Baby Boomer parents relax: your millennial kids with college degrees are far from doomed.
They actually had a pretty awesome 2015, depending on what they studied.
Unemployment for young college grads — ages 22 to 27 — fell to 4.9% by September, just below the current national average of 5%, according to a report published Friday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
These Millennials are also getting paid more: median incomes for recent graduates rose to $43,000 in 2015, up from about $40,000 in the prior year. Compare that to the wages of the same age group who only have a high school diploma — their wages have fallen in recent years, now at $25,000 a year.
Overall, it’s good news that incomes are rising for job market newbies.
But when you parse out the data by a graduate’s college major, results vary — a LOT.
Young graduates who studied chemical engineering are snagging the best paying jobs: $70,000 a year, while those who studied religion and theology got jobs that paid $28,600 a year, the lowest.
Graduates who majored in agriculture, construction or nursing are dominating the job market. Their unemployment rates are 2% or lower — less than half the national average of 5%. Recent grads with nursing degrees make about $48,000 a year.
Fine arts graduates struggle a lot — Their starting salaries are on the lower side of the spectrum of new graduates: $29,000 a year, 7.6% are without a job and 62.3% end up taking lower paying jobs that don’t require a college degree.
Philosophy majors didn’t fare too badly. Only 5% couldn’t find jobs and recent grads earned $35,000 a year.
They were in the news recently, when presidential hopeful Florida Senator Marco Rubio took them on in a debate. He said: “Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders than philosophers.”
A CNNMoney analysis found that to be untrue.
For new liberal arts graduates overall, the unemployment rate is 5.8% and the median wage is $32,000 a year.
Many Americans have feared during and after the recession that college grads were not finding work or were settling for less, working jobs that didn’t require a college degree, or as economists refer to them: underemployed
In fact, underemployment has been falling for the past two years. About 44.1% of recent college grads are underemployed, according to the New York Fed.
That may sound high, but it’s not unusual. The underemployment rate was even higher in 2004 (44.6%) and in 1992 (47.7%). Right before the 2001 recession, underemployment fell into the high 30s but quickly climbed back up.
It’s important to note that underemployment doesn’t always mean a bad job.
About 36% of young college grads are in jobs that don’t require a college degree but make over $45,000 a year — above the median wage for all new grads.