The job market is hot, but not for new college graduates

For years, most students have placed a premium on the work-related benefits of going to college. The percentage of students who said getting a better job was a “very important reason” for attending college hit a record high of 87.9 percent in 2012 — and has since remained in the mid-80s, according to a national survey of incoming freshmen.

And while a four-year degree still pays off compared to not going to college, Data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York show that recent college graduates have more difficult job prospects than all job seekers in the larger labor market.

In June, the unemployment rate for those aged 22 to 27 with a bachelor’s degree or higher was 4.1 percent, compared to 3.5 percent for all workers. The data shows that this gap has persisted every month since January 2021, with new graduates consistently at a disadvantage.

In today’s tight job market, recent college graduates are competing with a larger pool of workers, some of whom have benefited from employers relaxing degree requirements to attract applicants.

Despite the economy’s job growth, the Federal Reserve’s efforts to combat high inflation mean a recession could be on the horizon, which would weaken the labor market and make it even harder for them to find work.

Here is an overview of the job market for recent college graduates:

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