NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

How Are College Graduates Faring in Today's Economy?

September 17, 2014

As the weak recovery continues, the youngest college graduates are suffering the most. Over at, Jason Keisling and J.D. Tuccille have developed an infographic showing exactly how recent graduates are faring in today's economy.

According to Keisling and Tuccille, underemployment -- in which those in the labor force are employed less than full time, or in jobs that are not commensurate with their educational training -- is a significant problem for recent graduates. For example:

  • College graduates who graduated in 2007 have an underemployment rate of 9.6 percent.
  • College graduates who graduated in 2014, however, have an unemployment rate almost twice that amount, of 16.8 percent.

One can see this underemployment by looking at the jobs held by college graduates and their educational requirements:

  • In 2010, just 51.9 percent of jobs held by those with bachelor's degrees actually required a bachelor's degree or higher.
  • More than one-third (37 percent) of jobs held by college graduates in 2010 only required a high school diploma or less.
  • Eleven percent of jobs required something more than a high school diploma but did not require a bachelor's degree.

Moreover, the portion of college grads working part time (less than 35 hours per week) has risen. While 15 percent of graduates worked part time in 2000, 23 percent were working part time in 2011.

Source: Jason Keisling and J.D. Tuccille, "The Sluggish Economy Slams Recent College Grads,", September 15, 2014. 


Browse more articles on Economic Issues