MN’s new grad job market tougher than you thought

MPR News has written a ton during the Great Recession and not-so-Great Recovery about the plight of new college graduates. We regularly reported the stories young adults told us of their struggles to find work in Minnesota coming out of college the past few years.

New data analyzed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis give us a sense of just how bad it’s been.

Fed writer Ron Wirtz examined survey data from the Minnesota State Universities and Colleges system. MnSCU surveys its graduates every year to see if they are gainfully employed during the subsequent year in a job related to the program or major they studied in school.

“Survey data across these institutions show that graduates were having a tougher time landing a job in their field of study,” Wirtz wrote.

The Fed’s key chart:


As Wirtz notes, the data come with caveats: It’s self reported. The averages mask big differences among schools. There’s no distinction between full- and part-time. And the data don’t reflect the recently improving jobless picture in Minnesota.

Still, the trends show the reversal of fortune for recession-era graduates compared to those who earned degrees a couple of years earlier. Those problems will continue to surface in the form of greater student loan defaults even as the economy slowly improves.

— Paul Tosto

  • Marina

    This data is very interesting. My boyfriend went to the UofM and did struggle getting a job. He eventually settled for a very low paying data entry job way outside his field. While going to school, his parents helped him financially and he did not have to work.

    I, however, did not grow up as financially lucky as he did. I had to settle for a less expensive college while working full time and going to school full time. I have a fantastic job with a high paying salary since before I even graduated.

    I would like to see the stats of those who went to a community college or less renounded school as most the students I attended with were in the same boat of the working/schooling lifestyle I had. I truly believe that my fellow students will have the advantage in this day in age.

  • Kassie

    While my set of peers (graduating right around 2000) have our hardships, mostly in terms of upside down mortgages, at least we were lucky enough to have jobs available to us when we left school.

    I know a group of young people who all went to law school because when they graduated, there were no jobs. Law School sounded much better than unemployment and living with their parents. Now, they are weeks away from having law degrees, huge amounts of debt, and no job prospects.

    I think the worst part is that we have been hemorrhaging retirees where I work, but many are not being replaced. I have very few co-workers in their 20s because we just aren’t hiring young people. When we do have openings, there are plenty of experience laid off workers who fill them.

  • Bonnie

    I see Marina’s point to some extent. I do think that students of today are not always mindful about doing things ( like working or volunteering ) that create a whole package that is very attractive to an employer. No one wants to be the first employer you’ve ever had if it can be avoided!

    And jobs don’t just fall out of the sky, you need to network network network and purposefully engage in activities that will get you on the radar in the field you are interested in.

    I think too many students just “hope” and are not willing to really do what it takes to round out the resume.

    And to Kassie’s point, there is little doubt that most organizations are doing the same amount or more work with fewer people ( productivity increases ) but is that beginning to play itself out?

  • Marina

    Bonnie – I should have you over for dinner so you can talk to my boyfriend and his grandparents who think the name of your school is all that matters. 🙂

    (To be fair, my BF has started to admit that he should have probably taken a different approach to his overall education.)

  • Kassie

    Oh no, no productivity increases. We’ve just cut customer service to the bone and aren’t doing things we’ve done in the past that really need to be done. It is ugly.