The Morning Economic Report
8:21 am
Thu June 26, 2014

Graduating Into a Recession - 6/26/14

If you graduated from college in 1990 or 2001 or in 2008, you were unlucky since you happened to graduate in to a recession.  Studies indicate that graduating into a recession can haunt young people for years, impacting their employment options, salaries and even their health and happiness.  But as pointed out by writer Claire Cain Miller, recessions don’t treat all college graduates equally. 

Those who major in subjects that generally command greater compensation, like engineering and finance, actually increase their earnings advantage when they graduate into a recession.  Those who major in subjects that typically lead to lower paying positions, like philosophy and music, find themselves at an ever larger disadvantage than during normal economic times.  The underlying data supporting these conclusions were recently reported in a study conducted by three Yale economists. 

As an example, during normal economic times, finance majors earn 24 percent more than the average college major one year out of college.  But in a recession, they earn 32 percent more than the average.  Normally, religion and philosophy majors earn 42 percent less than the average major their first year out of college, but 55 percent less during a recession.