Education and Unemployment by U.S. County

The map below shows U.S. counties into 4 categories based on education attainment (as measured by the percentage of adults 25+ with a bachelor’s degree or higher 2013-2017) and unemployment rate (based on 2018 unemployment) relative to the median for all U.S. counties.

Color intensity represents distance from the median, with the darkest countries having both bachelor’s degree attainment and unemployment levels both more than one standard deviation (SD) from the median, medium colored U.S. counties having one of those two measures more than one SD from the median, and light colored counties being within one SD from the median on both measures.

Data comes from the USDA Economic Research Service.

Education and Unemployment by U.S. County

The U.S. is more educated than ever: In 1973, workers with postsecondary education held only 28% of jobs; by contrast, they held 59% of jobs in 2010 and will hold 65% of jobs in 2020.

The United States economy will rise from 140 million to 165 million jobs by 2020. By 2020, 65% of all jobs in the economy will need postsecondary education and training beyond high school. 35% of job opportunities will need at least a bachelor’s degree, 30% of the job opening will need some college or an associate’s degree, 36% of the job opening will not require education beyond high school.

Job openings in healthcare, community services, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) will grow the fastest among occupational clusters. Between 2003 and 2015, the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in STEM increased from 470 thousand to 681 thousand.

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