Frightening New Numbers

Don't get too eager to graduate: New study finds 53 percent of grads under 25 are out of work

Don't get too eager to graduate: New study finds 53 percent of grads under 25 are out of work

Most recent college graduates have seen the grim front-lines of the employment search in a down-turned economy — if not from personal experience, then from that of friends or family members.

The tendency to submit résumé after résumé, finally settling for a job with mediocre pay and moderate intellectual engagement to hold down "in the meantime," is a common one. And the nation-wide result of this pattern is astonishing. 

A recent Associated Press analysis looks at the 2011 Current Population Survey, combined with other research data that quantifies "underemployment," and finds that,

About 1.5 million, or 53.6%, of bachelor's degree-holders under the age of 25 last year were jobless or underemployed, the highest share in at least 11 years. . . Out of the 1.5 million who languished in the job market, about half were underemployed, an increase from the previous year."

Recent college graduates are "heavily represented" in the food service industry and lower-level, office-related jobs that require a high school diploma or less.

Southern states boast more recent grads in higher-skilled jobs — Texas has, in general, fared better than most during the recession — but, overall, job prospects for the future look pretty bleak: 

According to government projections released last month, only three of the 30 occupations with the largest projected number of job openings by 2020 will require a bachelor's degree or higher to fill the position — teachers, college professors and accountants. Most job openings are in professions such as retail sales, fast food and truck driving, jobs which aren't easily replaced by computers."

This lends credence to an argument so common at post-grad dinner parties: What purpose does this expensive degree actually serve?

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Limited employment prospects leads to a sort of post-grad desperation. But with a changing world and fewer middle-income jobs, will the statisics ever improve?  Degree Pivot