Job Loss Lower for College Graduates

Facebook icon Twitter icon Print icon Email icon

By Mark Kantrowitz

May 21, 2020

College graduates are half as likely to lose their jobs as compared with people who have just a high school diploma.

Unemployment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that among workers age 25 and older, college graduates with at least a Bachelor’s degree had an unemployment rate of 8.4%, which is about half the 17.3% unemployment rate for people with just a high school diploma.

This table also shows that unemployment rates in April 2020 are more than triple the unemployment rates in March 2020 at all levels of educational attainment. (This data is seasonally adjusted, which might skew the unemployment rates about 0.2 percentage points higher.)

Female college graduates have a higher unemployment rate than male college graduates. Among Bachelor’s degree recipients, 8.9% of women are unemployed in April 2020, compared with 7.5% of men. Among people with just a high school diploma or the equivalent, 19.4% of women are unemployed, compared with 15.4% of men.

Except for Asian college graduates, minority college graduates have higher unemployment rates than white college graduates, as shown in this table.

A survey showed that job loss during the pandemic is much greater for low-income families than high-income families. Almost half of low-income families lost a job or experienced a decrease in income, compared with a third of middle-income families and a quarter of high-income families.

If you lost your job and have student loan debt, you can apply for an unemployment deferment. There are many resources available if you lost your job due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A good place to start:

See the best 529 plans, personalized for you