Unemployment and Underemployment Remains a Concern for College Grads

The job market has continued to result in hiring problems across the country, as people of all backgrounds are struggling to find employment. Nationwide, 36 million adults lack basic literacy skills, as reported by the National Coalition for Literacy, which results in a dearth of potential employees. Sadly, even those that have college degrees from prestigious universities of higher learning are struggling to find work in these difficult times.

According to Market Watch, last December, the unemployment rate for recent college graduates fell to its lowest level since the Great Recession at 3.9%.

Although the unemployment rate across the country remains a concern, in Shasta County, California, the unemployment rate in February 2017 reached 7.1%. Underemployment is also becoming a large issue.

Nearly half — 43% — of all recent college grads are underemployed, meaning they are working jobs and earning wages that aren’t reflecting their skills, experience, and education levels.

“There is something going on suggesting that conditions are a bit worse than during the early 1990s,” said Jaison Abel, a New York Fed economist and researcher.

Bloomberg reports that the percentage of underemployed college grads in quality, high-paying jobs has continually dropped since 2014, while the low-wage employment percentage has remained the same.

This is evidence in support of the view that we are still facing an aggregate demand deficiency — that there’s still a lot of slack in the labor market,” added Jesse Rothstein, a former Labor Department Chief economist now at the University of California at Berkeley. “What can be done about it? The Fed can stop acting like we are at full employment and can continue with loose monetary policy.”

Shelby Reiches, who shares a similar experience with thousands of Millennial college graduates, has been out of college for seven years. He has finally landed a full-time, well-paying job that makes his degree worthwhile, but he still had to work odd jobs and receive assistance from his parents for nearly a decade because of the difficult job market for college grads.

“It feels like it was a waste of time and money in some ways,” said Reiches, referring to his college education. “It felt like college is what you were supposed to do if you had the intellectual capacity and privilege to be there. It never felt like I was really leveraging it, it just felt like it was a line to put on the resume.”

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