Liberty Street Economics

« States Are Recovering Lost Jobs at Surprisingly Similar Rates | Main | Historical Echoes: Skull Bumps and Economic Behavior »

June 27, 2013

Just Released: Are Recent College Graduates Finding Good Jobs?

Jaison R. Abel and Richard Deitz

Stories abound about recent college graduates who are struggling to find good jobs in today’s economy, especially with student debt levels rising so quickly. But just how bad are the job prospects for recent college graduates when one moves beyond anecdotes and looks at the data? How widespread is unemployment? And how common is it for college graduates to work in a job that doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree—that is, how widespread is underemployment? We examined these questions at today’s economic press briefing at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

        In our presentation, we show that both unemployment and underemployment for young graduates are in fact higher now compared to, say, a decade ago. At the same time, however, we show that it is not unusual for newly minted college graduates to take some time to transition into the labor market and find jobs that utilize their education. In other words, young graduates typically have relatively high unemployment and underemployment rates as they start their careers, but those rates drop pretty rapidly by the time they hit their late twenties.

        Perhaps not surprisingly, college major plays a key role in how well recent graduates have fared in the labor market. We show that there are large differences in unemployment rates, underemployment rates, and average wages across majors. In particular, we show that those with degrees in majors that provide technical training, such as “Engineering” and “Math & Computers,” or in those that are geared toward growing parts of the economy, such as “Education” and “Health,” have tended to do pretty well when compared to the rest of the pack. At the other end of the spectrum, those with a “Liberal Arts” or “Leisure & Hospitality” major tend to have lower wages, higher unemployment, and higher underemployment.

        Regardless of major, though, we show that those with a college degree still tend to do better than those without. In fact, even recent college graduates who take a job that typically does not require a college degree tend to earn more than those with only an Associate’s degree or high school diploma—and this pattern is true for people with degrees in the lowest-paying majors. So, while times may have gotten tougher for recent college graduates since the Great Recession, obtaining a college degree still appears to provide significant economic benefits.

        For more information on the job prospects of recent college graduates in the nation and in the region, see the New York Fed’s regional economic press briefing web page.


Disclaimer
The views expressed in this post are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or the Federal Reserve System. Any errors or omissions are the responsibility of the authors.





Abel_jaisonJaison R. Abel is a senior economist in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's Research and Statistics Group.


Deitz_richardRichard Deitz is an assistant vice president in the Research and Statistics Group.
Posted by Blog Author at 12:00:00 PM in Education
Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The comments to this entry are closed.

About the Blog
Liberty Street Economics features insight and analysis from economists working at the intersection of research and Fed policymaking.

The views expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of the New York Fed or the Federal Reserve System.

Upcoming Posts
Useful Links
Feedback & Comment Guidelines
Liberty Street Economics invites you to comment on a post.
Comment Guidelines
We encourage you to submit comments, queries and suggestions on our blog entries. We will post them below the entry, subject to the following guidelines:
Please be brief: Comments are limited to 1500 characters.
Please be quick: Comments submitted more than 1 week after the blog entry appears will not be posted.
Please try to submit before COB on Friday: Comments submitted after that will not be posted until Monday morning.
Please be on-topic and patient: Comments are moderated and will not appear until they have been reviewed to ensure that they are substantive and clearly related to the topic of the post. The moderator will not post comments that are abusive, harassing, or threatening; obscene or vulgar; or commercial in nature; as well as comments that constitute a personal attack.  We reserve the right not to post a comment; no notice will be given regarding whether a submission will or will not be posted.
Archives