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Many newly minted college graduates entering the labor market in the wake of the Great Recession have had a tough time finding good jobs. But just how difficult has it been, and are things getting better? And for which graduates? These questions can be difficult to answer because timely information on the employment prospects of college graduates has been hard to come by. To address this gap, today we are launching a new interactive web feature to provide data on a wide range of job market metrics for recent college graduates, including trends in unemployment rates, underemployment rates, and wages. We also provide data on the demand for college-educated workers, as well as differences in labor market outcomes across college majors. These data will be updated regularly and are available for download.
With the college graduation season well under way, a new crop of freshly minted graduates is entering the job market and many bright young minds are hoping to land a good first job. It’s no wonder if they are approaching the job hunt with some trepidation. For a number of years now, recent college graduates have been struggling to find good jobs. However, the labor market for college graduates is improving. After declining for nearly two years, openings for jobs requiring a college degree have picked up since last summer. Not only has this increase in the demand for educated workers continued to push down the unemployment rate for recent graduates, but it has also finally started to help reduce underemployment, though the underemployment rate remains high. While successfully navigating the job market will likely remain a challenge, it appears that finding a good job has become just a little bit easier for the class of 2015.
This morning, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York released a set of interactive visuals that present school spending and its various components—such as instructional spending, instructional support, leadership support, and building services spending—across all thirty-two Community School Districts (CSD) in New York City and map their progression over time. The interactive features allow the user to easily view the data and observe spending trends. Our purpose is to make data on education finance more accessible to a broader audience.
Uncertainty is of considerable interest for understanding the behavior of individuals as well as the movements in key macroeconomic and financial variables. Despite its importance, direct measures of uncertainty aren’t widely available. Because of this data limitation, a common practice is to use survey-based measures of forecast dispersion—reflecting disagreement among respondents—to proxy for uncertainty. Is this a reliable practice? Here, we review the distinction between disagreement and uncertainty as concepts, and show that this conceptual distinction carries over to their empirical counterparts, suggesting that disagreement is not generally a good proxy for uncertainty.
In the first of this two post series, we investigated the relationship between state aid and local funding before and after the Great Recession. We presented robust evidence that sharp changes in state aid brought about by the prolonged downturn influenced local budget decision-making. More specifically, we found that relative to the pre-recession relationship, a dollar decline in state aid resulted in a $0.19 increase in local revenue and a $0.14 increase in property tax revenue in New York school districts. In this post, we dive deeper to consider whether there were variations in this compensatory response across school districts, using an approach described in our recent study. For example, one might expect that there would be differences in willingness and ability to offset cuts in state aid across districts with varying levels of property wealth, which in turn might lead to differences in responses. Was this really the case?
Correction: Earlier, we inadvertently posted the content of the second post in this two-part series under today’s headline. We have updated the blog with the correct content and will post part two on November 12. We apologize for the error.
It’s well known that the Great Recession led to a massive reduction in state government revenues, in spite of the federal government’s attempt to ease budget tightening through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act aid to states. School districts rely heavily on aid from higher levels of government for their funding, and, even with the federal stimulus, total aid to school districts declined sharply in the post-recession years. But the local school budget process gives local residents and school districts a powerful tool to influence school spending. In this post, we summarize our recent study in which we investigate how New York school districts reacted when state aid declined sharply following the recession.
This post is the first in a series of four Liberty Street Economics posts examining the value of a college degree.
Not so long ago, people rarely questioned the value of a college degree. A bachelor’s degree was seen as a surefire ticket to a career-oriented, good-paying job. Today, however, many people are uncertain whether going to college is such a wise decision. It’s easy to see why. Tuition costs have been rising considerably faster than inflation, student debt is mounting, wages for college graduates have been falling, and recent college graduates have been struggling to find good jobs. These trends might lead one to believe that college is no longer a good investment. But when you dig into the data, is this really true? This week, we examine the value of a college degree in a four-part blog series. In this first post, we do the basic math and show that despite what appears to be a set of alarming trends, the value of a bachelor’s degree for the average graduate has held near its all-time high of about $300,000 for more than a decade.
We read with interest a new Brookings Institution report, Is a Student Loan Crisis on the Horizon?, assessing the weight of the student debt burden. It was also pleasing to see the New York Times, several of our Twitter followers, and others citing work on this blog in counterpoint.
Basit Zafar, Zachary Bleemer, Meta Brown, and Wilbert van der Klaauw
U.S. student debt has more than tripled since 2004, and at over $1 trillion is now substantially greater than both credit card and auto debt balances. There are substantial potential benefits to be gained from taking out a student loan to fund a college education, including higher earnings and lower unemployment rates for college grads. However, there are significant costs to having student debt: The loans frequently carry relatively high interest rates, delinquency is common and costly (involving potential late fees and collection fees), and the federal government has the power to garnish the wages of individuals with delinquent federally guaranteed student loans (in fact, reported federal recovery rates on defaulted direct student loans exceed70 percent). The ability of U.S. households to make well-informed decisions regarding higher education and student loan take-up for themselves (or members of their households) depends on the extent to which they accurately perceive the costs and benefits of such choices. To what extent does the American public understand the implications of student loan indebtedness? To shed light on this question, we went out and surveyed U.S. households.
Last year, our blog presented results from the FRBNY Consumer Credit Panel (CCP) indicating that, at a time of unprecedented growth in student debt, student borrowers were collectively retreating from housing and auto markets. In this post, we compare our 2012 findings to the news for 2013.
Liberty Street Economics features insight and analysis from economists working at the intersection of research and policy. The editors are Michael Fleming, Andrew Haughwout, Thomas Klitgaard, and Donald Morgan.
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