Most unemployed Americans attended at least some college, for the first time ever


For the first time in history, there are now more unemployed Americans who attended at least some college than people who only graduated high school or dropped out of high school,Bureau of Labor Statistics data show.
Seasonally unadjusted BLS data from April show that about 4.7 million of the nation’s 9 million unemployed either graduated from a four-year or a two-year college program or attended college for some time before dropping out. A smaller 4.3 million share of America’s unemployed graduated only from high school or didn’t finish high school. Jed Graham from Investor’s Business Daily graphed the change.
[Related: Is college still worth it?]
This isn’t necessarily bad news for college-bound kids, however. First of all, less educated people are more likely to not be counted as officially unemployed because they’ve dropped out of the labor force and stopped looking for work altogether. (Millions of these people are referred to as “discouraged workers,” and they don’t show up in monthly unemployment reports.) Secondly, less than 4 percent of college graduates over the age of 25 were unemployed in April, a far smaller share than the 7.9 percent unemployment rate for high school grads. High school drop outs, meanwhile, faced 12.5 percent unemployment.
But what the surprising statistic does show is that attending some college without attaining either an associates degree or a bachelors can leave people saddled with debt but facing similar jobless rates as those with only a high school diploma. The unemployment rate in April for people who attended some college but did not receive a degree was 8 percent, nearly the same rate high school graduates faced.
Many American colleges do a fairly dismal job of getting their students to graduate, especially for-profit schools and community colleges, which tend to serve poorer and part-time students. At for profits, only 22 percent of students will get a bachelors in six years, compared to a 55 percent graduation rate at four-year public colleges, writes The Education Trust in a November 2010 report. And fewer than 10 percent of community college students graduate with an associates degree in three years, according to a 2009 study from the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems.
[Related: Family spends $1.5 million on college for 5 kids]
Lastly, this sea change also reflects the big increase in the share of Americans who at least try to get a college degree. According to the Census Bureau, 58 percent of Americans have attended some college, with about 30 percent of people overall attaining a bachelor’s degree. Twenty years earlier, only 43 percent Americans had attended some college or had graduated.


Blah. I believe all this to be true, unfortunately. And, I say unfortunately because because most of these unemployed college attendees still don’t know what direction they are headed in life. For instance, most of the people at a JC I went to said they wanted to get into Criminal Justice. But, when I asked why they could not develop a clear answer or anything that excited them about the field. I presume that they are simply walking into a field in which they A. knew nothing about, or B. is not really what they want to do in life but were probably told to go that route anyway.


It doesn’t help that College is ridiculously expensive now and is one of the most overrated things the media tries to push.

In his Blog Maverick blog, super-mogul Mark Cuban recently made some wise and insightful comments about deep fault lines beneath the world of higher education that will cause some seismic shifts in the years ahead. In a recent post, Cuban points up similarities between the collapse of the housing market and the current situation in American higher education.

“It’s far too easy to borrow money for college,” Cuban notes. “Did you know that there is more outstanding debt for student loans than there is for auto loans or credit card loans? That’s right. The 37mm holders of student loans have more debt than the 175mm or so credit card owners in this country and more than the all of the debt on cars in this country. While the average student loan debt is about 23k. The median is close to $12,500. And growing. Past 1 TRILLION DOLLARS.”
Cuban writes that students today are speculating on education in a way that is reminiscent of how investors were speculating on housing before the big housing crisis hit. Before that crisis, investors borrowed “easy money” to buy houses and then flipped them for profit. In the educational context, Cuban writes, students are borrowing money to pay for college educations that they believe will “flip” them into higher levels of earning.
And as we know, those higher-paying jobs often aren’t there.
“As an employer I want the best prepared and qualified employees,” Cuban observes. “I could care less if the source of their education was accredited by a bunch of old men and women who think they know what is best for the world. I want people who can do the job. I want the best and brightest. Not a piece of paper.”
Cuban also notes that a number of reality-based learning options are starting to arrive on the scene, such as partnerships between colleges and businesses that allow students to prepare for jobs that are actually there. He also points to online learning as a cost-effective and reality-based way that students are preparing for real jobs in the real world of business.

If you are going for specific occupations it can be good, for most people it is a 4 year party that puts them way to far into debt that they never get out of it.


My doctor only attended “some college” but that doesn’t stop me from visiting his van.


Student loans are only worth it if you aren’t a dumbfuck.


the hilarious thing about all of these billionaires questioning the value of a college education is that for the most part, you can’t get a job working for them…without a college degree.


My sister and I have over $100,000 worth of student debt, and college (or university) degrees. Yet I plod away at basement level IT positions, and she is a bartender with her BA

My mom once asked me if I thought my sister would ever be able to pay our parents back for all the money my parents had to lend her when my sisters bills almost destroyed her. I looked at my mom and asked her if she can ever remember when she was our age, if her or any of her friends owed $20,000 or more.

