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ERIC Number: ED574377
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 44
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 32
America's Divided Recovery: College Haves and Have-Nots
Carnevale, Anthony P.; Jayasundera, Tamara; Gulish, Artem
Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce
The steady job growth and falling unemployment rate offer some reassurance that the economy is on the right track. Yet, the long-term structural changes accelerated by the cyclical impact of the Great Recession have resulted in a very unequal recovery. During the recession, the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, workers without postsecondary education suffered tremendous job losses. The recovery has been virtually nonexistent for less-educated workers. Men without a college degree were traditionally able to make their way into the middle class through manufacturing and construction jobs, and women without a college degree could get middle class jobs in office and administrative support occupations. These pathways are increasingly closing down, leaving few opportunities to access the middle class without postsecondary education. By contrast, for most workers with a Bachelor's degree or higher, the recovery has resulted in a strong job market. These recent economic trends have made it clearer than ever that a college degree continues to be the most important economic asset for those who want to succeed in the labor market. The economy is seeing a continuing scouring out of low-skill jobs in favor of high-skill jobs. This makes the acquisition of postsecondary education an essential prerequisite to participate in the 21st century labor market. Workers with a high school diploma or less must attain postsecondary credentials if they want to compete effectively in growing high-skill career fields. The nation must face up to a need to train more of its workers for the growing high-skill jobs that play an increasingly central role in the post-Great Recession economy. A section on "Data Sources and Methodology" is found in the appendix.
Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. 3300 Whitehaven Street NW Suite 5000 Box 571444, Washington, DC 20057. Tel: 202-687-4922; Fax: 202-687-3110; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Lumina Foundation; Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Joyce Foundation
Authoring Institution: Georgetown University, Center on Education and the Workforce