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As Job Market Mends, Dropouts Fall Behind

Wall Street Journal (02/21/12) Clare Ansberry

Although employment prospects for people with four-year college degrees are improving, high-school dropouts are falling further behind. Approximately 1.8 million more college graduates have found work since January 2010, but about 128,000 high-school dropouts lost work during the same time, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fewer than 40% of people over age 25 without a high-school diploma are employed, and things are likely to get worse for this population as jobs require sharper skills and more education. In 2020, nearly six million high-school dropouts will likely be unable to find work, according to a study by the McKinsey Global Institute. Meanwhile, there will be a shortage of about 1.5 million college-educated workers.