Education Attainment & Unemployment Rate
For the past five years I have repeatedly spoken about the correlation between Education Attainment and the Unemployment rate and what that means for East Chicagoans. But first some data on East Chicago:
- Today <2% of East Chicagoans hold a college degree, well below the national average of 24%.
- ~40% of the Adult population is considered functionally illiterate, with ~70% of adults incapable of attaining a professional job based on reading attainment.
- Today the unemployment rate in East Chicago is >24%. Despite the efforts of the city to employ ~12% of those in the workforce, serving ~18% of households with a paycheck and ~28% of the electorate with a city job.
For a community like East Chicago the data presented in the graphs below are especially poignant. What I find rather remarkable about the graph is that you can clearly see, in the last 17 years, as educational attainment increases the less vulnerable you are to market fluctuations. You can see how the red line is so much more eradicate with a steep increase in reaction to todays recession. This may begin to flatten out as America rededicates more of it economy to manufacturing. Yet, unlike 20 years ago manufacturing has become an educated affair, requiring at minimum an associates degree.
Forty years ago when nearly 70% of jobs were found in unskilled labor, most East Chicago graduates were able to go to the Mills for one of a 100,000 steel or steel related jobs in East Chicago. Today 70% of jobs are found in professional services that require a College education. With the advances in technology and globalization East Chicago now employs less than 5,000 workers in steel and steel related jobs, all while production has increased a hundred fold. So, if you are preparing a population for where the vast majority of the jobs are (70%), then you are preparing them to receive a College education. That is the easiest solution towards employing a population. The more difficult solution is to find jobs for the under-educated.
via [ Calculated Risk ] In today’s employment market:
- Those without a High School Diploma face an unemployment rate of ~16%
- Those with a High School Diploma, but no College face an unemployment rate of ~10%
- Those with some College or Associates Degree face an unemployment rate of ~8%
- Those with a Bachelors Degree and higher face an unemployment rate of ~5%
Based on the BLS 2008 data: Education pays
This data does not bode well for East Chicago’s education system (here, and here) which ranks last in the state of Indiana on multiply measures. Indiana has also instituted a Core-40 program to track students and to ensure they receive the necessary skills to succeed. However, Core-40 will leave most East Chicago students without the proper credentials to apply to universities such as Purdue or Indiana University which now require Core-40 Honors. Despite the efforts of non-government agencies most parents of East Chicago freshmen are unaware of these requirements and the process for applying into the proper program. The Challenge is to set up an education system that incentives populations like East Chicago.