A Guide to Education and No Child Left Behind
October 2004
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Education and the Economy

Satisfying the demand for highly skilled workers is the key to maintaining competitiveness and prosperity in the global economy.

Over the 10 years from March 1993 to March 2003, employment of persons ages 25 to 64 with master's degrees or higher increased by more than 3.2 million while employment of persons ages 25 to 64 with no more than a high school diploma increased by fewer than 460,000.1

Additionally, the average unemployment rate for high school dropouts in 2003 was more than 1.5 times higher than the unemployment rate for people with just high school diplomas (8.8 percent compared to 5.5 percent) and almost three times higher than the rate for college graduates (8.8 percent to 3.1 percent).2

A recent report found that raising student achievement directly leads to national economic growth. The report estimates that "significant improvements in education over a 20-year period could lead to as much as a 4 percent addition to the Gross Domestic Product" or over $400 billion in today's terms.3

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Last Modified: 03/08/2006