Chart of the Week: How Does the Unemployment Rate Vary Based on Educational Attainment?

From WSJ:

Unemployment rate

Questions for students:

  • What key takeaways do you glean from this chart? What phrase might you use to summarize the chart?
  • What do you think lead to the spike in unemployment rates in 2009 across all educational levels?
  • What do you notice about the unemployment rate for “Some College” compared to “High School degree”?  Do employers value students who start college but don’t earn a degree?
  • Does a college degree become more/less valuable during challenging economic times?  (Hint: compare differences in unemployment in 2009 (a challenging economic time) vs. 2015)
  • Unemployment rates provide one way to look at value of education.  What might be other measures that you would be interested in to see the value of education?


Check out the NGPF Activity in which students calculate the value of a college education