Workers with at least some college education have captured 11.5 million of the 11.6 million net new jobs created during the recovery. While jobs are back, they are not the same jobs as those lost during the recession. The Great Recession decimated low-skill blue-collar and clerical jobs, whereas the recovery added primarily high-skill managerial and professional jobs.

Key Findings


The employment of graduate degree holders increased by 3.8 million jobs, the employment of bachelor’s degree holders increased by 4.7 million jobs, and the employment of workers with some college or associate’s degree increased by 3.1 million jobs, compared to workers with a high school diploma or less, whose employment increased only by 80,000 jobs.


Workers with at least some postsecondary education now make up 65 percent of the total employment. Bachelor’s degree holders now earn 57 percent of all wages.

Among industries, consulting and business services added the largest number of net new jobs in the recovery (2.5 million).


Among occupations, management added the largest number of net new jobs since the recession began (1.6M), and healthcare professional and technical occupations added the second most jobs (1.5M).

Watch the Video 

Watch our video and learn about the stark divide between workers with a college education and workers with a high school diploma or less in the post-recession economy.

Job Change in Recession and Recovery

Full Report

The jobs recovery deepens the economic and political divide between workers with and without a college education. America’s Divided Recovery: College Haves and Have-Nots finds that workers with education beyond high school have accounted for over 95 percent of the employment growth during the recovery. The report also finds:

  • For the first time, college graduates make up a larger share of the workforce than workers with a high school diploma or less.
  • While employment of workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher grew by 8.4 million during the recovery, the employment of workers with a high school diploma or less only grew by 80,000.
  • Occupational and industry shifts have been major drivers of change in the labor market.
  • The recovery added primarily managerial and professional jobs.
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