Link between education and unemployment puts one-third of Pittsburgh kids at disadvantage

education and unemploymentWhile there has been some debate on what the Pittsburgh School District’s high school graduation rate is, several studies put it under 70%. Pennsylvania's average is 78%. Here are articles from the Tribune Review and the Post Gazette regarding that number. That means a full third of Pittsburgh high school kids will enter the workforce at a distinct disadvantage at a time when the economy has been particularly harsh on non-graduates.

Level of education does make a difference in someone’s ability to earn higher levels of income and even get hired.

Salary Expectations By Education Level
The average salary someone can expect to earn without a high school education is $21,000.00 per year, compared to a high school graduate who makes 50% more at $31,000.00 per year. Knowing about the potential 50% jump in pay may be an incentive to get many kids to complete their studies and graduate from high school. Education is not the only thing that will allow someone to earn more at work, but it certainly proves to be a major factor.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the overall unemployment rate in the Pittsburgh area was at 6.5% in June 2011. The overall national average was 9.1% in June 2011 while Pennsylvania was 7.1%.

Unemployment Rate By Education Level
However, when you dig into the average unemployment rate and consider education level you find even worse news for those without a high school diploma. These seasonally adjusted numbers are listed as of July 2011:

Salary expectations by education level (2010).
Less than high school $444.00 per week / 14.9% unemployment
High school  $626.00 per week / 10.3%
Some college  $712.00 per week / 9.2%
Associates degree $767.00 per week / 7.0%
Bachelors degree $1,038 per week / 5.4%
Masters degree $1,272 per week / 4.0%
Professional degree $1,610 per week / 2.4%
Doctoral degree $1,550 per week / 1.9%

2011 Unemployment rates by education level.
Unemployment rate for those with no high school diploma: 15%
Unemployment rate for those with a high school diploma: 9.3%
Unemployment rate for those with some college: 8.3%
Unemployment rate for those with a college diploma: 4.3%
Source: July 2011 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Table A-4

There are options in Pittsburgh for people who have not finished their high school education and would like to earn more. We will discuss those in an upcoming article.

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