In post-recession America, it’s a coin toss whether college graduates will wind up fully employed.
Nearly 50% of grads over the last five years are unemployed or underemployed, according to a Rutgers University study released Thursday.
The research compared the job outlook for “post-recession” grads with that of graduates before the U.S. economic collapse in 2008.
Declining opportunity for even top students is squashing optimism in today’s youth, most of whom worry the American Dream is beyond their reach, researchers found.
Only one in five college graduates said they expected their generation would be more successful than the generations before them.
Students from the Class of 2008 and later faced a significantly bleaker future than grads from prior years, according to the study. Less than half were able to find jobs within one year of graduation, down from 73% before 2008.
Those who did find work were often disappointed with the jobs and salaries they wound up accepting. The average starting salary dropped from $30,000 to $27,000, the study found.
The 1.4 million graduates from 4-year colleges who will enter the workforce this spring face a U.S. unemployment rate of 8%, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics.
And the gloomy outlook is confounded by the fact that tuition prices for higher education keep going up, forcing student debt up, too. The majority of graduates left school about $20,000 in debt, the Rutgers study found.
As a result, recent grads are likely to delay getting married, having children or buying a house, are are more likely to go back to graduate school to better their career chances, said Van Horn.
Well, I guess some of these college graduates who can't find work outside of Starbucks can go to grad school and increase their job opportunities and earning potential, right?
Uh, maybe not:
In this economy, even having multiple degrees isn't a guarantee against poverty.
The number of PhD recipients on food stamps and other forms of welfare more than tripled between 2007 and 2010 to 33,655, according to an Urban Institute analysis cited by the Chronicle of Higher Education. The number of master's degree holders on food stamps and other forms of welfare nearly tripled during that same time period to 293,029, according to the same analysis.
The boost in PhD recipients receiving food stamps is just the latest indication of how Americans are struggling in a down economy. Overall, the number of Americans on food stamps rose 43 percent over the past three years to 46.3 million Americans as of February 2012, according to the Department of Agriculture.
In addition, even graduate degrees that many used to consider a guarantee to a life of wealth and success are going down in value. The sluggish economy has pushed graduates with law degrees to look for jobs outside of the legal profession, according to U.S. News and World Report.
The situation is particularly dire for faculty working outside the tenure track as cuts to funding for public colleges have squeezed their salaries. Many adjunct faculty members are likely to be on welfare, since they live on "poverty wages," the Chronicle of Higher Education reports.
Meanwhile, secure tenure-track jobs are disappearing as adjunct faculty positions become more the norm, according to several news sources. While more than half of all university faculty members were tenured or on the tenure track in 1975, that percentage has plunged to less than a third of all faculty members as of 2007, according to Department of Education data cited by the Chronicle of Higher Education in a separate report.
All of these factors, plus a less-than-stellar job market, have forced many PhDs to work in menial jobs. There are 5,057 janitors with PhDs, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data cited by the Houston Chronicle.
Janitors with PhD's.
With a hundred thousand in loan debt, of course.
Now there's an emblem for the Obama Age.
How come nobody grades Bloomberg on whether he creates a job market for all these people he's pushing to go to college?
How come nobody grades Obama on that either?
It seems the teachers who have taught these people are blamed for the problem, and of course the schools they went to are blamed as well.
But nobody blames the politicians and business leaders and corporations who have created the very economic environment that is going to make it so hard for the current youth generation to make a viable living.