New college grads: could be worse
It’s become an article of faith lately that there’s little point in going to college—you just end up deep in debt and unemployed. That’s not really true, at least the unemployed part.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York—which has shown an unusual interest in the state of the youth lately, having also developed its own data on student debt—is just out with a presentation on how recent college grads have been faring in the job market. (It’s part of a longer presentation that begins on p. 11 of this PDF.) The soundbite is: they’re not thriving, but things could be a lot worse.
• Recent college grads have an unemployment rate about 2 points below the national average.
• The youngest grads have the highest unemployment rate, but things improve markedly by the age of 25 or so.
• The underemployment rate (the share of college grads holding jobs for which bachelor’s degrees are not required) is high, but—surprisingly—below early 1990s levels and comparable to early 2000s levels. In other words, there’s no unprecedented surge of the college educated young into the latte-serving and pants-folding job categories.
• Earnings for recent grads are higher than those without bachelor’s degrees. This is especially true of those who majored in technical fields like engineering and computer science, but it’s even true for liberal arts majors.
So while it’s not a pretty picture for recent college grads, they’re still better off on average than the un-degreed.