Stories

How education, joblessness and earnings intersect

This animated chart — called a connected scatter plot — tracks the fortunes of workers with and without college education. Starting in 2000, it follows what most of us already know anecdotally and instinctively -- that more educated workers saw a smaller surge in unemployment during the 2008-2009 recession, and more rapid wage growth afterward. Joblessness hit less-educated workers much harder, and their wages have taken longer to recover.

How the chart works: Each line is a different group -- high-school educated (on the left), some college education (middle) and college degree (right). The unemployment rate is mapped along the vertical axis, and median weekly income along the horizontal. Time is represented along the length of the line, and shows how long it took each group to recover from the great recession.

The data: All data comes via the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Monthly unemployment data was averaged into quarterly data to and matched to earnings data for each group.