Article - College Graduates Conquer Job Market:

First time job seekers know that competition in the job market is fierce. However research has indicated that individuals who have a college degree and looked for work during the most recent recession had an advantage over their less educated counterparts. According to a study completed by the Pew Research Center (an independent think tank that commits their efforts to analyzing current trends that will impact the future of America and the world at large) has indicated that college graduates that looked for work during the country's economic retraction fared better than job seekers that did not earn a college diploma.

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Triggered by the subprime mortgage meltdown, America entered the Great recession in late 2007. As real estate prices dropped, investment portfolios lost value and consumer spending went down, the national unemployment rates increased and hovered at an average rate of around 10 percent from coast to coast. However, college graduates who looked for work during that time period experienced less of a drop in employment and salary when compared to individuals who did not have a college degree.

The Pew Center compared employment statistics for workers aged 21 years to 24 year old for two years before and during the 2007 to 2009 recession. Prior to the nation's economic retraction, 55 percent of high school diploma holders had work, that number dropped 8 points to 47 percent during the crisis. Associated degree holders/job seekers also experienced challenges, their employment numbers dropped from 64 percent to 57 percent during the same time period. Bachelor degree holders bucked the trend.

According to the study, new bachelor degree holders had a better time managing the nation's financial storm. Prior to the recession, 69 percent of bachelor degree holders were classified as either part-time or full-time employees; the employment rate slid four points to 65 percent during the Great Recession.

Aside from being more likely to have a job during economic downturns, college graduates also had greater earning potential than their non-degree holding counterparts. Individual workers who had a college degree experienced an average wage decrease of 5 percent. Those who had an associates degree experienced a 12 percent decrease in earning potential while high school graduates saw their wages cut by 10 percent.

Despite the fact that a college education can make a job applicant more attractive, individuals need to properly evaluate if a college degree is right for them. While the statistics indicated that the odds of employment are better for college educated folks, the math may show that the cost of the education will take many years to pay off and make earning a college degree not worth the investment.

Presently, student debt is considered to be the nation's fasted growing economic situation that may potentially trigger off another economic retraction. The average student loan debt of the 2011 college graduate class was close to $27,000; in total there is more than $1 trillion in outstanding student loan debt. A healthy job market and landed a paying gig, is the only solution that will allow graduates to pay their way clean.

Individuals deciding whether or not earning a college degree is worth their time and effort are advised to ponder the decision and crunch the numbers. That process will allow them to get a better understanding of short term student debt versus long-term employment opportunities and earning potential.

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