New report: 30M good jobs that pay without a BA (but many still require college)

Although the decline in the manufacturing economy eliminated many good jobs for high school graduates, new research from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (Georgetown Center) finds that there are currently 30 million good jobs in the U.S. that pay well without a bachelor’s degree (B.A.). These good jobs have a median salary of $55,000.

Good Jobs that Pay without a B.A. shows that good jobs continue to grow, but they are changing from traditional blue-collar industries to skilled-services industries. A gain of 4 million good jobs in skilled services industries, such as financial services and health services, has more than offset the 2.8 million good jobs lost in manufacturing.

While the good jobs of the manufacturing era only required a high school diploma or less, new good jobs tend to require at least some postsecondary education and training. The growth of good jobs has been greatest for workers with an associate degree. Although the economy has shifted, workers without a B.A. still comprise 64% of all workers.

Americans with only high school diplomas still have the largest share of good jobs (11.6 million), but that share continues to decline. Workers with some college have 9.3 million good jobs, those with associate degrees have 7.6 million good jobs, and high school dropouts only have 1.7 million.

Other key findings:

  • Whites still have the largest share of good jobs, but that share has declined. Latinos have a smaller share, but have seen the most growth. Blacks have the smallest share and have seen only slight growth.
  • Men dominate good jobs that pay without a B.A., consistently grabbing 70% of these well-paying jobs.
  • Women have not been able to attain good jobs in any greater numbers, even with the shift in employment toward healthcare and other skilled-services industries.
  • Utah has the fifth-largest share of good jobs in the nation, behind Wyoming, New Jersey, Maryland, and Connecticut. The largest economies—California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Illinois—have the largest number of good jobs.

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Trisha Dugovic
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