“More college” will not cure unemployment, editorializes the New York Times. While people with bachelor’s degree are more likely to be working, recent graduates aren’t doing very well.
Over the past year, for example, the unemployment rate for college grads under age 25 has averaged 9.2 percent, up from 8.8 percent a year earlier and 5.8 percent in the first year of the recession that began in December 2007. That means recent grads have about the same level of unemployment as the general population. It also suggests that many employed recent grads may be doing work that doesn’t require a college degree.
Even more disturbing, there is no guarantee that unemployed or underemployed college grads will move into much better jobs as conditions improve. Early bouts of joblessness, or starting in a lower-level job with lower pay, can mean lower levels of career attainment and earnings over a lifetime.
College-educated workers’ median pay has stagnated for the past 10 years, at roughly $72,000 a year for men and $52,000 a year for women, the Times notes. Considering the large increase in the number of college-educated workers, that’s not surprising.
Recent four-year graduates are doing great compared to high school graduates, notes The Quick and the Ed. “It turns out that the unemployment rate for Americans under the age of 25 with only a high school diploma is 23 percent, compared to only 7 percent for those with a college degree. So college is even better for recent grads than it is for the overall population.”