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Less-Educated Americans Face Jobless Recovery: Chart of the Day

Americans without a college education are still waiting for their employment outlook to brighten even though the overall jobless rate has fallen to a two-year low.

The CHART OF THE DAY compares the number of workers having a bachelor’s degree and higher with the number of less-educated employees, according to data compiled by the Labor Department. The latter consists of three educational levels: less than a high school diploma, high school graduate and some college.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp. and other retailers catering to lower-income consumers are likely to suffer because of the disparity, David Strasser, an analyst at Janney Capital Markets, wrote today in a report. Lack of demand may drag down sales and profit margins, he wrote.

There were 77.7 million people working in March whose education stopped short of an undergraduate or graduate degree. The total was only 104,000 higher than a 12-year low reached in December 2009.

College graduates, on the other hand, set a record in March as 44.8 million were employed. The first-quarter total jumped by 748,000, beating a 478,000 increase in all nonfarm jobs.

The growth in college-educated workers took place as the unemployment rate dropped 0.6 percentage point in the quarter to

8.8 percent, the lowest since March 2009. The rate was unchanged in April as companies added 185,000 workers, based on average estimates in a Bloomberg survey of economists.

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