New data on how people with and without college degrees have fared in the Great Recession has just been published by Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce. The news for those with a high school education or less is grim while those with advanced degrees or bachelors degrees have fared better. Let's look at the data and graphs - all from the Center's Report Weathering the Economic Storm.
The first graph shows job loss during the recession and now during the slow recovery. Net job loss for people with bachelors degrees or better was small during the recession and the recovery has added some two million jobs in this category. Associate degree or some college lost jobs during the recession but have gained all back in the last two years. However, high school or less jobs were reduced by 5.6 Million without any growth in the recovery.
Next let's at change in employment over a longer period of time from Jan 1989 to February 2012. Job growth among the most educated is strong, that of those with some college comes next and those with a high school education or less show a net loss of jobs.
So the graphs show that the benefit of a college education continued during the Great Recession and difficult recovery that we are now in. So the reason for soaring college enrollment is clear - the opportunity for a good job in this time of high unemployment.