Layoff Trends: NYT vs. WSJ

The newspapers make completely opposing points about recent layoffs.

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Earlier this week, political strategist Mark Penn wrote in the Wall Street Journal that the newest recessionary microtrend is layoffs of professionals--lawyers and doctors and the like. While "America has been losing manufacturing jobs for decades," it's now seeing a new phenomenon of the "wholesale loss of professional jobs," Penn writes.

Penn laments that these professionals "worked and studied hard to get to the next level in life, only to have their jobs and careers wiped out along with so many others."

Today, in the New York Times, we read this:

Unlike the last two recessions--earlier this decade and in the early 1990s--this one is causing much more job loss among the less educated than among college graduates. Those earlier recessions introduced the country to the concept of mass white-collar layoffs. The brunt of the layoffs in this recession is falling on construction workers, hotel workers, retail workers and others without a four-year degree.

College grads 25 years and older may take comfort that their unemployment rate is just 3.8 percent compared to the national average of 7.6 percent. The unemployment rate for workers 25 years and older who didn't graduate high school is 12 percent. For high school grads (again, 25 and older), it's 8 percent, and 6.2 percent for those who have had some college education.

But those numbers don't tell us much about the effects of this recession. Here's a look at the percent change in the number of unemployed between January 2008 and January 2009:

Non-high school grad: up 54 percent

High school grad: up 74 percent

Some college: up 70 percent

College grad: up 85 percent

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