Chart of the Week: How Does the Unemployment Rate Vary Based on Educational Attainment?

May 29, 2015
Career, Paying for College, Question of the Day, Research, Current Events, Chart of the Week

From WSJ:

Unemployment rate

Questions for students:

  • What key takeaways do you glean from this chart? What phrase might you use to summarize the chart?
  • What do you think lead to the spike in unemployment rates in 2009 across all educational levels?
  • What do you notice about the unemployment rate for “Some College” compared to “High School degree”?  Do employers value students who start college but don’t earn a degree?
  • Does a college degree become more/less valuable during challenging economic times?  (Hint: compare differences in unemployment in 2009 (a challenging economic time) vs. 2015)
  • Unemployment rates provide one way to look at value of education.  What might be other measures that you would be interested in to see the value of education?


Check out the NGPF Activity in which students calculate the value of a college education

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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