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The rise in unemployment rates among more highly educated workers during the recent downturn resembles that of past recessions. However, it appears that workers with more education fared worse than in past downturns relative to less well educated workers.
Since the start of recession in the first quarter of 2001, the unemployment rate for those with less than a high school education rose by 2.1 percentage points and the rate among workers with a high school diploma but no college training rose 1.3 percentage points. These were unemployment rate increases of about one-third over their rates when the recession began.
In contrast, the unemployment rate of those with some college training rose by two-thirds (1.9 percentage points) and the rate for college graduates almost doubled as it rose 1.3 percentage points.
These data are from the Current Population Survey. For more information on labor market trends in 2002, see "U.S. labor market in 2002: continued weakness," Monthly Labor Review, February 2003.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, All education levels affected by recent unemployment rise at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2003/mar/wk3/art03.htm (visited March 26, 2023).