The Value of a College Degree in One Simple Chart
Life and Leisure

The Value of a College Degree in One Simple Chart

iStockphoto/The Fiscal Times

The economy is near full employment in many parts of the country, but young adults still have more trouble finding jobs than more experienced workers. The struggle is even more difficult for those who don’t have a college degree, a new chart from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows.

The unemployment rate for recent college grads ages 22 to 27 is just 4 percent. That’s less than half the 8.5 percent unemployment rate for workers of the same age who don’t have a college degree.

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That educational advantage continues for older workers. The unemployment rate for all workers from ages 22 to 65 is 4 percent. While that’s considered low, the unemployment rate for workers of that same age that have a college degree is even lower, at just 2.5 percent.

While recent college grads have entered one of the best job markets in a decade, they still don’t have it easy financially. Their wages remain stubbornly low. Recent college graduates with a bachelor’s degree earned an average $43,000 last year, a small decline from 2015 and more than $2,000 less than what their peers earned 15 years ago.

Those low wages make it hard to get a foothold financially, especially when coupled with growing student loan burdens and skyrocketing housing costs.