Friday, May 3, 2013

Jobs report just out. Look at this nugget I observed in the report that you won't hear/read about in the analysis by "Real" Economists/Pundits today. And I think it is the underlying problem with tepid job creation.

The Jobs Report for April is JUST out.  With this months report AND upward revisions for the last 2 months, we are chugging along. The job situation IS improving! Not fast enough, but better than a sharp stick in the eye.

I want to make a longer term observation and pose the question: Are things REALLY getting better? And if so, for WHOM?

I am very interested in the relationship between education, employment and its impact on inequality.

Below I pasted the relevant part of today's job report that shows the relationship between educational attainment and employment.  I highlighted the relevant numbers (in the "Seasonably Adjusted" boxes) to show the change in employment in the PAST YEAR among the different educational attainment levels. (Click image to make larger)

Source: BLS
The change in the number of jobs in each category is off to the left (decreases in Red, increases in Black).

The combined loss in jobs in the Less Than High School AND High School Graduate categories is just about EQUAL to the increase in employment in the "Some College/Associate Degree".

Job creation in the last year has been carried by those with College Degrees and to a lesser extent those some advanced education beyond high school.

Job destruction has fallen on those with lower levels of education.

This long(er) term trend is what SHOULD concern people more.

A piece of the Income Inequality puzzle is right here.  Pretty sure you won't see THIS analysis today!

Your welcome.  :)


  1. The labor force is becoming more educated. The number of people in the no college groups decreased, while the numbers in the some college and college diploma groups increased. If you look at the employment to population ratio, you see no change for no diploma, 0.2 point loss for high school diploma, 0.2 point gain for some college, and a 0.5 point loss for college degree. So those with college degrees saw the biggest loss over the last year. Now obviously they are still doing much better, but that story is much different than what you get when you only look at the raw number of jobs.

    Of course employment to population ratio includes the effects of an aging population, so it's not a perfect statistic for this purpose. You could look at unemployment rate, and the smallest improvement was for college graduates, but this has the weakness of not including those who gave up looking.

    So really either way you look at it, the decrease in the number of jobs for people without college education is smaller than the decrease in the number of people in those groups. So we're not seeing increasing inequality (in terms of job availability) over the past year, just the same high rate of inequality we've had for a while now.

    1. Brian---thank you for your reply. I appreciate you fleshing out those more nuanced points and they are well taken.


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