19, 2013

During the recession, employment decline for people with only high school diplomas was 16 percent and 11 percent for those with associate's degrees. For those with bachelor's degrees, the decline was just 7 percent.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality. The report concludes that college graduates were better protected against the worst effects of the recession than their less-educated counterparts.

“The data here are at odds with media accounts suggesting that young college graduates are finding it much more difficult to get jobs, are accepting much less desirable positions and lower wages when they can get jobs, and are increasingly ‘camping out' at home and in schools when they cannot get jobs,” the report states.

Earlier reports

The report isn't the first to suggest that higher education played a role in how young people weathered the recession. A report released in August by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce showed that almost half of the jobs lost in the recession had been recovered, and nearly all the jobs recovered required some form of postsecondary education.

According to the Georgetown report, jobs that require some college or an associate degree declined by 1.8 million during the recession. But during the recovery, 1.6 million of those jobs were recovered.

At the same time, 5.8 million jobs for those with high school credentials or less have been lost since the onset of the recession.

Oklahoma trends

Oklahoma higher education Chancellor Glen Johnson said the nationwide shift toward college-level jobs exists in Oklahoma, as well. The higher education system has made efforts in recent years to link its programs with industries that offer jobs in the state, including wind turbine technology, nursing and aerospace.

A better-educated workforce is also an asset to the state as a whole, Johnson said, because college degree attainment leads to a higher per capita income and a stronger economy overall.

“There is significant value to a person earning a college degree,” he said.

by Silas Allen
General Assignment/Breaking News Reporter
Silas Allen is a news reporter for The Oklahoman. He is a Missouri native and a 2008 graduate of the University of Missouri.
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