284,000 College Graduates Employed in Minimum Wage Jobs Last Year
While the economy may be slowly recovering, things are not so rosy for recent college graduates when it comes to job prospects: a report by the Wall Street Journal shows that 284,000 Americans with college degrees were working in jobs that only paid minimum wage in 2012.
The Journal’s report, which was collated using statistics from the Labor Department, also notes that of those 284,000 college graduates working in low-skilled, minimum wage jobs, 37,000 hold graduate degrees at the Master’s level or higher.
Although high, the number doesn’t match the peak number of college grads working minimum wage jobs seen at the height of the recession in 2010, when 327,000 Americans with degrees found themselves in minimum wage jobs. However, the current figure is still double what was seen in 2007, and 70% more than the numbers from 2005.
The Center for College Affordability and Productivity also reported in January that 48% of recent college grads are working jobs that don’t require a college degree at all, while 38% are working jobs that don’t even need a high school diploma.
This data supports an earlier report on the steady decline of available tech-related jobs, ranging all the way from engineers and tech specialists to management positions, are on the decline. While tech related jobs have largely been considered the one guarantee of steady employment over the last decade, economist Paul Beaudry of University of British Columbia, the report’s author, said that this mentality has helped create an overabundance of workers seeking the same positions, while increasingly self-sufficient technology has called for fewer and fewer people to help manage it.
“Once the robots are in place, you still need some people, but you need a lot less than when you were putting in the robots,” said Beaudry.
The difficulty in finding steady employment has also compounded the growing student debt crisis, which reached an all-time high this year of $1 trillion total student loan debt in the US. In the time since 2005, average student loan debt has also grown from $17,233 to $27,253.