On average, there has pretty much never been a better time to hold a college or advanced degree. Here's some amazing graphs from the Georgetown Public Policy Institute.
The first deals with the recent recession and current "recovery" (clic the pics for more glorious images):
College and Advanced degree holders suffered no net job loss in the recession and have gained 2 million jobs in the recovery. Those with some college suffered moderate job loss in the recession and have just about returned to square one during the recovery. Those with High school diplomas or less lost almost 6 million jobs during the recession and have not regained any of those in the course of the recovery.
The next graph shows that the recession just exacerbated what is a longer run process:
Since 1989 we've seen negative job growth for those with HS or less, and since 1995 a de-coupling of job growth between the some college and college grad or more.
The report also claims that the wage premium for a college or advance degree has held steady in the face of these trends.
So a whether it's just signaling, or whether it's gaining human capital, higher education is more important than ever for economic success in modern America!
Oh and by the way, yes I know that I'm a university professor and stuff like this is very good for me and the future of my profession.