29.5% of recent high school graduates can't find work

Apr 15, 2013

The unemployment rate for recent high school graduates has nearly doubled since the recession began, leaving almost a third of them without work, according to a report from an economic think tank.

A new report by the Economic Policy Institute found that 29.5 percent of recent high school graduates that aren't going on to college don't have a full time job. That's up from 17.5 percent in 2007, before the recession began.

Most of the numbers formulated by the EPI come from raw data collected by the government's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Times are tough for college graduates, too. The unemployment rate for recent grads was 5.7 percent in 2007. Now it's 8.8 percent. But of those with a college diploma that are working full time, more than half are in a job that doesn't require their degree, according to report co-author Heidi Shierholz. That's a lot of history majors serving coffee.

"The share of employed young college graduates working in jobs that don’t require their college degree underscores that today’s unemployment crisis is not being caused by workers lacking the right education or skills," Shierholz said in a conference call with reporters about the paper.

In New York state, the unemployment rate for workers under 25 was 18 percent in 2012, up from 11.9 percent in 2007. That's nearly double the overall unemployment rate for the state.

Wages for that demographic entering the labor market are down over the last decade too, which Shierholz says has a long term affect on the careers of young people just beginning one.

"There’s still an enormous gap between where [we] are now and where we want to be - what the job opportunities for young graduates look like if we had a healthy labor market," she said.