Bad Time to Graduate

Paul Krugman notes how it’s a very bad time to be under age 24, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree, and not continuing onto further education. In other words, looking for a college-education job.

I’ve been doing some data-grubbing for textbook revision, and found myself looking at employment data on young (<24) college graduates, which is provided by the BLS in Employment and Earnings. And I came up with a particular number that shows just how devastating the job slump has been and continues to be for the young.

Here’s the question: of college graduates with a bachelor’s degree who aren’t enrolled in further schooling, how many have full-time jobs?

In December 2007, on the eve of recession, the answer was 90 percent.

By December 2009, it was down to 72 percent.

As of December 2010, it had recovered only slightly, to 74 percent.

To me, that’s a tale of young lives blighted, not just in the short run but perhaps permanently: failing to get a job when you get out of school colors your whole career. And it’s still happening.

Yet unemployment has virtually dropped off the political agenda.

Since neither political party at this time is proposing policies to actively fight unemployment and accelerate the so-called recovery NOW, it appears both parties are basically telling young folks, especially the ones doing the right thing (getting educated) to f*** off.  So much for the youth movement that the election of 2008 was supposed represent.