For College Graduates, Does the Recession Not Exist?

So that's why DC doesn't care for a second stimulus

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released some data showing the unemployment rate varies widely according to educational level. Among those with less than a high school diploma, the July unemployment rate was 13.8 percent. For high school graduates, it was 10.1 percent. Meanwhile, for those with "some college or [an] associate degree," the rate drops to 8.3 percent and only 4.5 percent of those with a bachelor's degree or higher are unemployed. Cue analysis.

  • And This Is Why There's No Serious Stimulus  Matt Yglesias suggests the chart explains why unemployment just isn't getting enough attention. Just about every politician, staffer, and political journalist in DC, he explains, "is a college graduate," and the "large amount of social segregation in the United States" means "college graduates tend to socialize with each other. And among college graduates, there simply isn't an economic crisis in the United States."
  • Yes And No, protests James Joyner at Outside the Beltway: "While that's true as a matter of personal experience--the well educated are less likely to know a lot of unemployed people than the poorly educated--it's not as if we don’t read the papers."
  • An Even Starker Difference With Long-Term Unemployment, points out Mother Jones's Kevin Drum, who cobbles together a chart showing that, "for those with a high school diploma or less, the long-term unemployment rate is about 5-6%." Here's the thing, he says: "Being out of work for a few weeks--or even a couple of months--is bad but not debilitating." Long-term employment, on the other hand, can have a profound effect. "But among the college-educated crowd, it barely exists. The fear just isn't there, and that makes it awfully easy to ignore."
  • Black and White College Graduates  Jamelle Bouie at The American Prospect's Tapped blog points out that the numbers are a little more complex than the data Yglesias is looking at suggest:
In April, when these statistics were compiled, the unemployment rate for black college graduates was 7.4 percent. By contrast, the unemployment rate for white college graduates was a low 4 percent. A college degree certainly helps black workers, but not by much, at least compared to the national average. What's more, well-off blacks tend to have more social proximity to blacks lower on the income scale, so while white college grads are mostly isolated from the recession's effects, I'm not sure if you can say the same for their black counterparts.
  • The College Grad Monolith  Adam Weinstein of Mother Jones, blogging at Current Intelligence, points out some other problems with talking about college graduates as a single group. Aside from issues of race, there are issues of age and class: recent graduates are much more likely than older graduates to be underemployed, while Weinstein doesn't take kindly to Yglesias, a Harvard man, grouping "all of us Florida State, Navy, and Iona College grads in with [him]self, John Boehner, and Ben Bernanke."
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