Unemployment rates for all education levels have increased, but most significantly for segments of the labor force with limited education. As of February, the unemployment rate for those without a high school diploma was 10.6 percentage points above that of those with college degrees. The gap hit 10.8 percentage points in October 2009, the largest spread on record.
While the severity of the gap is alarming, the general trend is somewhat expected, since there have been declines in segments have high concentrations of lower-wage labor that generally do not require higher education credentials. These segments include new home and commercial real estate construction, some manufacturing, and auto production.