How bad is the economy for recent graduates? 1 in 2 new graduates are jobless or underemployed. This is an AP story headline running this morning about figures based on the 2011 Current Population Survey. The problem is not just that recent graduates are having a difficult time finding jobs, but that many who find jobs are underemployed. The figures relied on assessments of whether young adults are underemployed, finding that 53.6% of people under the age of 25 with a bachelor's degree were jobless or underemployed. This is the highest percentage in over a decade. The prospects don't look any brighter for 2012 graduates, especially for those with certain majors such as anthropology.
There are some good lessons from this news, especially for current college students. Majors matter. Students should think critically about majors and minors. Also, geography matters. Students should think a lot about where they move after college if they are thinking about moving somewhere without a job.
If they aren't already paying attention, students should start paying attention to our economic policies. Last election, President Obama overwhelmingly won the youth vote. The policies that politicians in Washington are passing (or not passing) are impacting job prospects. I hope we see students ask some tough questions about the economy and the policies that each candidate supports during the 2012 presidential election.