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Trouble for Workers with Little Education

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Cheryl Russell, New Strategist Press

“All occupations are employing workers with more formal education,” reports the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, and this is bad news for less-educated Americans. Comparing the education of workers by occupation in 1950 with today, the study finds...

Professional and technical workers: Only half had a college degree in 1950. Today, 70% are college graduates. One in ten professional/technical workers in 1950 did not have a high school diploma. Today the figure is close to zero. The “empiricist professional” of 1950 has all but disappeared, say the researchers.

Managers: In 1950, more than three out of four had no schooling beyond high school, and many did not even have a high school diploma. Today, three out of four have at least some college, and 46% have a college degree.

Sales, clerical, craftsmen, and service workers: The great majority – close to 80% or above – had no more than a high school diploma in 1950. Today, more than half of sales and clerical workers have at least some college as do about 40% of craftsmen and service workers.

Operative workers (machine operators), farmers, and laborers: Virtually no operative workers had a college degree in 1950. Today, 30% are college graduates. The figures are similar for farmers and laborers.

“Needless to say, these changes have led to additional challenges for some groups of workers,” concludes the report. “Those with lower levels of education may be unable to find jobs in occupations that their parents held with much less formal schooling.”

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