Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Back to School and the Economics of Education

While Oregon's public universities are still a couple of weeks away from the start of Fall term, most K-12 districts open this week, so it is a good time to remind ourselves of one reason we invest heavily in education: it is a smart thing to do.

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics [HT: Wall Street Journal]:

All of the increase in employment over the past two decades has been among workers who have taken at least some college classes or who have associate or bachelor's degrees—and mostly among workers with bachelor's degrees. The number of these college-educated workers has increased almost every year. Over the 1992–2009 period, the number of college-educated workers increased from 27 million to 44 million. In contrast, the number of employed people with only a high school diploma or without a high school diploma has remained steady or decreased.

There is also lower rates of unemployment among the more educated:

And higher pay:

If you think what people say about higher education leading to higher earnings is a cliché, you might want to consider that sometimes clichés are true. In 2009, the median weekly earnings of workers with bachelor's degrees were $1,137. This amount is 1.8 times the average amount earned by those with only a high school diploma, and 2.5 times the earnings of high school dropouts.

And, don't forget, you can now get an Oregon State economics BA or BS entirely on-line. It is never too late!

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