Posted on 04/13/2018 at 10:45 AM by Blog Experts

The Class of 2016:  The labor market is still far from ideal for young graduates Report

By Teresa Kroeger, Tanyell Cooke, and Elise Gould • April 21, 2016

Part Three

This article provides some of the most current insight into what our graduates of 2016 were facing when they leave high school and college.  It is not what we think…

Key Findings (continued):

  • The cost of higher education has grown far more rapidly than median family income, leaving students with little choice but to take out loans which, upon graduating into a labor market with limited job opportunities, they may find difficult to repay.
    • From the 1984–1985 enrollment year to the 2014–2015 enrollment year, the inflation-adjusted cost of a four-year education, including tuition, fees, and room and board, increased 119.5 percent for private school and 124.7 percent for public school (according to the College Board).
    • Between 2004 and 2014, there was a 92 percent increase in the number of student loan borrowers and a 74 percent increase in average student loan balances (according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York).
    • Due to young college graduates’ limited job opportunities, stagnating wages, and the rising cost of higher education, college is becoming an increasingly difficult investment.

Why this matters:  Graduating in a weak economy has long-lasting economic consequences. For the next 10 to 15 years, those in the Class of 2016 will likely earn less, and have more spells of unemployment, than if they had graduated when job opportunities were plentiful.

  • Young workers’ unemployment rate is roughly twice the overall rate 
    • 4.9% for all unemployed
    • 10.5%  for those under 25
  • Despite improvement in recent years, young high school graduates’ unemployment rate remains high at 17.9%
  • One-third of young high school graduates are underemployed
    • 17.9% are unemployed
    • 33.7% are underemployed
  • Despite recent improvement, unemployment among young college graduates remains higher than it would be in a truly healthy economy at 5.6%
  • One in eight young college graduates is underemployed
    • 5.6% are unemployed 
    • 12.6% are underemployed
  • Young college graduates are settling for lower level job
  • The job quality has eroded for young graduates

We must do our best to make sure our student are genuinely prepared to face these difficult employment challenges.

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