Recent Grads Struggle With Student Debt, Slow Job Market
According to a recent report, young people are encountering difficulties as they enter a labor market that eventually plunged into a deep recession in 2009.
The Report, Chasing the American Dream: Recent College Graduates and the Great Recession, reflects the results of interviews with 444 graduates of four-year colleges and universities from the classes of 2006 through 2011.
The report documents that three in four were able to find at least one full-time job since graduation. However, only 51 percent of the graduates were working at the time of the survey, while 20 percent were attending graduate or professional school and 12 percent were either unemployed or employed part time and looking for full-time work.
“Students who graduated during the past several years are facing historic obstacles in achieving the foundations of the American dream and express low expectations for their future prosperity,” said Carl Van Horn, Professor and Director of the Heldrich Center and a co-author of the study. “The resilience of this year’s and recent college graduates are being tested as they struggle with student debt, a slow job market that offers few toe-holds in their chosen careers, and nagging fears about a lack of preparation for global labor market competition.”
Further, college graduates who were hired during the recession in 2009-2011 earned 10 percent less in their starting salaries in comparison to those who entered the workforce in 2006 and 2007 – $27,000 versus $30,000.
These employment struggles and modest earnings have also affected their ability to pay off the debts they incurred to finance their college education.
The survey also found that more than one in four are living with their parents or family members to save money and significant numbers of recent college graduates are delaying major purchases which include taking extra jobs to supplement their income, and even delaying marriage. Many recent graduates who move out from their parents homes continue to receive family support for housing, food, healthcare, college loan repayments, and car payments.