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Posts Tagged ‘College Graduates’

Wages for Young College Grads Fall

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Image: Mike Hall Most recent young college graduates are a carrying a heavy debt load for their education, and they face a harder time paying it off because their wages have plummeted as well—part of a decade-long decline, according to a new Economic Snapshot from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

“Between 2007 and 2011, the wages of young college graduates dropped by 4.6 percent (5.1 percent for men and 4.1 percent for women). However, the wage growth of young graduates was weak even before the recent recession began. They have fared poorly over the entire period of general wage stagnation that began during the 2000-2007 business cycle. Between 2000 and 2011, the wages of young college graduates dropped 5.4 percent (1.6 percent for men and 8.5 percent for women).”

For more information on the job prospects of this year’s graduates, read EPI’s recent report, “The Class of 2012: Labor Market for Young Graduates Remains Grim.”

This blog originally appeared in AFL-CIO on May 16, 2012. Reprinted with permission.

About the author: Mike Hall is a former West Virginia newspaper reporter, staff writer for the United Mine Workers Journal and managing editor of the Seafarers Log. He came to the AFL-CIO in 1989 and has written for several federation publications, focusing on legislation and politics, especially grassroots mobilization and workplace safety.

Young Workers Struggle to Find Jobs, Pay Student Debt

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012
Credit: Joe Kekeris

Credit: Joe Kekeris

“For Most Graduates, a Grueling Job Hunt Awaits,” The Wall Street Journalwrites today. Over the weekend, The New York Times sounded the alarmabout employers’ growing use of unpaid internships in fields that typically have never exploited free labor.

So, how bad is it for young workers? According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), over the past year

“the unemployment rate for young high school graduates averaged 31.5 percent and the underemployment rate averaged 54.7 percent. For college graduates, the unemployment rate averaged 9.4 percent over the last year, while the underemployment rate averaged 19.1 percent. Unemployment rates for young African American and Hispanic high school and college graduates were higher than overall rates.”

Between 2000 and 2011, the real wages of young high school graduates declined by 11.1 percent, and the real wages of young college graduates declined by 5.4 percent. Entering the labor market during a downturn can have long-term scarring effects on young workers, in the form of reduced earnings, greater earnings instability and more spells of non-employment over the next 10 to 15 years, according to a recent EPI briefing paper, “The Class of 2012: Labor Market for Young Graduates Remains Grim.”

Compounding their economic grief, young workers face huge student debt loads, a burden that only will increase if Congress doesn’t act ASAP.

(If you’re in Washington, D.C., join young workers on Capitol Hill to meet with key offiicals and tell them what young people are saying about student loans, unemployment, access to higher ed and affordable health care. Click here to hop on a bus to the Hill and to find out more.)

Economist Heidi Shierholz, one of the report’s authors, says the solution to the crisis for young workers is the same as that for all the more than 14 million jobless Americans:

“The policies that will most effectively help young workers right now are ones that generate strong job growth overall, like fiscal relief to states, substantial additional investment in infrastructure and direct job creation programs in communities particularly affected by unemployment.”

This blog originally appeared in AFL-CIO on May 7, 2012. Reprinted with permission.

About the author: Tula Connell got her first union card while she worked her way through college as a banquet bartender for the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee they were represented by a hotel and restaurant local union (the names of the national unions were different then than they are now). With a background in journalism (covering bull roping in Texas and school boards in Virginia) she started working in the labor movement in 1991. Beginning as a writer for SEIU (and OPEIU member), she now blogs under the title of AFL-CIO managing editor.

Half of College Graduates Under 25 are Unemployed or Underemployed

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Laura ClawsonRecent projections have job prospects improving for 2012’s college graduates. But there’s a lot more room for improvement than we’re likely to see:

About 1.5 million, or 53.6 percent, of bachelor’s degree-holders under the age of 25 last year were jobless or underemployed, the highest share in at least 11 years. In 2000, the share was at a low of 41 percent, before the dot-com bust erased job gains for college graduates in the telecommunications and IT fields.

