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2012’s College grads land in minimum wage jobs

2012’s College grads land in minimum wage jobs

An important premise of “The American Dream” is that a college education guarantees a successful career.

However, that dream is slipping away — unless being a coffee shop barista is the job goal.  Ben Casselman of the Wall Street Journal takes a look at a recent job report for the latest crop of college graduates, which has some concerning numbers (hat-tip, a tweet from Iowahawkblog’s David Burge).

284,000: Number of American college graduates working in minimum-wage jobs in 2012.

The Wall Street Journal this week reported on the troubling trend of college graduates getting stuck in low-skilled jobs, a problem that new research suggests may endure even after the economy improves.

As the story noted, college graduates tend to earn more than their less-educated coworkers, even within the same field. But that isn’t true for everyone: According to the Labor Department, there were 284,000 graduates—those with at least a bachelor’s degree—working minimum-wage jobs in 2012, including 37,000 holders of advanced degrees. That’s down from a peak of 327,000 in 2010, but double the number in 2007 and up 70% from a decade earlier.

While the raw number of college grads stuck in minimum-wage jobs remains elevated, their share of such jobs is at more or less its 10-year average. About 8% of all minimum-wage workers held at least a bachelor’s degree in 2012, a figure that has bounced around over the past decade with no clear trend. Given that the share of the labor force with a college degree has been rising steadily over the same period, the lack of a parallel trend among minimum-wage workers suggests that grads aren’t generally ending up at the absolute bottom of the earnings ladder.

One alternative young Americans could consider is certification programs, which give skills-oriented training without the potential for massive student loan debt. There are many technical programs, as well as Coffee School for those who want to be a barista without a pricey degree.


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The plain fact remains that over 50% of the population does NOT comprise of college material.

Yet, with all the “equal opportunity” which is no more than a set aside in disguise, we now have a bumper crop of educated idiots.

Folks, there’s just not enough room for ’em all and for that thank you local liberal/progressive!

Nothing here should come as a surprise to anyone even remotely aware of how the scheme of things work…

Just think what the country would be like had the public education system maintained the vocational ed programs and that guidance counselors actually did their jobs. This was all explained to me as the necessary economic evolution that was based on nothing more than wishful thinking and failed libidiot policies. We now have a younger population that is not only unprepared for the job market they are woefully uneducated as well.

I had not seen the last paragraph prior to my earlier comment. If you need a degree to pour a cup of coffee the country is thoroughly fucked.

    TrooperJohnSmith in reply to jdkchem. | April 1, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    A Left-wing member of my family stated in all seriousness, whilst extolling the virtues of life in Austin (TX), “There are people with Masters Degrees working in coffee houses!”

    To which, I did not reply, “Oh, wow. Totally far-fu*kin’ out, man.”

dorsaighost | April 1, 2013 at 1:38 pm

actually “low skilled” appears to be an accurate description of most college grads today … so low skilled jobs would appear to be a PERFECT fit for them …

dorsaighost | April 1, 2013 at 1:41 pm

remember the liberal elite don’t know any successful people without a degree … they never have … to them the only successful people are doctors, lawyers and college professors … with the occasional MBA business guy/gal thrown in …

Any rational person will admit that there are MANY jobs for which a college education is a waste of time, money and effort. Examples include:
1. a ruling-class establishment politician (a self-serving, insider-trading, lying, criminal instinct is all that’s needed)
2. a member of the OBOZO regime, in particular, and/or any federal, state or local government bureaucrat, in general
3. a lamestream socialist media “news” anchor (i.e., a ted baxter word-mispronouncing newsreader that spews forth nothing but leftist propaganda – see #4)
4. every other member of the socialist media including leftist blog writers (just repeat what the OBOZO regime, george soros and the JournoList vast left-wing media conspiracy tell you to say)
5. a (self-serving, corrupt, clueless) member of the Federal Reserve
6. a d-cRAT socialist activist excuse for a “judge” (there’s no need for complicated things like the law or the US Constitution when all you do is repeat the lunatic-left extremist ideology – this is especially true for an OBOZO appointee to SCOTUS)
7. a union goon, thug or willing dues-paying member (the concept of “minimum work for maximum pay and benefits” is instinctive in ALL of the naturally lazy and unmotivated)
8. anybody who votes for BIG GOVERNMENT socialism (a “vocational” school is the best place to learn how to live off other peoples’ money as your “career”)
9. a socialist indoctrinator (also called “child molesters” and, strictly as an inside joke, “teachers”)
10. a late-night or an HBO leftist imitation of a “comedian” (even adolescents know all the four-letter words, insults and misogynist slurs that constitute their “humor”)
11. a member of the domestic terrorist #occupy bowel movement (even preschoolers understand “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme”)
12. a “community organizer” (they can read The Communist Manifesto and Rules for Radicals without college)
13. a member of any professional sports team (obvious)
14. the head of Government Motors (just follow orders from their leftist eco-nut master, OBOZO)
15. a crony capitalist pal of OBOZO (they get the taxpayer money regardless of their education)

    BannedbytheGuardian in reply to MicahStone. | April 1, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    You forgot Hitler in there – not that you’ve left many openings. We could squeeze him in surely.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to MicahStone. | April 2, 2013 at 9:53 am

    “13. a member of any professional sports team (obvious)”

    Not quite. The National Hockey League is largely made up of farm kids from Canada and northern Europe, with a very high conservative/leans right percentage.

