Latest BLS Data Finds Increased Unemployment Rate for Adults Without a Degree; Nearly One Million Americans "Discouraged" Over Job Prospects

Top Quote Unemployment lowest among adults with a Bachelor's degree or higher. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) May 11, 2011 - New data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) last week reports that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for American adults with only a high school diploma and no college was 9.7 percent for April 2011, up from 9.5 percent in March. Additionally, the number of discouraged workers increased seven percent from the month prior, to nearly 1 million (989,000). Lack of school or training is one of the main reasons cited for discouragement. Unemployment is consistently lowest among adults with a Bachelor's degree or higher; in April 2011 the rate was 4.5 percent. For adults wanting to get their degree and become more competitive in the job market, online education is often a popular option due to the flexibility it offers.

    "Demand for online programs continues to grow, with the majority of that interest coming from adults who want to increase their marketability in this economy," said Carol Aslanian, adult education expert and Senior Vice President of Aslanian Market Research. "In fact, the 2011 eLearners Index found that demand is highest for Bachelor's and Master's degrees, such as online MBA and nursing programs. Adults are getting the message loud and clear that if they want to recession-proof their career, they need a degree."

    According to research published last year by the Sloan Consortium, a nonprofit group that tracks the growth of online education, and based on the most recent data available, the online learning sector is growing at a rate significantly higher than the overall higher education student population - 21 percent compared to less than two percent. This is due in large part to more adults seeking higher education online. A 2010 Noel-Levitz study found that 81 percent of online learners are over the age of 25.

    "For busy adults who are balancing multiple responsibilities, online classes are attractive because students are able to fit their coursework around their schedule," continued Aslanian. "The success of our economy depends on more Americans graduating from college, so it is encouraging to see more adults returning to get their degree."

    For more information about online degree programs, visit

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