Study Shows College Degree's Value During Economic Downturn

Ann McClure's picture
Friday, January 11, 2013

Young adults have long faced a rough job market, but in the last recession and its aftermath, college graduates did not lose nearly as much ground as their less-educated peers, according to a new study.

The study, published on Wednesday by the Pew Charitable Trusts, shows that among Americans age 21 to 24, the drop in employment and income was much steeper among people who lacked a college degree.

The findings come as many published articles and books have told the stories of young college graduates unable to find work, and questioned the conventional wisdom that a college education is a worthwhile investment and the key to opportunity and social mobility. The study did not take into account the cost of going to college.

“This shows that any amount of post-secondary education does improve the labor market outcomes for those recent graduates,” said Diana Elliott, the research manager for Pew’s Economic Mobility Project. “This is not necessarily to discredit those individual stories.”

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