The one graph that shows why college may still be worth it

November 12, 2014, 5:59 PM UTC

For the past several years, we’ve heard a steady drumbeat of folks say that college is no longer worth it. Too expensive. Too time-consuming. Too little guarantee of a job post-graduation.

But take a look at the following chart, courtesy of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It shows the national unemployment rate for people 25 years and older, with each line representing a different level of educational achievement.


Those in the sample with bachelor’s degrees or higher had unemployment rates of just 3.1% in October, compared to a broader unemployment rate of 5.8%. In fact, it’s even better to attend some college without graduating, as the unemployment rate for those people is just 4.8%.

Put simply: If you graduate college, you will have a much better chance of being employed. Not just today, but ever since the financial crisis began.

To be sure, this doesn’t negate the absurdly-high expenses of attending college, which can lead to substantial post-graduate debt. But the part about not being able to find work, at least a few years out, seems to be overblown…