For Americans wondering if attending a four-year college is worth the hefty price tag, never fear. Evidence suggest that the recession is far kinder to college grads than their degree-free counterparts. To all those students who are nervous about entering the work force, here are some hopeful statistics:
In April, the unemployment rate for college grads was 3.9 percent, compared to 7.5 percent of the work force as a whole. In fact, the lowest jobless rate (5.1) for college grads in this business cycle was comparable to the jobless rate the entire work force experiences when the economy is good.
Even young college graduates are finding job-- In 2011, the unemployment rate for people in their 20s with at least a bachelor’s degree was 5.7 percent. However, for individuals in their 20's who only had high school diploma or a G.E.D., the unemployment rate was nearly three times as high, at 16.2 percent.
The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution in Washington has estimated that the benefits of a four-year college degree were equivalent to an investment that returns 15.2 percent a year, even after factoring in the earnings students forgo while in school.
Through history, college has consistently paid off in the job market, which is why college degrees are much more common today than they were in the past. In April, about 32 percent population over 25 (not including inmates of penal and mental facilities, residents of homes for the disabled, or individuals on active military duty) had a college degree, up from 22 percent twenty years ago.
As the New York Times points out, "Given the changing norms for what degree of educational training is expected of working Americans, employers might assume those who do not have a four-year degree are less ambitious or less capable, regardless of their actual ability."
If you're graduating with your degree this spring, don't spend time and energy worrying. Your chances of finding employment are far better than the would have been had you not attended college; make your job search a priority, and check out more blog entries for tips and tricks on how to move through the hiring process smoothly.