But increasingly, today’s college graduates face an uncertain future, and many will end up taking jobs historically done by those with high school diplomas or even less — construction workers, taxi drivers, restaurant wait staff, janitors. More than 1 million college graduates are retail salespeople — about twice the number of active-duty U.S. Army personnel.
But this is a long-term problem: There are simply more college graduates than jobs requiring college degrees.
The problem will probably get much worse in the next decade. The Bureau of Labor Statistics issues 10-year projections of job growth by occupation, including estimates of the “typical education needed for entry.” The most recent projections cover 2012 to 2022. During that period, there will be an estimated net increase of 15,628,000 jobs, but only about 27 percent of them (4,230,500) will require a bachelor’s degree or more. More than twice as many of those jobs (8,789,200) are estimated to require no postsecondary education at all. In the 2001-11 decade, about 15 million people received bachelor’s degrees, and the number of college graduates per year has been rising.
And what happens when supply > demand in the labor market? Salaries and wages go down, and there is an increase in unemployment.
But there’s more:
None of the 10 occupations with the largest projected job growth require bachelor’s degrees, and only one (registered nurses) requires a two-year associate’s degree. Six of the top 10 jobs require less than a high school diploma (personal care aides, retail salespersons, home health aides, food preparation and serving, janitors and cleaners, and construction laborers). Among the 30 jobs projected to have the greatest growth, only five require at least a bachelor’s degree (general and operations managers, elementary school teachers, accountants and auditors, software developers, and management analysts).
This is what happens when you remove the manufacturing base from the economy and replace it with jobs in the service sector. This is why there are a record number of Americans on food stamps. This is why the unemployment rate can go down not because the economy is recovering, but because almost 1 million people stop looking for work. This is why globalization is bullshit.