Relationship Between Educational Attainment and Labor Underutilization

Lisa Hudson, IES
Emily Isenberg, AIR

Educational attainment is negatively related to unemployment and to working part time involuntarily.

The National Center for Education Statistics released a new Data Point report entitled Relationship Between Educational Attainment and Labor Underutilization. This report examines the relationship between educational attainment and the rates at which adults are unemployed or underemployed (working involuntarily part time or involuntarily in a temporary job).

Among the findings:

  • Adults who had not completed high school had higher rates of both unemployment and underemployment, compared to adults with higher levels of educational attainment.
  • Adults with relatively high levels of educational attainment had higher rates of underemployment than unemployment, while the reverse was true for adults with relatively low levels of educational attainment.

This report uses data from the Adult Training and Education Survey, conducted as part of the 2016 National Household Education Surveys Program.