Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The dumbing of America

"For the first time in decades, and probably ever, workers retiring from the US labour force will be better-educated on average (according to one measure anyway) than their much younger counterparts. Some 12 per cent of 60-64 year olds have a master’s degree or better; less than 10 per cent of 30-34 year olds do. More generally, the decades-long rise in the educational quality of the labour force is coming to an end. This is important, because that rise has been one of the principal forces driving American economic growth.

"These findings are from a new study by Jacob Funk Kirkegaard of the Peterson Institute for International Economics: 'The Accelerating Decline in America’s High-Skilled Workforce: Implications for Immigration Policy'. If you are interested in the prospects for American competitiveness and continued economic leadership, Jacob’s study is mandatory reading.

"Consider this particularly striking chart (from chapter 1 of the study [pdf], page 12), which shows the proportion of the labour force with at least a college degree, by age group, for OECD countries ..."

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