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Lack of a High School Diploma Significantly Impacts Earnings and Employment

September 26, 2013  |  Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education
The information provided here is for informational and educational purposes and does not necessarily reflect the opinion and/or policy position of the Georgia Municipal Association.

Individuals with a bachelor degree or higher earn 2.6 times more than someone with less than a high school diploma and have an unemployment rate that is significantly lower.

A recent report from the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education (GPEE) outlines the strong connection between education and economic development.  From the report:
  • The correlation between educational attainment and rates of unemployment is remarkable. The earning potential of a high school graduate exceeds that of a non-graduate, and the gains for students who pursue postsecondary education are even higher. Concurrently, the unemployment rate is much lower for individuals with higher levels of education.
  • Research has repeatedly shown that compared to high school and college graduates, those who have not completed high school are less likely to be employed full-time, will be unemployed more frequently, and will experience longer periods of unemployment.
  • Approximately 61,000 students in the Class of 2010 dropped out of high school in Georgia. If even half of those students had graduated from high school, the economic benefits would have been huge. With an additional 30,000 high school graduates, the benefits to the state would be:
    • $242 million in increased earnings
    • $191 million in increased spending
    • $475 million in increased home sales
    • $350 million in increased gross state product.
  • This additional spending and investment would potentially support 2,650 new jobs and increase the gross state product of Georgia by up to $350 million with an additional $18 million in increased state tax revenue.
More information can be found in the GPEE report, The Economics of Education (PDF, 871 KB).