Like the happy graduates pictured above, the job market for the class of 2012 college graduates is looking up. According to an annual survey of companies’ new-hiring expectations, about 10.2 percent more new graduates will find entry-level jobs this year than last. With the overall U.S. unemployment rate at its lowest level since 2009, the 1.7 million students who will graduate this spring should fare somewhat better. Monthly job growth has been consistently positive since February 2010, as 4.1 million new jobs have been added to the U.S. economy.
Recent graduating classes have faced weak demand for their services in general, but opportunities for those who have earned a bachelor’s degree differ from one field to another. For example, demand for workers is stronger in science, education, and health-related fields, whereas graduates in the arts and humanities tend to face bleaker prospects.
Things can’t get much worse for college graduates: the recession and the sluggish economic recovery have left many young college graduates either unemployed or underemployed in lower-wage jobs for which they are overqualified. In fact, when underemployment is factored in, job prospects for college graduates with bachelor’s degrees fell in 2011 to the lowest level in more than 10 years. “Glass-half-empty” observers note how difficult the situation still remains, especially for graduates with high levels of student loan debt to repay.
Economists caution that the near-term employment picture for college graduates should lead young adults to give serious thought to their choices regarding what level of schooling to pursue, which academic field to go into, which college to attend, and especially how to pay for it. These decisions and choices, more than ever, will have major financial impacts. Aggregate U.S. student loan debt is near the $1 trillion mark, as the cost of a higher education has continued to rise.
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- College Grads’ Job Outlook Improving: Challenger
This article presents analysis of the jobs picture for the college class of 2012 by the employment and layoff consulting firm of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
(Source: New York Post, April 18, 2012)
- Job Prospects Might Be on Rise for New College Graduates
Check out this reporting by an online service devoted to diversity recruitment and career development.
(Source: HireDiversity.com, April 16, 2012)
- Note to Class of 2012: More than Half of Young College Graduates Now Jobless or Underemployed
Read about the pessimistic side of the coin with regard to job prospects for today’s college grads.
(Source: Associated Press, April 23, 2012)
- Occupational Projections
Explore the wealth of data on the website of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, including the latest “Occupational Employment Projections” for years through 2020, as well as those from earlier years; also includes “The 2008–18 Job Outlook in Brief,” and “Job Outlook by Education, 2006–16.”
(Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics; accessed April 30, 2012)