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.
The website contains a series of interactive charts that focus on four aspects of the labor market for college graduates.
- Unemployment: We provide a chart that shows the unemployment rate over time for recent graduates compared with a number of other groups, such as similarly aged workers without a college degree.
- Underemployment: We also include charts plotting the underemployment rate—that is, the share of college graduates working in jobs that typically don’t require a college degree—and trends in the types of jobs held by those who are underemployed.
- Wages: Another chart shows the median wage earned by recent college graduates compared with individuals who only have a high school diploma, as well as some information about the distribution of earnings for recent college graduates.
- Demand: Finally, we provide a chart that tracks the demand for college graduates, as measured by online job advertisements.
Because labor market outcomes vary considerably by college major, we also provide a table that will enable users to explore a number of metrics for recent college graduates across seventy-three different majors. In addition to showing differences in unemployment and underemployment rates, we also provide information about how much typical workers within each major earn at both the early and mid-points of their careers, as well as the share of graduates within each major who go on to earn a graduate degree.
Most of the data we make available will be updated on a quarterly basis. The table that provides information by college major will be updated annually during the first quarter of each year. We hope this information is helpful to students, parents, policymakers, and many others who are interested in timely information about how well recent college graduates are faring in today’s economy.
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.
Jaison R. Abel is a research officer in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Research and Statistics Group.
Richard Deitz is an assistant vice president in the Bank’s Research and Statistics Group.