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Spotlight on Statistics

September 2010

BLS Spotlight on Statistics: Back to College

Audio Script

You are probably familiar with some of the numerous public and private colleges and universities spread across the United States.

Here are some BLS data related to students and graduates of colleges and universities:

  • During the 20022007 period, young women were more likely to be enrolled in college or to have earned their college degrees than young men.
  • For individuals with a college degree, labor force data for 2009 reflect increasing employment, lower unemployment and higher earnings:

    • Between 1992 and 2009, the number of college-educated workers increased from 27 million to 44 million. The number of employed people with only, or without, a high school diploma has remained steady or decreased.
    • In 2009, the unemployment rate for workers with college degrees was 4.6 percent. The rate for workers without a high school diploma was 10 points higher.
    • In 2009, the median weekly earnings of workers with bachelor's degrees were $1,137. This amount is 1.8 times the average amount earned by those with only a high school diploma.

Here are some BLS data about colleges and universities as an industry and place of employment:

  • In 2009, colleges and universities in the United States operated over 10,000 establishments (that is, places of employment, whether campuses, offices, research facilities, or other locations).
  • In 1960, about 850,000 people were employed in colleges and universities; in 2009 the number was over 3.9 million.
  • The number of college professors and instructors is projected to increase from about 1.7 million to over 1.9 million from 2008 to 2018.
  • Law teachers and health specialties teachers were the highest paid teachers on college campuses; both had average annual earnings of over $100,000 in 2009.

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