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Recent college graduates earn less than those who graduated before the recession

College students who graduated in 2009 and 2010 earned 10% less than those who entered the job market before the financial crisis, a new report says.

May 20, 2011|By Alejandra Cancino

Reporting from Chicago — College students who graduated in 2009 and 2010 earned 10% less than those who entered the job market before the financial crisis, according to a new report.

Those who graduated before the recession earned a median salary of $30,000, whereas those who graduated after earned a median salary of $27,000, according to the report released recently by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.

The report, "Unfulfilled Expectations: Recent College Graduates Struggle in a Troubled Economy," paints a grim picture for about 1.7 million students who are graduating this spring with a bachelor's degree. The graduates will face an unemployment rate hovering around 9% and an economy struggling to recover more than 8.8 million private-sector jobs lost during the recession.

"We are still way behind, and the [slow recovery] is hurting those who are about to start their careers," said Carl Van Horn, the center's director.

Studies show that the decrease in pay will follow the young graduates throughout their careers, Van Horn said.

The report was based on a survey of 571 people who graduated between 2006 and 2010. It also found that half of recent college graduates are working part time or in jobs that don't require a college degree.

Still, the job prospects for a college graduate far outpace those for people without a college degree.

The unemployment rate for students without a college degree is 9.7%, whereas the unemployment rate for people with at least a bachelor's degree is 4.5%, according to the Labor Department.

acancino@tribune.com

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