Value of a college degree becomes more evident than ever (MSN Money)

© Andrew Rich/Getty Images 

© Andrew Rich/Getty Images 

Factory jobs dwindled over the past several decades, and instead of low-skill, low-wage service work filling the void left by manufacturing's decline, a new report shows that college-educated workers have taken over a much bigger share of the economy. 

While the makeup of the labor force has changed, the shift has not been from a manufacturing-driven economy to one underpinned by legions of people in dead-end fast-food jobs. Rather, the country's economic value is now largely propped up by college graduates.

For the report, published Monday by Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce, Georgetown's Anthony Carnevale and Stephen Rose analyzed several sets of government data to show that job opportunities for college-educated workers have grown, and college graduates produce more than half of the country's economic value. From 1967 to 2007, the share of high- skill management and professional jobs rose 14 percent, and that those jobs represent 35 percent of all U.S. jobs. Over the same period, opportunities for low-skill workers declined 10 percent. These low-skill labor roles, such as fast-food server, retail worker, and dishwasher, now make up only 29 percent of jobs...