…But Better Degree Bonuses in Minnesota
Seth Tupper reports on a Georgetown study that finds that, in 2015, people without four-year degrees held 55% of the “good jobs” in South Dakota. The Georgetown researchers define “good jobs” as paying at least $35K per year for folks under 45 and at least $45K per year for old workers.
(Funny: by that metric, at the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year, being a first-year teacher was a “good job” for new college grads in only 18 of South Dakota’s 150 school districts and nowhere for folks over 44 jumping into teaching as a new career. Last year, base salary for teachers was above $35K in 129 districts and above $45K in one, Rapid City.)
Tupper says these data “dovetail” with Governor Dennis Daugaard’s persistent effort to discourage kids from pursuing silly university degrees like psychology and philosophy and go to vo-tech school for a two-year degree instead. I’m certainly happy to see evidence that South Dakota’s vo-tech grads are able to win a higher share of good jobs in South Dakota than they might elsewhere—nationally, folks with less than a four-year degree hold only 45% of the good jobs.
But maybe non-degree holders are able to get more of the “good jobs” in South Dakota because they don’t have as much competition from degree holders. According to the Georgetown study, only 31% of South Dakota’s workers have college degrees. In Minnesota, 39% of workers have BAs or better, and they hold 53% of the good jobs.
Degree holders may leave more good jobs for non-degree holders in South Dakota because earning a degree provides a much bigger boost to one’s earning power in other states. The Georgetown study says South Dakota workers have 11.8% more purchasing power than the national average. Minnesotans enjoy 2.6% better purchasing power than the national average. Check out the differences between median salaries—raw and adjusted for state purchasing power—for non-degree holders and degree holders, across all jobs and within the Georgetown “good jobs” subset:
|all non-BA in good jobs||$52,000||$56,000||$58,136||$57,456|
|all BA in good jobs||$58,000||$72,000||$64,844||$73,872|
Across all jobs, getting a four-year degree raises the median purchasing power 40% in South Dakota and 69% in Minnesota. Among the good jobs, South Dakota degree holders enjoy a 12% advantage in median purchasing power over their non-degree-holding competitors; in Minnesota, that BA advantage is 29%.
The Georgetown data support Governor Daugaard’s contention that you can get all sorts of good jobs in South Dakota without a college degree. But degree holders still tend to make more money, and degrees give workers an even bigger advantage in Minnesota.