1. As the millennium dawned, people were talking about a Second American Century. That seems much longer ago than it actually was.

2. Karl Rove was talking about a Permanent Republican Majority. (Why was this person allowed to remain a GOP force? Why was he not declared persona non grata like Richard Darman was?)

3. My suggestion to parents whose kids can handle traditional college work is to have them learn three languages: a Hispanic one (Spanish or Portuegese), French (which serves in Europe and in much of Africa), and an Asian one. (American decline is still reversible, but don’t bet your future on it.) The probability that they’ll need survivalist skills is low but not as low as it used to be—and still growing.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to gs. | April 2, 2013 at 9:57 am

    My youngest is a freshman at UNC-Chapel. I’ve been pushing her to learn Spanish since middle school, which she has done, and it will be an asset over her lifespan considering demographic changes in the US, but her reason to continue with a Spanish language minor is that it’s an easy A. *sigh*

More and more Liberal Arts majors need to think about what they intend to do with that Art History degree. In particular, if they have to borrow $120,000 to pay for it, can they realistically launch a career that will provide them enough money to pay it back.

If they can’t, then don’t do it. And if Liberal Arts colleges can’t convince enough students to take that risk, then they go under. Welcome to the real world. (If this is too much for liberals to understand, perhaps they should audit a course in economics.)

Most Liberal Arts degrees should come with a career planning course that focuses on two key areas: “Paper or plastic?” and “Do you want fries with that?”

I’m happy to say that my daughter is graduating in two months with a BSChE and has a job lined up

Insufficiently Sensitive | April 1, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Many (certainly not all) of the cohorts attending college since the 60s have taken for granted that it’s just another ritual for the entitled, leads to a position after learning to spout effortless trendy bullshit, and includes a mating festival at no additional charge.

It will take another generation before the reality sinks in that to be worth paying, some necessary steps like acquiring knowlege and judgement must be taken. Yeah, math is hard, but if you won’t do it there are unlimited furriners out there who’ll bust their tails to gain fluency in it, and for whom you’ll be the picturesque American barista.

TrooperJohnSmith | April 1, 2013 at 3:54 pm

I guess that running up 200K in college debt to get a degree in Pre-Colombian Lesbian Studies was not a good idea.

[…] READ: Legal Insurrection Blog: 2012′s College grads land in minimum wage jobs. […]

It is far less expensive to pay for an English Major to come to your house on a Sunday emergency call to read you 3 chapters from Jane Austen than to pay a plumber to fix 3 clogged drains.

    jdkchem in reply to Anchovy. | April 1, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    I remember when that was in shop class. Back when we had shop class. Funny but we could read and calculate board feet. And make change.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Anchovy. | April 2, 2013 at 10:01 am

    Having a Masters degree in Pre-Enlightment European Womens’ Medical Arts, I warn you that having three clogged drains at once is no coincidence and that the problem is very likely further down the outflow chain. You may need your septic tank pumped out or, if you’re on city sewer, they need to check the main outflow pipe.

Congratulations for bring up an individual that can actually accomplish something. Sadly this is the exception rather than the norm.

Her life should be a lot more manageable because of her skills..

theduchessofkitty | April 1, 2013 at 6:35 pm

I don’t think anyone with a freshly-minted petrochemical engineering or geology degree from the Colorado School of Mines is going to starve after graduation… Don’t y’all agree?

    BannedbytheGuardian in reply to theduchessofkitty. | April 1, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    They are also people who expect to get dirty ,work unsociable hours in non air conditioned environments & the pits of course – towns with few mezzanine cafes.

Maybe these college grads voted for Elizabeth Warren in hopes of getting $22/hr for those minimum wage jobs. Reality bites!

The base premise of this article is in my opinion inaccurate.
I was told from a very young age that “the American Dream” was predicated on the fact that if you provided a good or service that was in demand and did it competitively you would succeed. Education was put forward as a means to that end.

We seem to have lost sight of the basic fact that learning is not synonymous with producing.

Ergo, getting a degree in (fill in the blank) only works for you if someone is spending money in that area.