The study, ‘Hard Times: College Majors, Unemployment and Earnings: Not All College Degrees Are Created Equal’, by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce has found that the highest rates of unemployment had undergraduate degrees in architecture at 13.9 percent, the arts at 11.1 percent and 9.4 percent for the humanities.
Interestingly, it was those with degrees in health, education, agriculture, business and engineering who had the lowest rates of unemployment.
“People keep telling kids to study what they love — but some loves are worth more than others,” said one of the study’s authors, Anthony P. Carnevale.
“When people talk about college, there are all these high-minded ideas about it making people better citizens and participating fully in the life of their times. All that’s true, but go talk to the unemployed about that.”
This comes amid an increasing debate over the value of college education as an economic investment, as the average amount of debt a student takes on has roughly doubled in real terms, leading to greater scrutiny of the financial returns of college, writes Daniel de Vise at the Washington Post.
The report showed that, while the unemployment rate for recent college graduates in information systems was 11.7 percent, while the rates for majors in computer science was 7.8 percent, indicating unemployment rates were generally higher among those with degrees in non-technical fields, the authors said.
“It’s slim pickings out there, that’s for sure,” said Valerie Berstene, who graduated in May with a master’s degree in architecture.
“It’s challenging in ways that I never anticipated.”
But that’s not to say she would have studied anything else.
“If I left for another field, I would miss architecture too much,” she said.
However, while unemployment among graduates stands at a high 8.9 percent, the rates of unemployment among job seekers with less education is much higher.
Unemployment among those with a recent high school diploma was 22.9 percent, and 31.5 percent of recent high school dropouts were without a job, writes Whoriskey.