Female Graduates Had Lowest Unemployment During Great Recession

on July 17, 2017

During the Great Recession, educational attainment proved to be a vital factor in the economic stability of workers. College graduates fared much better than people without college degrees.


College graduates saw the smallest increase in their unemployment rate during the Great Recession when compared to people without college degrees or some college, according to an analysis of data from 2006 to 2016 compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.



From 2006 to 2011 — during the harshest years of the Great Recession — people without a college education saw their unemployment rate increase twice as fast as workers with college degrees. The rate of unemployment between college-educated workers and those without a college degree, however, has narrowed as the economy has recovered.


In addition to educational attainment, the sex of workers also had a strong correlation to economic security. The unemployment rate and median weekly earnings of workers fluctuate greatly between men and women, especially when educational attainment is factored in.


Unemployment, Wages and Sex


Women with college degrees were the most protected group of the population during the Great Recession. They experienced the least amount of volatility, reaching an unemployment rate of 4.7 percent in 2010. Degree-holding men trailed closely behind, reaching an unemployment rate of 4.8 percent the same year.



College-educated men and women had nearly identical rates of unemployment during the past decade.


Men and women without a college education or some college saw more dramatic spikes in unemployment during the recession. Women without degrees hit 8.7 percent unemployment, and the unemployment rate for men without degrees reached 9.7 percent, the largest of any demographic.


Although college-educated women fared slightly better than college-educated men during the Great Recession, college-educated men consistently earn more than college-educated women.



Women with college degrees earned 75.2 cents for every dollar earned by a college-educated man. The same paradigm is true of women without college degrees, who earn 74.6 cents for each dollar taken home by men who don’t hold a college degree.


In fact, one of the most striking trends among earnings and sex is that men without college degrees and college-educated women have the most similar median weekly earnings of any demographic. In 2016, college-educated women earned $1,101 per week, and men without a college degree earned $896 — a meager difference of $205.


Degree-holding men had the largest weekly earnings of any demographic at $1,464 in 2016. Women without degrees had the lowest weekly earnings, earning $668.


Obtaining a college degree cements a worker’s job security and wage potential. Although college-educated men and women continue to see a disparity in their wages, it’s clear having an education is a boon for a career.

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