A perpetual job search? Study finds college graduates are joining the ranks of the unemployed

Lindsay Adams

Finding a job out of college can be daunting.

A recent figure by the government counted 2.4 million unemployed people who have achieved bachelor degrees or higher. Of college graduates who have gotten jobs after college, only half of their jobs require them to have a degree.

The number of students who are employed as servers, at gas stations, bars, grocery and liquor stores, and taxi services are on the rise according to The New York Times of Labor Department’s analysis data about college graduates aged 25 to 34. Sociology Professor Dr. Peter Singelmann said, “We know the job market does not look good, and many people have had a hard time finding work these days.”

The rate of unemployed Americans with a bachelor degree or more has risen to 5.1 percent, which is the highest since records were first kept on the unemployment rate in 1970, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Not only have the jobs available been decreasing, but so too have the median salaries for the jobs available. It is important to note that however bleak it may seem, the unemployment rate for those with a college education is still far lower that for those who are only high school graduates (10 percent) or do not have a high school diploma or equivalent (15.7 percent), according to USA Today.

The John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University has released a study that shows the median starting salary for graduating students in 2009 and 2010 who were entering the work force was $27,000, which is down from $30,000 in 2006 to 2008.

Unemployment is at about 9.1 percent as of August 2011 (Adecco Group), but is hovering right below that number, agreed on by all major surveys. Political Science Professor Mona Lyne said “…the job market is not particularly good right now for anyone.”

There are other challenges. Quite often an education does not come without a cost. “It’s common for students, who often don’t begin repaying student loans until months after graduation, to put it way in the back of their minds,” said Casey Weade, a financial planner with Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Howard Bailey Financial Inc. in an MSNBC.com article (Oct. 13, 2011).

Are UMKC seniors concerned with such difficulty? One senior, Justin Olson, said that “There is high unemployment right now and a lot of people are going back to school so it’s harder to get into graduate school and less funding for scholarships.” There is a lot or fear that there are not enough jobs for the growth of students populating colleges.

History Professor Dr. Dennis Merrill said, “I have no solid data, but can tell you that in years past I don’t remember the general angst that existed this part among my graduating seniors.” UMKC’s Career Services can answer questions concerning job prospects after college. Melissa Scholten said, “To date, it is projected that this year’s graduates will have a better job market than last year’s – especially in the Midwest.” She also offers a piece of advice to graduating seniors. “The most important thing is to not let the fear or worries about the economy stop you from going out and looking for jobs.”

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With contributions by Cyrus Moffet

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