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Many people who drop out of high school feel the negative result of their decision to leave school in their financial statuses. The average annual income for a high school dropout was $17,299 in 2005 compared to $26,933 for a high school graduate (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2009). The impact that this has on the country’s economy is less visible, but its effects continue to accumulate. If most the high schools in the states improved sufficiently to graduate all of their students, rather than the 69% of students who currently graduate annually; then the payoff would be significant. For example, if the class of 2009 students had all graduated, the nation’s economy would have benefited from nearly $300 billion during their lifetimes (U.S. Bureau of Census, 2009).
On average, graduates work hard and are able to enjoy this benefit in their lifetime. Simultaneously, the nation would benefit from their increased purchasing power; see higher levels of worker productivity, and collect higher tax receipts. Not only do high school dropouts earn less when they are unemployed, but also they are at a greater tendency to be let go or to be unemployed in times of economic crises. With the onset of economic recession during the last months of 2007, the national unemployment rate rose from 5 percent to 9.4 percent in July 2009. This increase in unemployment translated to more than 6.5 million job losses, with more losses expected before the economy rebounds (U.S. Bureau of Census, 2006).