Four Years Out, the Great Recession's College Grads Fared Well—if They Picked the Right Major

Posted on 07/15/2014

College graduates as a group had an easier time steering their early careers through the country’s unemployment crisis than the general population. Overall, 6.7 percent of 2007-08 graduates were unemployed in 2012, compared with a national unemployment rate of 8.1 percent. Business majors were only a bit more likely to have jobs than other college grads: 6.6 percent were unemployed. Only 4.9 percent of computer and information sciences majors were unemployed.

By far the biggest winners were graduates with health-care degrees. Those who majored in health-care fields had an astonishingly low 2.2 percent unemployment rate. Health-care majors made a median $54,800 at their primary job, even with the shortest working hours, at 36.6 hours per week.

Just getting a college degree didn’t guarantee you better-than-average outcomes, however. Graduates in three fields exceeded the national unemployment rate: Social sciences, humanities, and “general studies and other” all had unemployment rates above 9 percent. Almost 24 percent of humanities majors held four or more jobs after graduation—far more than in any other field. They also spent the highest average percentage of time unemployed in 2012, 7.5 percent, according to the survey.

What’s more, the job advantage offered by a college degree seems to favor the young: 9.6 percent of those who were 30 or older when they got their degree were unemployed in 2012.

See the full article from Bloomberg Businessweek here:

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