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Recent College Grads Face Challenges in Recession Aftermath

New college graduates faced a tough job market during the recession, but since 2010 the market has improved slightly every year. Early indications suggest that 2014 saw more significant improvements in Idaho and the nation.

Based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the unemployment rate for 20- to 29-year-olds with bachelor’s degrees but nothing higher peaked in 2009 at 17.6 percent, nearly double the 9 percent in 2007. The rate declined to 14.9 percent in 2010, dropped to 13.5 percent in 2011 and then fell to 8.8 percent in 2013.

Recent college grads faced a labor market full of degree holders laid off during the severe recession. The number of people turning 18 peaked in 2009, while the portion of young adults in the United States who completed a four-year college degree hit a record high in 2012. A full third of 25-to-29-year-olds now hold degrees. The rate of young adults earning a bachelor’s degree rose from 28 percent in 2006 to 33 percent in 2013. The increase partly reflects a long-term trend. In 1971, only 17 percent of young adults had four-year degrees. That intensified as the recession nixed job opportunities, spurring college enrollment. Idaho also saw record numbers of students graduating from college in recent years.

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