Report: Americans Without College Degrees Worse Off than 40 Years Ago

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

Americans without a college degree are worse off than they were 40 years ago, according to a report published by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Although real wages for those with a college degree have risen, they have remained static for those with only a high school education. A report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch revealed that wage levels are stuck at low levels for non-college educated Americans.

“Wage growth has been slow to recover [since the Great Recession] on aggregate with only 2.4% yoy nominal wage growth as of October. However, there are differences by education with relative weakness for less educated men,” two Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts wrote in the report. “This shows the demand shift away from this population, leaving them on the fringe of the labor force.”

The report highlighted the decline in male participation in the labor market. The percentage of American men aged 25-65 who are working or are actively seeking work has steadily fallen since 1960. Some of this can be attributed to a notable drop in the percentage of males who are seeking a college education.

“Although a significant minority of males continues to reach the highest echelons of achievement in education and labor markets, the median male is moving in the opposite direction,” MIT researchers wrote. The reason for such a shift isn’t entirely clear yet.

Some argue that the wages for non-college aged Americans have stagnated as a result of globalization and automation. The decline in manufacturing jobs has had a profound effect on non-college educated workers.

“Automation has eaten away at manufacturing jobs and will likely continue to do so. Some argue retail is the next sector to see a significant hollowing out, which is notable because the sector employs way more people than manufacturing does. Plus, the Great Recession slammed US industries across the board, and rural areas have still struggled to recover,” Business Insider wrote in an August report on jobs.


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