• The Unemployment Rate for College Graduates

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals
    November 16, 2011

    U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that unemployment rates fluctuate by education level and age category. 

    In October, the unemployment rate* for associate degree graduates in the 20- to 24-year-old age range was 9.6 percent. However, it dipped to 7.3 percent for associate degree graduates in the 25- to 65-year-old age range.   

    For bachelor’s degree graduates, the unemployment rate was 7.7 percent for workers aged 20 to 24 years old and just 4.5 percent for those 25 to 65 years old.  

    Holders of advanced degrees faced the lowest unemployment rate—3.3 percent. These graduates all fell into one age category (25 to 65 years old). 

    The unemployment rates for these groups of graduates have remained relatively consistent from October 2010. The biggest shift has come at the bachelor’s degree level, where the rate for graduates in both age groups has dropped.  

    The chart below shows the unemployment rates for college graduates both last year and this year, by degree attained and age group:

    Unemployment Rates for College Graduates

    October 2010 vs. October 2011

    2010   2011  

    20-24  25-65  20-24  25-65 

    Associate Degree

    9.6% 7.0% 9.6% 7.3%

    Bachelor's Degree

    8.5% 5.1% 7.7% 4.5%

    Advanced Degrees

      3.4%   3.3%

     *Note: All rates are seasonally unadjusted. 

The Unemployment Rate for College Graduates