I’m sorry, but this system can’t continue. Paying retarded amounts of money for a CHANCE to have a job that will likely grossly underpay you, while being crushed with debts. Yeah, that’s gonna work out oh so well in the next decade…


This makes me so sad and it’s true. These days companies are more concerned about actual job experience than college education. They don’t have the time or resources to train people- and this is why it’s not uncommon to see people with law degrees waiting tables or living with their parents. It’s depressing because I see so much talent, hard work and dedication go unrewarded because the economy is F’d.


Not overrated…

If you go to the correct professions…

They are counting these ‘no business in college’ ass niggas in these statistics with the business admin degrees…

Like I used to pay attention to these silly ass niggas and asked them things such as “What kind of business do you plan on running/overlooking/creating?”… and I get the blankest damn stares you’d ever see… how sad:sad:…

Sciences, Engineering, etc… nobody wants these degrees because “it’s too hard”… fucking seriously? They just want a piece of paper just to say that they have it…

Military wants some nuclear physicists in their ranks, and they are giving out gigantic sums of money to see it happen, etc…

It just sucks to see people get a degree and have no direction in life…

You’re guaranteed a job as a lawyer to a big law firm…

If you’re the top 10% of the class… being the best among so many others is more important if you’re going in that direction than others… if you’re not confident about being able to get the highest grades… I’d say don’t bother with law… I know I’m not… it was a direction I was looking towards… but I know my limitations…


dude…do you realize how dumb it is that most network admin jobs I apply for, want me to have already worked as a network admin? And the average company has either no IT department, or one so small and underfunded that its not even worth the hassle.


fascinating article thx for linking it!

sucks to be an english major


The problem isn’t college. The problem is college loans being available to anyone who wants them, regardless of the degree being pursued or how worthless they are.


I hear they do that more in the UK and possibly EU.

Technical schools will hopefully replace the bane of Highschool 2.0 otherwise known as college. I went to community college because it was cheaper and I knew it had more specific things, I just hadn’t settled on one when I was there.

Yup, the internet has swayed me from such a bad mistake.

Thought I wanted to be a MA in English teaching several community colleges, then I realized only people that only read and have no other hobbies are interested in that usually, and that isn’t who I am. Thought I was, but I was doing this…


Going back to community colleges after a year of being tricked at a Kent branch.

Going for Radiology.


As it stands now, college is more for networking, and meeting as many people who will help u get a future job, rather than actually learning enough shit to get a job.

I 1000% agree

When I was younger, there was a law that colleges in Canada couldn’t get more than 11% of their income, from tuition. This kept costs down. Then they abolished that law, and EVERY fucking year tuition has increased.

And then you have the issues such as not being able to default on student debt. EVERY MOTHER FUCKING BUSINESS in North America can go bankrupt, but a student debt will never ever go away. EVER. And the government stands behind them, so when YOU don’t pay it, they just pay it for them.

Thus, there is never a reason for banks or groups to not lend you college money, cuz it’s guaranteed $$$ for them, and thus schools have no reason to not keep raising tuition.


Right, and really, you don’t HAVE to go to school to network. It helps, but it isn’t totally necessary for a lot of positions I would assume.


I think it was dumb that even with previous retail experience AND a 4 year degree I was turned down saying I wasn’t eligible to freakin’ sell makeup for minimum wage ON CALL at a department store >_>

you really need connections these days to get the good jobs


You were probably considered over employed. Think about, a lot of real low end jobs, IE gas stations, or Dollar General or whatever won’t even ask for any school info after high school.


Okay genius, so let’s have every single one of the 58% of Americans who’ve attended college only go for STEM. Now you’ve got 150 million people competing for the same number of positions that can’t even supply even <1% of them with jobs.

Not to mention that universities already have a huge problem staffing STEM departments with professors…especially native English speakers.

Uh, the legal industry has record unemployment right now-same as everyone else-and law grads have the single HIGHEST student loan debt per capita of all college graduates, close to 500k a pop.

Funny, I thought pretty much ALL American colleges these days are essentially “for-profit”.
Which is part of the problem to begin with.



People should really consider doing extra-cirrculum shit at College, it’s not getting as much attention as it should.

It makes no sense that Job employer even ask for college degrees when they hire people for the job experience.


Even so, I still want to study Psychology and Law then take the LSAT and try to go to a law school then move to a big city and defend clearly guilty people, Get paid, Move to a small town and buy a farm house with a basement out in the country where I will set up a grow room, A still in one of the barns, I’ll grow my own fruit and veggies, Kill my own meat, Have a harem of lovers to do my house work and please me any way I desire, then just kick back and play videogames.

I can dream.