The Education Gap and its Role in Persistent Unemployment

A new report by the Brookings Institution shows that unemployment in America's cities is being exacerbated by a lack of higher-educated workers.
September 1, 2012, 7am PDT | Andrew Gorden
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Nate Berg describes a new report by the Brookings Institution that looks at the role that educational attainment and job requirements play in unemployment. "There are job openings in the U.S. But the people living near those jobs don't have the relevant education or training to get them...," says Berg. "The report...finds that the overall unemployment picture in metro areas gets a lot worse when the workforce's educational background doesn't match up with the requirements of employers."

For example, in Madison, Wisconsin, where the education gap is actually negative (more college graduates than jobs available), the city has an unemployment rate below 6%. Cities with a large education mismatch will continue to have persistent unemployment issues thinks Berg. "[T]his gap between educational attainment and the educational requirements of jobs explains most of the long-term unemployment issues in metropolitan areas," states Berg. "Addressing persistent unemployment will require addressing the imbalance between workers and jobs."

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Published on Wednesday, August 29, 2012 in The Atlantic Cities
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