Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Older, more educated workers, have highest length of unemployment

by Bill McBride on 7/06/2010 12:37:00 PM

Reader Ann (retired lawyer with economics degree) has obtained some publicly available raw data on the long term unemployed from the BLS Current Population Survey. Ann was able to break down the long term unemployed into two age cohorts, 1) 25 to 45, and 2) 45+.

She also broke down the data by four levels of education: 1) no high school degree, 2) high school only, 3) some college or Associates degree, and 4) BA degree or higher.

The following table summarizes the data (click on link to see table - it doesn't fit here):

Table Long Term Unemployed

(1) This includes all who have some college classes but no degree or certificate, those with certificates and those with an associates. Only 30%+/- of the “some college” group has an associates. There is not statistically significant difference in their average length of unemployment as between the ‘few classes’ or ‘certificate’ and an associates..
(2) I do not have the breakdown of all the unemployed by age combined with education. I only have that data for the long-term unemployed.

The first finding is not too surprising for the longer term unemployed:

  • the average length of unemployment is always higher for the older cohort (45+) regardless of the level of education.

    The 2nd finding is a more surprising:

  • Generally the more education an individual has, the higher the average length of unemployment.

    For the long term unemployed, it is better to be younger - and have less education.

    Ann adds these comments:
    More education = longer unemployment if the job is lost. The upside is the more educated the worker, the less likely they are to lose their job, but the downside of being more educated is that once they hit 45 if they lose their job, they are toast.

    So what does one do with the over-45s with a BA or higher? ... The current mantra is 'more education is good for you' but this shows that it can, in the long run, hurt you.
    It is tough to find a job, especially if you are older and better educated.

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