Unemployment Rates for College Graduates Are Dropping, Report Says

Report: “From Hard Times to Better Times: College Majors, Unemployment, and Earnings”

Authors: Anthony P. Carnevale and Ban Cheah

Organization: Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce

Summary: The report uses 2011 and 2012 data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to examine employment and earnings among younger and more-experienced workers with several different levels of education. It also breaks down the college-educated group by major.

The report found, among other things, that:

  • Over all, unemployment rates for college graduates are dropping. There is variation by college major.
  • College-educated workers continue to have an edge in earnings—though partly because earnings have dropped for workers with only a high-school education.
  • The employment of college graduates (especially at the bachelor’s level) might not fully recover from the 2007-9 recession until 2017. Full recovery in their earnings may be even further off.

Bottom Line: Things are looking up for college graduates in the work force, though a full recovery has not yet arrived. Underneath that overall picture, employment rates and earnings vary by major.

Return to Top