Wednesday, June 29, 2011

typical sentiment re: college educated employment

I wrote a new piece for Balloon Juice, again about the value of college. A commenter uses perfectly typical language when he or she says, "there’s almost certainly no job waiting out there for a new graduate."

This is a novel use of the words "almost certainly." In 2010, the unemployment rate for those with a college education was 5.4%-- too high, certainly. For those with only a high school diploma it was 10.3%. Not quite double, but close. More to the point, these figures mean that better than 94% of work-seeking college educated Americans were employed in 2010. "Almost certainly" has meaning, and it doesn't mean that. I'm not picking on that one commenter; this is perfectly standard rhetoric when it comes to this question.


Judge373 said...

The problem for recent college grads is in finding "good jobs".

Most people don't want to work at McDonald's.

Judge373 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chemjobber said...

Freddie, you're comparing apples and oranges, perhaps.

While I agree that "almost certainly" is an exaggeration, your stats don't speak to your commenter's point.

I note that the unemployment rate for recent college graduates (below 25 yrs) was 8% in April 2010, higher than your 5.4% (which includes all college graduates). Of course, for young high school grads in April 2010, it was 11%.

New chemistry grads are facing 15+% unemployment (American Chemical Society stats); this in a field where the average B.S. graduate expects to have a job after graduation and used to be able to get one with relative ease.

I support your passion in pushing the counter-counter-intuitive facts on college education.

That said, I think it's important for you to understand that real people (not just pundits) may be re-examining the value of their degrees.

Freddie said...

They are entitled to re-examine their decisions; they are not entitled to create their own facts about whether or not college is a good investment for most college graduates.

Michael said...

You are right that this commenter exaggerated to say there almost certainly isn't a job for a new graduate. But you should do better than you just did in admitting that your citation of the overall unemployment rate for those with degress does little to illuminate the job prospects for *today's* new graduates, as you clearly imply your readers should think it does.

"You're right. I made a mistake." It's not THAT painful a thing to say. This mistake is one that matters, too, since you claim to be correcting some other blog's commenter's wrongness. (In a statement, I'd add, that s/he could quite credibly claim to be expression a subjective feeling about how it feels to be a new graduate today, even if it doesn't express any objective fact at all -- not that you shouldn't then respond that since there is a fact of the matter in this debate about the value of college, we should stick to facts rather than subjective impressions. But then you should go on to get your facts and comparisons right. And you didn't here. It matters.)

Freddie said...

I didn't, actually, make a mistake. The answer to the operative question is identical.

Of course, you're merely grinding your usual ax. So who cares?

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