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Report: Millions of Millennials Are Underemployed or Unemployed


May 20, 2014
by Suada Kolovic
It wasn't too long ago that the majority of Americans agreed that one had to pursue a college degree in order to succeed in the workforce. Unfortunately for millennials, the rate of success after obtaining said degree is no longer so intrinsically tied: According to multiple reports, millions of college graduates suffer a mismatch between education and employment and hold jobs that don’t require costly degrees.

It wasn't too long ago that the majority of Americans agreed that one had to pursue a college degree in order to succeed in the workforce. Unfortunately for millennials, the rate of success after obtaining said degree is no longer so intrinsically tied: According to multiple reports, millions of college graduates suffer a mismatch between education and employment and hold jobs that don’t require costly degrees.

Among recent college graduates ages 20 to 29, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports unemployment stands at 10.9 percent, more than three points higher than in 2007. While a study from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that of those recent college graduates who have managed to find work, more than 40 percent hold jobs that do not require a college degree; more than 20 percent are working only part-time; and more than 20 percent are in low wage jobs. Canadian economists Paul Beaudry and David Green of the University of British Columbia and Benjamin Sand of York University have documented a declining demand for high-skilled workers since 2000. They say, "high-skilled workers have moved down the occupational ladder and have begun to perform jobs traditionally performed by lower-skilled workers ...pushing low-skilled workers even further down the occupational ladder and, to some degree, out of the labor force altogether." If correct, their work might just turn conventional wisdom on its head. (For more on this story, click here.)

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