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    2012’s College grads land in minimum wage jobs

    2012’s College grads land in minimum wage jobs

    An important premise of “The American Dream” is that a college education guarantees a successful career.

    However, that dream is slipping away — unless being a coffee shop barista is the job goal.  Ben Casselman of the Wall Street Journal takes a look at a recent job report for the latest crop of college graduates, which has some concerning numbers (hat-tip, a tweet from Iowahawkblog’s David Burge).

    284,000: Number of American college graduates working in minimum-wage jobs in 2012.

    The Wall Street Journal this week reported on the troubling trend of college graduates getting stuck in low-skilled jobs, a problem that new research suggests may endure even after the economy improves.

    As the story noted, college graduates tend to earn more than their less-educated coworkers, even within the same field. But that isn’t true for everyone: According to the Labor Department, there were 284,000 graduates—those with at least a bachelor’s degree—working minimum-wage jobs in 2012, including 37,000 holders of advanced degrees. That’s down from a peak of 327,000 in 2010, but double the number in 2007 and up 70% from a decade earlier.

    While the raw number of college grads stuck in minimum-wage jobs remains elevated, their share of such jobs is at more or less its 10-year average. About 8% of all minimum-wage workers held at least a bachelor’s degree in 2012, a figure that has bounced around over the past decade with no clear trend. Given that the share of the labor force with a college degree has been rising steadily over the same period, the lack of a parallel trend among minimum-wage workers suggests that grads aren’t generally ending up at the absolute bottom of the earnings ladder.

    One alternative young Americans could consider is certification programs, which give skills-oriented training without the potential for massive student loan debt. There are many technical programs, as well as Coffee School for those who want to be a barista without a pricey degree.


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    TrooperJohnSmith | April 1, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    I guess that running up 200K in college debt to get a degree in Pre-Colombian Lesbian Studies was not a good idea.

    […] READ: Legal Insurrection Blog: 2012′s College grads land in minimum wage jobs. […]

    Anchovy | April 1, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    It is far less expensive to pay for an English Major to come to your house on a Sunday emergency call to read you 3 chapters from Jane Austen than to pay a plumber to fix 3 clogged drains.

      jdkchem in reply to Anchovy. | April 1, 2013 at 5:03 pm

      I remember when that was in shop class. Back when we had shop class. Funny but we could read and calculate board feet. And make change.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to Anchovy. | April 2, 2013 at 10:01 am

      Having a Masters degree in Pre-Enlightment European Womens’ Medical Arts, I warn you that having three clogged drains at once is no coincidence and that the problem is very likely further down the outflow chain. You may need your septic tank pumped out or, if you’re on city sewer, they need to check the main outflow pipe.

    GrumpyOne | April 1, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Congratulations for bring up an individual that can actually accomplish something. Sadly this is the exception rather than the norm.

    Her life should be a lot more manageable because of her skills..

    theduchessofkitty | April 1, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    I don’t think anyone with a freshly-minted petrochemical engineering or geology degree from the Colorado School of Mines is going to starve after graduation… Don’t y’all agree?

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