College Grads and the Jobless Economic Recovery

I tend to fret over things these days that are totally out of my control. For instance, is Donald Trump really a serious candidate for president? Meh. And do the Republicans have any serious — or better yet, electable — candidates to challenge the Prez in November 2012?

There is still time for a serious and electable Republican candidate to emerge, but right now the American public — if you believe at least one pollster — doesn’t believe that Obama is doing a good job on economic issues, but they aren’t enthusiastic about the cast waiting off stage to replace him.

Here’s the skinny on a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, as reported in WaPo, “Economic anxiety threatens Obama in 2012, but in poll he edges GOP rivals“:

Deepening economic pessimism has pushed down President Obama’s approval rating to a near record low, but he holds an early advantage over prospective 2012 rivals in part because of widespread dissatisfaction with Republican candidates, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

In the survey, 47 percent approve of the job Obama is doing, down seven points since January. Half of all Americans disapprove of his job performance, with 37 percent saying they “strongly disapprove,” nearly matching the worst level of his presidency.

Driving the downward movement in Obama’s standing are renewed concerns about the economy and fresh worry about rising prices, particularly for gasoline. Despite signs of economic growth, 44 percent of Americans see the economy as getting worse, the highest percentage to say so in more than two years.

The toll on Obama is direct: 57 percent disapprove of the job the president is doing dealing with the economy, tying his highest negative rating when it comes to the issue. And the president is doing a bit worse among politically important independents.

Note to GOP wannabes: It’s the economy, stupid. And all the talk about debt levels, spending cuts and tax reform is important, but without good-paying, secure jobs for those who want and need to enter the workforce, it’s pretty much like peeing in a sleeping bag on a chilly night. It gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling, but doesn’t solve every problem.

Take college grads as an example.

Here’s from The Huffington Post, “College Graduates Scramble For Full-Time Jobs“:

Of the 700,000 jobs added to the economy between January and March of this year, Andrew Sum, an economist at Northeastern University, reports that at least 80 percent of these jobs are for part-time work. And of these part-time workers, Sum says that college graduates under 30 have weathered a disproportionate share of the burden.

“The younger you are, the worse you’ve been hit — no question,” says Sum. He’s studied the college labor market for the past 30 years and uses data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to arrive at his calculations. “It’s a catastrophe and there’s no other way to describe it.”

Last year, during an average month, there were more than 9 million employed persons working part-time jobs — even though they desired full-time work. And of these part-time laborers, workers under the age of 30 accounted for as much as a third.

Cristello and his classmates may be experiencing what’s known as bad economic timing.

“It’s absolutely true that people who start work when times are tough not only get behind, but have trouble catching up,” says Paul Oyer, a professor of economics at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. Oyer counts not only skill, but also luck, as essential components of a successful employment search.

Till von Wachter, an associate professor of economics at Columbia University, says it can take an average college student graduating into a recession up to 10 years to recover the wages they might have made during more robust economic times — and possibly longer.

We need jobs, folks. Not political posturing and rhetoric. And saying that, those with college degrees — either in or out of the job market at this point — are doing much better than most. But that ain’t saying much.

If Donald Trump — or anyone else — has a realistic plan to pull us out of the jobless economic recovery, then I’ll consider him or her (you listening, Sarah?) a serious candidate.

Just sayin’.

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3 responses to “College Grads and the Jobless Economic Recovery

  1. I hear ya about jobs…with two teens I worry every day about their ability to succeed post college. But if we don’t soon get a handle on our debt, reguardless of what the great economist paul krugman says, our nation will cease to exist as we have known it.
    A few facts from the CBO (non-partisan, as they always say):
    In 2010 we spent 413 billion on debt interest
    Since 1988 we have spent 8 TRILLION on debt interest
    by 2021-ten years-our debt interest payments will be 1.1 TRILLION a year
    By 2046 every penny in revenue the government receives will go towards debt payments.
    If we stopped ALL spending today, and payed nothing but the interest on the debt at 100 million a day-it would take 389 YEARS to pay it off.
    At what point do we say enough and admit, as all quasi-socialist countries do,that government can not be everything to everyone?
    As Margarat Thatcher once said ” The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money”

    • Always remember that Dr. K has at least one job — and most likely several. And I really do agree that we are going to have to reduce federal government debt — and spending and services on programs that people like and take for granted.

  2. What’s really strange is that maybe it was the college grads who didn’t have to struggle when they graduated to find jobs – say, those who graduated after 1995 but before 2001 – that might be the aberrations.
    I remember when I graduated with my first degree, lo those many years ago, we were struggling with a minor recession (remember that 1991-1994 recession?) and jobs in Cincinnati (and all over the Midwest) were scarce and precious.

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