One half of young 2012 college graduates are left jobless or underemployed as a result of the weak job market, according to a new analysis of government data conducted for the Associated Press.
The analysis found that more young adults holding bachelor’s degrees are forced to make ends meet with lower-wage jobs that don’t fully utilize their skills thanks to the struggling economy.
New College Graduates Likely to Be Underemployed
Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, analyzed the 2011 Current Population Survey data along with material from Paul Harrington, an economist at Drexel University, and the Economic Policy Institute to determine the shares of college graduates who were “underemployed.”
He found that half of young adults with bachelor’s degrees are forced to take jobs that don’t match their qualifications, resulting in an increase in degree-holding waiters and waitresses, bartenders, retail clerks and receptionists.
About 1.5 million, or 53.6 percent, of bachelor’s degree-holders under the age of 25 were jobless or unemployed last year. As a result, job prospects for bachelor’s degree holders fell last year to the lowest level in 11 years.
Weak Job Market Hurting Graduates
One major reason that college grads are having such a hard time finding work is the weak job market. Many highly-skilled workers with years of experience are fighting for and winning sought-after positions, making it difficult for younger candidates to snag the roles.
Another reason is that technological changes are eliminating mid-level jobs like bank teller positions. Most future job openings are in lower-skilled positions such as home health aides who can care for the rising population of elderly individuals.
The researchers found that this decrease in job opportunities for grads is likely to increase the amount of student loan debt they incur over the years due to an inability to earn enough to make their payments.
While a few jobs, such as those found in nursing, teaching, accounting and computer science, are expected to bring in more new hires by 2020, college graduates who majored in zoology, anthropology, philosophy, art history and the humanities are among the least likely to find jobs appropriate to their education level in the next decade.