This morning’s Wall Street Journal editorial addresses how “recent college grads, and especially African-Americans, struggle to find work in a slow recovery.”
The great irony of the Obama era is that the President’s base voters have disproportionately suffered from a sputtering economy, while the wealthy that Mr. Obama likes to criticize have enjoyed a booming stock market. A new study shows just how difficult this era has been for some of the President’s most loyal supporters.
Researchers at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a left-leaning think tank, find that “The Great Recession has been hard on all recent college graduates, but it has been even harder on black recent graduates.”
In 2013, the unemployment rate for black college graduates ages 22-27 was a full 12.4%, more than double the 5.6% rate for all college grads in the same age range.
And for those African-American recent grads who did have jobs in 2013, study authors Janelle Jones and John Schmitt find that a staggering 56% were underemployed, meaning they were doing jobs that typically don’t require a four-year college degree. This compares to 45% underemployment among all recent graduates. For youngsters of all colors, these statistics describe a tragic era of lost opportunity and unrealized potential.
Even a career-friendly course of study isn’t protecting young graduates from the ravages of this historically slow recovery. The authors report that “for the years 2010 to 2012, among black recent graduates with degrees in engineering, the average unemployment rate was 10 percent and the underemployment rate was 32 percent.” Among all recent grads with engineering degrees, the average unemployment rate in those years was 6%, while 22% were underemployed.
As the President tries once more to rally young and minority voters this fall to support a Democratic Senate, he may find that they are not just unemployed and underemployed, but also unenthusiastic and underwhelmed by the results of national economic policy.