Class of 2014, You're hired!
Class of 2015, start working on that resume!
The job market is looking up for new college graduates, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. The preliminary results of the group’s First Destination Survey for the Class of 2014 released Friday found nearly 53% of new bachelor’s degree holders had a full-time job within 6 months of graduating. Another 7.3% were working part-time, and 16.8% were enrolled in graduate school. Just 18.7% were still looking for a job or waiting to get into graduate school. An estimated 67,000 students graduated with a bachelor's degree in 2014.
Call it another green shoot popping up in a pretty well-thawed labor market. “[New college grads] are doing better than they have in recent years which is consistent with what’s gone on in the overall job market,” says Yahoo Finance's Aaron Task. Respondents to the NACE survey came from 98 colleges and universities across the U.S.
But the rebound for recent grads in recent years is not across the board. "There are still a lot of students out there, new grads, who don’t have jobs, who are underemployed, just like there are adults who are underemployed as well," says Task. "But things are getting better for this slice of the American public.”
According to a separate report on recent college graduates and jobs from Georgetown University’s Center for Education and the Workforce, some fields are doing better than others. Majors seeing a significant rebound in employment since the dark days of 2009-2010 include education, physical science, industrial arts and engineering. The majors faring the worst? Communication and journalism majors are seeing an unemployment rate of 8.2%, and, according to CEW, rising.
Widespread unemployment among recent college graduates during and soon after the Great Recession combined with ballooning student debt gave rise to the “Is College Worth It?” debate. Reports like the one from NACE, may help put the anti-college argument to bed. “Even in the depths of the recession, the unemployment rate for college grads was much, much lower than for people who didn’t have a college degree,” says Task. The anti-college argument, he says, never held much fact-based weight.
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College graduates earn, on average, 80 percent more than their peers who do not have a college degree. They are also less likely to face unemployment than those without a degree. And that first job matters, says Task. “Your first job does have a huge impact on your long-term earning potential. And so this is a very positive trend," he says.
But getting a job doesn't guarantee firm financial footing for grads. Between 2004 and 2014, there was a 74 percent jump in average student debt balances, according to the New York Fed, and a 92 percent increase in the number of borrowers, too. There are now 43 million borrowers with an average balance per borrower of $27,000.
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