Like most Federal Reserve chiefs, Janet Yellen has a reputation for understatement. But she held back little when she spoke about the rising value of a college degree at a University of Baltimore graduation ceremony this week.
“Economists are not certain about many things,” she said. “But we are quite certain that a collect diploma or an advanced degree is a key to economic success.” Key points Ms. Yellen brought up:
- In 2015, workers with a college degree earned an average of 70% more than those without degrees. That gap has grown drastically since 1980, when college grads were earning just 20% more on average than non-degree holders.
- Workers who have college degrees are less likely to be replaced by machines or by lower cost laborers in foreign countries.
- The unemployment rate for college grads is now just 2.3%, which shows that there’s real competition in the market for highly educated workers.
Although the unemployment rate for all workers is currently low – just 4.6% – Ms. Yellen said the nation has to do more to bring economic opportunity to those without a college degree, since “many are falling behind.”