good jobs

These states offer good jobs that don’t require 4-year degrees


Majority of good jobs growth goes to workers with associate’s degrees or some college education

“There are millions of good jobs in our economy for workers who have graduated from high school and completed some post-secondary education or training,” said Chauncy Lennon, head of Workforce Initiatives, JPMorgan Chase. “We need to connect this workforce with these opportunities and a good place to start is with the data that shows where these jobs are.”

Nationally, a gain of four million good jobs in skilled-services industries, such as financial services and health services, more than offset the 2.5 million good jobs lost in manufacturing. States in the West and Upper Plains experienced the largest percentage gains in skilled-services good jobs, with especially strong growth in Arizona, Montana, Idaho, and North Dakota. Other states, primarily in the Northeast and Midwest, experienced much slower growth in skilled-service employment than the national average.

Every state experienced a shift in education requirements from high school diplomas or less to some college or associate’s degrees. Associate’s degree holders in Minnesota gained good jobs the fastest, with 31 percent growth from 1991 to 2015. While high school graduates held more than half of the good jobs for those without B.A.s in 20 states in 1991, by 2015 that was only true in two states: Delaware and West Virginia.

“Strengthening the connection between school and work will better prepare these workers for the demands of today’s new good jobs,” said Anthony P. Carnevale, director of the Georgetown Center and lead author of the report.

Differences in industry concentrations and relative demand for workers helped determine the size and importance of the non-B.A. job market. For example, workers without B.A.s in Massachusetts hold only about a third of all good jobs. Non-B.A. workers in Wyoming, however, hold 62 percent of all good jobs.

Other key findings include:
● Sixteen states plus the District of Columbia have fewer good jobs for workers without B.A.s than they had in 1991. States that were hit hard by manufacturing employment declines were likely to shed good jobs overall.
● States with the most significant blue-collar losses were New York, Pennsylvania, California, Ohio, and Illinois.
● Only two states (Massachusetts and New York) and the District of Columbia shed good jobs in both blue-collar and skilled-services industries.
● Only four states experienced a rising share of good jobs held by workers with no more than a high school diploma.

The Georgetown Center and JPMorgan Chase & Co. created this research project to investigate the impact that overarching structural economic change has had and is having on workers who do not get a B.A. The centerpiece of the collaboration is an interactive website that documents the concentration of these jobs, nationally, at the state level, by industry and occupation, and by wage. GoodJobsData.org also explores the quality of these good jobs and the demographics of those who hold them.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

Laura Ascione

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