Jobs Employment Hiring

A decade of change in employment by occupation group

The table below displays changes in employment nationally by the minimum education requirement for occupations as calculated by the U.S. Department of Labor. Its the same database we wrote about in our exploration of the reality of good-paying jobs that do not require a four-year degree.

What stands out are the first column and the total row. The total employment growth column shows that job growth over the last decade has been quite bipolar. With employment growth coming overwhelmingly in occupations that require either at least a four-year degree or more or no education requirement at all. Of the 7.9 million net new jobs, 5.8 million (73 percent) are in occupations that require at least at four-year degree. And 2.5 million are in occupations that require no formal education at all.

The total row shows that most net new jobs are in occupations with median wages of less than the national median of $37,040. 4.9 million (62 percent) of the 7.9 million net new jobs. 22 percent of the job growth was in occupations with median wages of at the 75th percentile of all jobs in the nation ($60,150) and the remaining 15 percent in occupations with median wages between the national median and the 75th percentile.

The  other headline from the data below is the depressing reality that there simply are fewer jobs today than a decade ago that pay well that do not require a four-year degree. Employment in high-paying occupations grew by  more than 3.5 million in occupations that require at least a four-year degree, while falling by more than 1.8 million for occupations that require less than a four-year degree. Employment in middle-paying occupations grew by  more than 2.1 million in occupations that require at least a four-year degree, while falling by more than 900,000 for occupations that require less than a four-year degree.

The one bright spot for those without  four-year degrees is that employment in high- and middle-paying occupations combined grew by 450,000.

All of this adds up to more evidence that the availability of good-paying jobs that do not require a four-year degree is declining in today’s American economy.


 

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Lou Glazer

Lou Glazer is President and co-founder of Michigan Future, Inc., a non-partisan, non-profit organization. Michigan Future’s mission is to be a source of new ideas on how Michigan can succeed as a world class community in a knowledge-driven economy. Its work is funded by Michigan foundations.

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