EDUCATION AND JOBS: Government data suggest that education is increasingly crucial in protecting workers from unemployment.
The difference in joblessness between the country’s least educated people and most educated people increased during the recession, according to statistics from the Labor Department. People without a high school diploma remain more than three times as likely to be unemployed than are college graduates.
The increases in the unemployment rate, from December 2007 through August:
— 7.8 percent to 14 percent for people who did not graduate from high school
— 4.7 percent to 10.3 percent for those with just a high school diploma
— 3.9 percent to 8.7 percent for people with some college
— 2.1 percent to 4.6 percent for those with bachelor’s or more advanced degrees
The gap between the jobless rates of the most educated and those with less education is wider now. More unemployed people without a high school diploma may also have stopped looking for work, meaning they’re not counted in the government’s main jobless rate.
“This unemployment data, I think, supports the notion that the less educated would be more impacted by a downturn,” said Jim Borbely, an economist with the Labor Department.
SLOGAN BACKLASH: Corporate slogans can make shoppers rebel, according to a recent study.
In an article for the April issue of the Journal of Consumer Research, researchers said corporate slogans exhorting consumers to save money could lead shoppers to want to spend more, while tagwords associated with luxury could inhibit spending.
In one exercise, 435 college students were shown brands associated with value, including Walmart and Kmart.
After being flashed the brands, they students said they were less inclined to spend. But after students read slogans that promoted savings and deals, such as “Focus on value, think us,” students tended to want to spend more money.
When students were shown brands deemed “luxury” such as Tiffany and Neiman Marcus, they tended to be willing to spend more money. However, exposure to catchphrases that promoted spending, such as “Luxury, you deserve it,” often resulted in students saying they would spend less money.
The researchers, marketing professors from three universities, said their study suggested that consumers often want to do the opposite of what corporate slogans tell them to do. The study said that shoppers often understand and resist — perhaps unconsciously — retailers’ attempts to persuade them to act in a certain way.
Source: The Associated Press.