Unemployment - Unemployed population (age 25-64) by educational attainment in Pennsylvania

Change Indicator

Why This Indicator Matters

The unemployment rate is the percentage of the civilian labor force who are not currently employed but are still actively making efforts to find employment.[1] Unemployment and earnings commonly improve with educational attainment, the highest degree or level of education completed by an individual.[2] In other words, the adult population with less than a high school education generally has a higher unemployment rate than those with college degrees. This indicates that as an individual’s educational level increases, their employment prospects and ability to attain high-earning jobs increase as well.[3] Examining the unemployed population by educational attainment level provides a deeper understanding of the individual characteristics and economic structures associated with unemployment.

While the unemployment rate is typically used as an indicator of family hardship, unemployment affects everyone within an economy regardless of employment status.[4] Eligible workers lose potential wages by being unemployed, which lowers household purchasing power, decreases nationwide production capacity of goods and services, and ultimately leads to job loss of other workers.[5] This makes unemployment an extremely important statistic to measure. Policymakers are best able to determine solutions to unemployment by analyzing trends and determining its factors, such as education, gender, sex, age, race, ethnicity, and geography.[6]



[1] National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). (2021). Employment and Unemployment Rates by Educational Attainment. https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator/cbc

[2] United States Census Bureau. (2021). About Educational Attainment. https://www.census.gov/topics/education/educational-attainment/about.html

[3] Vilorio, D. (2016). Education Matters. United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2016/data-on-display/education-matters.htm

[4] Iacurci, G. (2020). Here’s Why the Unemployment Rate is So Important. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/05/heres-what-unemployment-rate-actually-means-and-why-its-important.html

[5] United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2015). How the Government Measures Unemployment. https://www.bls.gov/cps/cps_htgm.htm

[6] Vilorio, D. (2016). Education Matters. United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. https://www.bls.gov/careeroutlook/2016/data-on-display/education-matters.htm

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Unemployment - Unemployed population (age 25-64) by educational attainment

Data Provided By

Definitions: Percent of individuals by highest level of education completed who are unemployed (not working but in the labor force).

Data Source: (2005-2013) U.S Bureau of the Census, American Community Survey, 3-year estimates (B23006)

(2014 - current) U.S. Bureau of the Census, American Community Survey, 1-year estimate (B23006)

Footnotes: (2005 - 2013) The six smallest counties are not included in the ACS – Cameron, Forest, Fulton, Montour, Potter, and Sullivan.  The percents used for those counties are small area (PUMA) figures.

(2014 - current) Single year estimates should not be compared to prior 3-year estimates. The 27 smallest counties are not included in the ACS - Bedford, Bradford, Cameron, Clarion, Clinton, Elk, Forest, Fulton, Greene, Huntingdon, Jefferson, Juniata, McKean, Mifflin, Montour, Perry, Pike, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, Venango, Warren, Wayne and Wyoming.
 
Unemployment estimates may vary from the official labor force data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics because of differences in survey design and data collection. 

Updated October 2021.