The disappearance of mid-level jobs during the Great Recession, along with overall high unemployment, have made it hard for recent college graduates to find good jobs upon leaving school. More than 50 percent of college graduates under age 25 are either jobless or underemployed, according to an analysis from Drexel University and the Economic Policy Institute:
While there’s strong demand in science, education and health fields, arts and humanities flounder. Median wages for those with bachelor’s degrees are down from 2000, hit by technological changes that are eliminating midlevel jobs such as bank tellers. Most future job openings are projected to be in lower-skilled positions such as home health aides, who can provide personalized attention as the U.S. population ages.
Taking underemployment into consideration, the job prospects for bachelor’s degree holders fell last year to the lowest level in more than a decade.
Recent graduates are struggling to find mid- and high-level jobs upon graduating and are increasingly turning to jobs in restaurants and retail. As a result, median wages have dropped.
The high jobless and underemployment rate could have long-term consequences for the American economy. Total student loan debt surpassed $1 trillion this year, and the rate of delinquency on those loans is already disturbingly high. Though college graduates earn significantly more than workers with only a high school diploma, the inability of college graduates to find adequate employment could drive those delinquencies even higher. Worse yet, it could plague more workers with life-long debt, preventing them from forming new households or purchasing more consumer goods.