Underemployment, College Graduates, and the Recession

By James, Jon; Vecchio, Christopher | Economic Trends, July 2013 | Go to article overview

Underemployment, College Graduates, and the Recession


James, Jon, Vecchio, Christopher, Economic Trends


06.21.13

[GRAPHIC OMITTED]

[GRAPHIC OMITTED]

The exceptionally high unemployment rate of recent years indicates that the U.S. workforce has been persistently underutilized. With fewer individuals working than would otherwise be, or those with jobs working fewer hours than they would prefer, the economy is producing at a level far below its potential. This underemployment impacts current standards of living, but it could also have long-lasting effects on workers and the economy.

College graduates in general have fared better than those without a college degree in the conventional measures of underemployment. The unemployment rate for recent college graduates ages 25-29 is currently below 6 percent. This is less than half of the unemployment rate for workers in that age group without a college degree (around 13 percent). Similarly, college graduates have experienced only a mild reduction in full-time employment since the recession, while those with no college degree have experienced a far greater drop-off. Male college graduates, for example, went from around 91 percent working full time before the recession to around 88 percent now, a 4 percent drop. Meanwhile, males with no college degree saw a greater drop, from about 90 percent working full time to 83 percent.

While college graduates have been less susceptible to high unemployment or major reductions in work hours, they face a very different--but potentially equally damaging--form of underemployment in a slack labor market. The problem for these workers, especially those just entering the workforce, is that they may be more likely to take jobs in which they are overqualified. By taking jobs that do not require a postsecondary education, they leave the benefits of their college degrees unused and are likely producing at a level below their full potential.

Comparing the top occupations for recent college graduates in 2005 to the top occupations in 2011 provides some evidence that in the last few years, college graduates may have been more likely to take jobs in which they are overqualified. While the set of top occupations has remained the same across the years, there has been some noticeable change in the rankings. For example, retail sales--where a sizeable fraction of workers aged 25-29 do not have a college degree--has climbed from 12th to 7th. Similarly waiter and waitress occupations (not on the list) has climbed from 23rd to 16th.

[GRAPHIC OMITTED]

These trends tend to corroborate popular stories about the recent experiences of college graduates, but are these experiences representative of the typical college graduate? One way to answer this question is to classify each occupation as either a high-school type job or a college-type job. In this analysis, we will classify an occupation as a college-type job if the majority of the workers in that occupation (greater than 50 percent) have a bachelor's degree or more. We can then evaluate whether the probability that a college graduate takes a college-type job has decreased during the recession. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Underemployment, College Graduates, and the Recession
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.