The Dark Side of the U.S. Jobs Recovery

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By Jacob Maslow

Job interview
Applicant being interviewed.

There is a lot to be excited about the recent run of good news regarding the job market in the United States. More and more people are getting jobs. This only looks good for the U.S.’s midterm economic prospects. Why? The higher the number of people employed, the higher the volume of economic activity. With more economic activity, the U.S. economy as a whole stands a strong chance of growing at a healthy clip. In fact, discounting the latest GDP figures, the U.S. GDP has been growing quite a bit for quite a while.

Things are looking great on the employment front. Sure, a lot has been made of the fact that a lot of these new jobs tend to pay less. The reason for this, of course, is that most of these new jobs are in the service sector. With that said, it is only a matter of time for market economics to work, and to push wages even higher due to an expected labor shortage. This labor shortage is predicted due to a generational anomaly. This anomaly is that a lot of people have simply given up for work, and they are not expected to enter the job market. Since there is less supply, this is going to put upward pressure on wages.

This is all well and good, and this is definitely something to be excited about, especially if you have a college degree. However, the dark side to all of this is that the income gap between workers with a college degree and workers with only a high school degree is growing. It is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, the gap is huge.

A lot of kids who try to justify dropping out of college would love to point out the fact that both Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg didn’t finish college. However, those two guys are outliers. Statistically speaking, if you do not have a college degree, you will be dooming yourself to a lifetime or earning way less than a person with a college or an advanced degree.

If you think this is depressing, consider if you didn’t even get a high school diploma. The gulf between your earnings and that of a person with a college degree is just immense. If there is any takeaway from the current jobs recovery, it is this: education pays.

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