New York Fed Launches College Labor Market Web Interactive
January 29, 2016

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has launched a user-friendly web interactive that sheds light on trends in the labor market for recent college graduates, including new data on unemployment, underemployment, labor demand, and wages.

Users can compare the unemployment rate of recent college graduates, defined as 22 to 27 year olds with at least a bachelor’s degree, with that of other workers.  Users can also monitor the underemployment rate for recent college graduates—that is, the share working in jobs that typically do not require a college degree. Additionally, the interactive includes data on differences in labor market outcomes, including wages, among 73 college majors.

Below are some highlights from the data:

  • The unemployment rate among recent college graduates has continued to decline, and now stands at just below 5 percent (as of September 2015), down from a peak of 7.1 percent in March 2011.
  • The share of recent graduates working in jobs that typically do not require a college degree has fallen two percentage points since its December 2013 peak, and now stands at 44.1 percent.
  • Outcomes vary considerably by college major. For example, the unemployment rate is nearly 9 percent for geography and anthropology majors compared to 2 percent for nursing majors. And, less than 20 percent of nursing and engineering majors are underemployed, while over 60 percent of business management, fine arts and criminal justice majors are underemployed.
  • Wages for recent graduates have been on the rise for the past few years. In 2015, the median wage among recent college graduates climbed 7.5 percent to $43,000, while the median wage for similarly aged workers with only a high school diploma was unchanged at $25,000.
  • Chemical engineering was the highest paying major, with an early career wage of $70,000. Family and consumer sciences had the lowest early career wage at $28,400.

Much of the data on this new web interactive will be updated quarterly, and all data are available for download.

The Labor Market for Recent College Graduates »

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