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Our education gap

Apparently, we have one in Houston.

The Houston area doesn’t have enough educated workers to fill all the jobs that local industry creates, according to a study released today by the Brookings Institution.

That education gap, in turn, pushes up the local unemployment rate, according to the study, which ranked the Houston area 94th among the nation’s 100 largest regions. The Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area came in at No. 96.

The average job in Houston requires 13.53 years of education, said Jonathan Rothwell, senior research analyst at Brookings in Washington, D.C. The average Houston area resident has only 13.31 years.

The study used several years of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to determine the type and number of jobs in each region and what kind of education is required to do the work. It compared that to a Census Bureau survey of actual education levels for each community.

You can see the executive summary here and the full report here. Personally, I’m skeptical that such a small difference in the average amount of education makes that much difference, but I suppose one way of looking at it is that it probably reflects college graduation rates as much as anything, and it’s easy enough to see how that could correlate to employment. Anyway, read it for yourself and see what you think.

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