Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Out of Work? Maybe You're the Problem.

Posted By on Tue, Apr 2, 2013 at 8:00 AM

click to enlarge abdul-hakim_shabazz.jpg
We recently received data on Indiana's unemployment rate. And, from what I can tell, the last person you want to be in the Hoosier state is a high school dropout who lives in Vermillion County. Here's why. The overall data shows that the state's unemployment rate inched up a bit from 8.6 percent in January to 8.7 percent in February, however that same data showed the state adding 5,800 jobs that month.

According to the Department of Workforce Development, sectors showing significant gains in February include: Manufacturing (3,400), Construction (2,700), Trade, Transportation & Utilities (1,400), and Financial Activities (1,100). Areas that showed a decrease in jobs were the Private Educational & Health Services (-1,000), and Leisure and Hospitality (-800) sectors.

With respect to counties, Vermillion County had the highest unemployment rate at 13.8 percent while Hamilton County had the lowest at 6.5 percent. Indianapolis' unemployment rate was 9.4 percent. Now, here is where it gets interesting. If you are a college graduate in Indiana, the unemployment rate for your peers is 3.2 percent. If you didn't finish high school, there's a good chance that 19 percent of the people you hang out with have no job.

At the national level, the figures are quite telling. According the Bureau of Labor statistics here are the average unemployment rates in 2012 based on the level of education achieved:

Doctoral degree - 2.5 percent
Professional Degree - 2.1 percent
Master's Degree - 3.5 percent
Bachelor's Degree - 4.5 percent
Associate's Degree - 6.2 percent
Some college - 7.7 percent
High School Diploma - 8.3 percent
Less than a High School Diploma - 12.4 percent

Now let's throw in some more data for fun. Approximately 185,000 Hoosier kids are in schools labeled as D or F. There are close to 124,000 18-25 year olds without a high school diploma and another 574,000 25+ year olds without a high school diploma, meanwhile we have about 290,000 unemployed.

Okay, Abdul. What's the moral of the story? The moral of the story is pretty simple. The better educated you are, the less likely you are to be out of work and on the government dole. And if we can get kids out of failing schools by whatever legal means necessary, they are less likely to be dropouts and less likely to be part of 290,000 people who are out of work.

Now, does a degree guarantee you won't lose a job? Not at all. I am living proof of that when my former employer and I parted ways nearly two years ago. But I knew having a couple professional degrees under my belt as well as the drive and necessary survival skills to, as we used to say in old neighborhood in Chicago, get a good hustle going, would make life a lot easier. So if you have found yourself in the ranks of the unemployed, you might want to take a look at your education level and see if that's part of what is keeping you there.

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