Out of the 1.5 million who languished in the job market, about half were underemployed, an increase from the previous year.

That means 100,000 waiters, waitresses, bartenders and food-service helpers with bachelor’s degrees, plus 125,000 cashiers, retail clerks and customer representatives and 163,000 receptionists and payroll clerks. That’s a reflection of the job categories that are growing these days:

According to government projections released last month, only three of the 30 occupations with the largest projected number of job openings by 2020 will require a bachelor’s degree or higher to fill the position — teachers, college professors and accountants. Most job openings are in professions such as retail sales, fast food and truck driving, jobs which aren’t easily replaced by computers.

It’s the growth of inequality in action. Relatively few jobs pay a middle-class income, and competition for them grows fiercer. It’s not enough to have a bachelor’s degree; at a minimum you have to have one in the right field from the right school—and it sure helps if you’ve been able to afford to do an unpaid internship in your field while in school. But a graduate degree is even better. Too bad if that means thousands of dollars of added debt, but you don’t want to be waiting tables for the rest of your life, do you? And if you score one of those precious, rare good jobs, chances are you won’t be leaving, at least not of your own accord, not while you have all those student loans to pay off and there are so few other good jobs out there. Meanwhile, jobs that don’t require a college education are growing more quickly, but the fact that they don’t require a college education is increasingly used as the rationale for driving down wages (and benefits? forget about benefits), because why would we pay decent wages for these jobs that just anyone can do? So goes the accelerating rationale of an economy by and for the 1 percent.

11:52 AM PT: Congress can keep one small piece of this from getting worse, by acting now to keep federal student loan interest rates from doubling on July 1. Tell House Republicans to keep student loan rates low.

This blog originally appeared in Daily Kos Labor on April 23, 2012. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Laura Clawson is labor editor at Daily Kos. She has a PhD in sociology from Princeton University and has taught at Dartmouth College. From 2008 to 2011, she was senior writer at Working America, the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO.

Recent College Graduates Face Long-Lasting Economic Damage

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

avatar_2563
snapshot-wages_college_gradsThey say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this graph certainly is. (Including, though it’s not what I’m focusing on here, quite a few words about gender inequality.)

Heidi Shierholz writes:

After gains in the 1980s and particularly in the 1990s, hourly wages for young college-educated men in 2000 were $22.75, but that dropped by almost a full dollar to $21.77 by 2010.  For young college-educated women, hourly wages fell from $19.38 to $18.43 over the same period.  Now, with unemployment expected to remain above 8% well into 2014, it will likely be many years before young college graduates — or any workers — see substantial wage growth.

A recent New York Times article adds some more information about what new college graduates face:

The numbers are not encouraging. About 14 percent of those who graduated from college between 2006 and 2010 are looking for full-time jobs, either because they are unemployed or have only part-time jobs, according to a survey of 571 recent college graduates released in May by the Heldrich Center at Rutgers.

And then there is the slice of graduates effectively underemployed, using a college degree for positions that don’t require one or barely scraping by, working in call centers, bars or art-supply stores.

[…]

The Heldrich survey also found that the portion of graduates who described their first job as a “career” fell from 30 percent, if they graduated before the 2008 economic downturn (in 2006 and 2007), to 22 percent, if they graduated after the downturn (in 2009 and 2010).

This isn’t something that will just affect these young workers for a couple years, until the economy recovers. For one thing, a real jobs recovery does not seem to be on the horizon. But even if it is, studies show that people who first enter the job market in a recession face a significant earnings loss that persists for more than 15 years.

Too bad there’s no chance of the federal government doing anything meaningful to create jobs.

This post originally appeared in Daily Kos Labor on September 7, 2011. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Laura Clawson is labor editor at Daily Kos. She has a PhD in sociology from Princeton University and has taught at Dartmouth College. From 2008 to 2011, she was senior writer at Working America, the community affiliate of the AFL-CIO.

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