In ordinary times, a college degree goes a long way toward securing employment or keeping a job, even during a recession.
But this recession is so far-reaching that few are immune from the consequences. In fact, labor economists say the unemployment rate for workers with a bachelor's degree or higher is poised to hit a record high.
"In a flood, everyone gets swept away," said Lawrence Mishel, an economist with the liberal Economic Policy Institute in Washington.
In November, the unemployment rate among workers with a college degree or higher reached 3.1 percent. While that figure is modest compared with the national unemployment rate of 6.7 percent -- and nowhere near the 10.5 percent unemployment rate among those without a high school diploma -- it hasn't been that high since 2003.
Because the unemployment rate tends to lag behind other economic indicators, analysts think unemployment among college-educated workers is likely to surpass 4 percent, which would be the highest rate since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking unemployment by education level in 1970.
CARMAKERS' YEAR TO END ON DISMAL NOTE
Carmakers will close out one of the most tumultuous and miserable years in their history today when they report what is certain to be another dreadful batch of monthly sales figures.
Each of the six largest automakers, including foreign and domestic brands, is expected to say that its sales in the United States fell at least 30 percent in December. The bleakest numbers will most likely come from General Motors and Chrysler, which received billions in loans from the federal government at the end of December.
brown vows to create more jobs
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown pledged Sunday to create 100,000 jobs through a public works program that would include repairs to roads and schools as well as environmental and high-tech initiatives.
Brown said he would also press banks, which have received an injection of $54 billion from the government, to resume normal lending as Britain faces its sharpest economic downturn in decades.
Chris Grayling, a spokesman for the opposition Conservatives, accused Brown of making "a series of headline-grabbing announcements to cover up the fact that as a nation, we have run out of cash."
MADOFF GOODS NOT BIG SELLERS ON EBAY
DID YOU GET FLEECED BY BERNARD MADOFF? OR DID YOU BUY THAT MADOFF SECURITIES FLEECE JACKET ON EBAY?
Madoff, who was arrested last month after allegedly telling investigators he lost as much as $50 billion of investors' money in a giant Ponzi scheme, promoted his firm by putting its name on everything from T-shirts to beach towels, tote bags and umbrellas.
Dozens of the items are now being sold on eBay.
The Madoff name wasn't fetching top dollar on the Internet. Bidding for many items didn't rise above $50.
A fleece jacket, size L, was doing better Sunday, with bids approaching $150.
One seller put a Madoff Securities promotional backpack up for sale, writing, "These are the same ones that Bernie used to haul off all the loot!"