The Morning Economic Report
5:06 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

College Degrees and Employment - 3/18/14

A recent Federal Reserve Bank of New York study provides additional evidence regarding the rampant underemployment of recent college graduates.  Among other things, the study determined that the share of Americans ages 22 to 27 with at least a bachelor’s degree who were in jobs that don’t require a college degree was 44 percent in 2012.  That’s up from 34 percent in 2001, a year during which the U.S. was in recession. 

According to a separate survey conducted by Seattle-based PayScale, which provides compensation information, a year-long survey ending in July 2012 of 500,000 Americans ages 19 to 29 indicated that 63 percent of those fully employed had a bachelor’s degree.  That suggests strongly that having a college degree helps to secure employment.  But there is no guarantee that the job one obtains will rely heavily upon what was learned in college. 

The most common jobs among those college graduates were merchandise displayers, clothing store and cellular phone sales representatives.  There is still plenty of evidence, however, that going to college is productive.  As reported by Bloomberg, 22 percent of those ages 25 to 32 with only a high school diploma live in poverty compared with only 6 percent of today’s college educated young adults.