Highly educated less likely to be unemployed

Government data suggest that education is increasingly crucial in protecting workers from unemployment.

The difference in joblessness between the country's least educated people and most educated people increased during the recession, according to statistics from the Labor Department. People without a high school diploma remain more than three times as likely to be unemployed than are college graduates.

The increases in the unemployment rate, from December 2007 through August:

• 7.8 percent to 14 percent for people who did not graduate from high school

• 4.7 percent to 10.3 percent for those with just a high school diploma


• 3.9 percent to 8.7 percent for people with some college

• 2.1 percent to 4.6 percent for those with bachelor's or more advanced degrees

The gap between the jobless rates of the most educated and those with less education is wider now. More unemployed people without a high school diploma may also have stopped looking for work, meaning they're not counted in the government's main jobless rate.

"This unemployment data, I think, supports the notion that the less educated would be more impacted by a downturn," said Jim Borbely, an economist with the Labor Department.

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