New Report Shows College Graduates Are Less Affected by COVID-19 Layoffs

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College-degree holders have lower unemployment rates during the pandemic compared to those without, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ August 2020 report.

The data, released last week, shows that employment rose by 1.4 million in August and the unemployment rate fell to 8.4 percent. Although the improvements give room for optimism, women and people of color still have higher unemployment rates with 13 percent for Black workers, nearly 11 percent for Hispanic and Asian workers, and 7.3 percent White workers.

Individuals who are 25 years old and up and earned a bachelor’s degree make up just 5.3 percent of the unemployment population. That’s compared to 8 percent who earned an associate degree or completed some college; 9.8 percent who graduated high school, but don’t hold a degree; and 12.6 who hold less than a high school diploma.

The report reveals that before and during the pandemic, adults with a college degree are significantly more likely to be an employed than those who receive less education.

“A college degree remains one of the better investments for gaining and holding meaningful employment — during good economic times or bad,” Michael T. Nietzel, retired president of Missouri State University wrote in a recent article for Forbes. “Because so many Americans still believe in the value of this investment, it might be prudent to hold off on predicting higher education’s collapse and death, and focus instead on improving its accessibility, affordability and educational quality.”