College Guide


April 10, 2013 3:48 PM Jobs Situation Looking a Little Better for College Grads

By Daniel Luzer

The employment outlook for recent college graduates still isn’t looking great, but at least it’s looking better. According to USA Today:

On April 5, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report evaluating the job market for recent college graduates. The report indicates that in October 2011, the unemployment rate for 20 to 29-year-olds who had graduated with bachelor’s degrees in 2011 was 13.5%. While the numbers have fallen since the peak at 17.6% in 2009, they remain higher than pre-recession rates.

College graduates are also more likely to be employed than those without degrees.

The March jobs report released Friday showed that workers ages 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher were far less unemployed than those with lower levels of educational attainment. This trend held bachelor’s degree or higher recipients at 3.8% unemployment, compared with those with less than a high school diploma (11.1% unemployment).

Granted, that 13.5 percent unemployment rate for recent graduates doesn’t mean that 86.5 percent of recent grads all have particularly good jobs. Those graduates who don’t count as unemployed don’t necessarily all have jobs that require a bachelor’s degree. Any full-time job counts. Here’s the distribution of graduates by industry.


“Wholesale and retail trade,” “leisure and hospitality”, and “health care and social assistance” certainly include a lot of pretty crappy jobs. Still, a paycheck is a paycheck.

In 2007, before the recession, the unemployment rate for recent graduates was under 9 percent.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer


  • Sgt. Gym Bunny on April 10, 2013 4:23 PM:

    So, a few weeks ago, I stumbled across my original job description as advertised in about Sept/Oct 2008.

    The base requirements were that the candidate should have a high school diploma/GED. But, they preferred someone who had a bachelors. And if you had a Masters, that's even better!!!! I kid you not! For a person with a Masters degree to have my rinky dink, desk-jockey job, they would have to be objectively desperate. Hell, even I was desperate to take this job (not that it's a bad job--pretty good benefits actually).

    I don't know how employers can request candidates for their little crap jobs have advanced degrees. Talk about trying to get something for nothing...