There is a inverse relationship between the unemployment rate in 2008 and a person's level of education. A graph from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows annual average for the unemployment rate for people with doctoral degrees was only 2%, while those with less than a high school diploma were at 9%. If you need any more incentive for staying in school, the same graph shows the median weekly earnings in 2008 for those with a doctoral degree was $1,555 while those with less than a high school education earned only $426 a week. That means half of all the people in the U.S. with less than a high school degree earn less than $426 a week. Those people with professional degrees made less but had a lower unemployment rate.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reported another monthly increase throughout the U.S. in unemployment. The national unemployment rate rose from 7.6 percent in January to 8.1 percent in February, which was 3.3 percentage points higher than a year earlier. The only state to increase employment was Louisiana. However, Michigan has a jobless rate of 12%.
Despite the clear message that staying in school or going back can pay significant dividends, this rule may not always be the case. In looking at the Occupational Outlook Handbook, out of the top twenty jobs expected to have the greatest increases in numbers over the next seven years, only four of the twenty involved a graduate or professional degree.