Sunday, April 22, 2012

College Grads Face Sour Job Market

More than half of new bachelor degree graduates are jobless or underemployed

An analysis of government information by the Associated Press shows that half of college graduates under 25 are unemployed or underemployed. Median wages are down from the level of 2000, through an education in science, education or health fields is in strong demand. In 2011, 53% of young college graduates were unemployed or underemployed, a high compared to the 2000 low of 41% unemployed or underemployed. Arts and humanities degrees are less attractive. Overall, job prospects for holders of bachelor’s degrees are at the lowest level in more than ten years. Most future job openings are expected for positions with lower skill levels such as home health aides.
The decisions young adults make about schooling, academic field and training, which college to attend, and how to finance the degree have enormous and long-term financial consequences.

The job market is worst for young graduates in the Mountain West, followed by the rural southeastern states and the Pacific region (including Alaska and Hawaii). The rest of the South, especially Texas, has brighter prospects for graduates in higher-skill jobs. This data is based on a 2011 survey by Northeastern University with additional information from Paul Harrington at the Drexel University and by the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington think tank, relying on Department of Labor assessments.
Young college graduates were often employed in jobs requiring a high school diploma such as waiters, waitresses, bartenders, receptionists, payroll clerks, cashiers, retail clerks and customer representatives. The government projects that of the 30 occupations with the highest number of openings by 2020, only three will require a degree – teachers, college professors and accountants. Those educated in nursing, teaching, accounting or computer science were most likely to find a position in their field, whereas a background in zoology, anthropology, philosophy, art history or the humanities was hardest to find for graduates in those fields.

Job category gains seem to be going to workers in the top or bottom of the wage scale. Middle income jobs for holders of bachelor’s degrees are getting scarcer. Some studies show that up to 95% of lost positions were in middle-income jobs such as bank tellers – positions not expected to return in a society turning to high technology.

Summarized from an April 22,2012, AP article by Hope Yen at:

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