Unemployment for workers without bachelor’s degrees fell to a record low in April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday, a sign the recovery is benefiting the people most in need of help as it stretches toward a 10th year.
Unemployment for workers without four-year or graduate degrees fell to just 3.5% in April, the lowest such mark since 1992, when the data became available.
That statistic, which is adjusted for seasonal variations, represents workers above the age of 25 without associate’s degrees or who didn’t finish college, people with only high school degrees, and high school dropouts. Those groups generally have much higher unemployment rates.
As overall joblessness has declined — unemployment for all civilian workers hit the lowest rate in 50 years in April — groups that usually are at the margins of the workforce have seen gains.
For example, minority workers have enjoyed historically low unemployment rates in recent months. Hispanic unemployment saw a record low of 4.2% in April. During the worst of the recession, Hispanic workers saw joblessness of as high as 13%.
Another example is that wage growth has been the highest in lower-wage industries in recent months.
“This is an economy that is working for workers,” said Martha Gimbel, director of economic research for Indeed Hiring Lab. “Another astonishingly strong month of jobs growth shows the continued strength of this recovery…. Jobs continued to grow fastest in middle- and high-wage industries, while wage growth was fastest in low-wage industries.”
Overall wage growth has accelerated in 2019, with anecdotal reports of businesses having to offer better salaries and benefits to attract workers as it has become harder to find qualified people who are available.