What Is the Relationship Between Education and Employment?

There is a strong correlational relationship between educational attainment and employment; the most educated people in the United States tend to experience the lowest levels of unemployment and earn the most money, as reported in data published by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). As of 2014, Americans with graduate degrees had an unemployment rate of 2.1 percent or less, the lowest unemployment rate for an educational category while Americans who did not complete high school had an unemployment rate of 9 percent, the highest rate for any level of educational attainment.

Individuals with professional degrees were more widely employed and earned more than those with doctoral degrees. However, the difference between these two graduate degree categories, the highest levels of educational attainment listed in the BLS data, was negligible, especially relative to the difference between these high educational achievers and those who had never attended college, as shown in the BLS data.

The BLS data shows a clear progression of higher rates of unemployment correlated to higher levels of education. Though there are always exceptions to this kind of data, it does strongly suggest that Americans are more likely to be employed if they are highly educated. Getting an education does not guarantee a job, however; even the highest levels of educational attainment had some unemployment.