We need to invest more in college education so that college graduates can get jobs that don’t require college degrees while paying off piles of student debt for an unnecessary college degree.
The recession left millions of college-educated Americans working in coffee shops and retail stores. Now, new research suggests their job prospects may not improve much when the economy rebounds.
Underemployment—skilled workers doing jobs that don’t require their level of education—has been one of the hallmarks of the slow recovery. By some measures, nearly half of employed college graduates are in jobs that don’t traditionally require a college degree.
Economists have generally assumed the problem was temporary: As the economy improved, companies would need more highly educated employees. But in a paper released Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research, a team of Canadian economists argues that the U.S. faces a longer-term problem.
They found that unlike the 1990s, when companies needed hundreds of thousands of skilled workers to develop, build and install high-tech systems—everything from corporate intranets to manufacturing robots—demand for such skills has fallen in recent years, even as young people continued to flock to programs that taught them.
The problem isn’t just high tech skills. America does need more technical grads in some professions, unfortunately those professions are also glutted by low quality Third World students.
Meanwhile American students are wasting piles of money on unemployable non-technical degrees.
Brian Hackett, who graduated with honors from the College of New Jersey in 2010 with a political-science degree, is among those who haven’t found full-time work. Instead, the 25 year old works part-time doing clerical work and conducting phone interviews—and he is hardly the only one at his company with advanced credentials.
“There are people with master’s degrees and bachelor’s degrees and even people with law degrees applying to work for $10 an hour,” Mr. Hackett said.
Well yes. Not exactly all that surprising. There’s a lawyer surplus and political science is a chancy specialty.
Better-educated workers still face far better job prospects than their less-educated counterparts. The unemployment rate for Americans with at least a bachelor’s degree was 3.8% in February, compared with 7.9% for those with just a high school diploma.
This slops together all degree holders. The actual unemployment stats are 4.5 for BA holders and 3.5 for MA holders. High school grad unemployment does top 8 percent, but student loan debt more than makes up for the difference in incomes.
And some degrees have whopping unemployment rates that are worse than those of High School dropouts.
- 1. Clinical psychology 19.5%
- 2. Miscellaneous fine arts 16.2%
- 3. United States history 15.1%
- 4. Library science 15.0%
Even pre-law has an unemployment rate almost as bad as High School grads.