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High school graduates feel the squeeze of a tough job market

June 08, 2012|By Marla Dickerson
  • They're smiling now. But wait until graduation. Dianna Agron and Cory Monteith star in "Glee."
They're smiling now. But wait until graduation. Dianna Agron and… (Carin Baer/FOX )

A lot of college grads are feeling anxious about their career prospects in a lousy economy. But those with just a high school diploma are close to despair.

A recent Rutgers University survey of young people who graduated from 2006 to 2011 finds that:

*Nearly a third are unemployed

*Only 27% have full-time jobs, and another 15% are employed part-time but looking for full-time work

*Most of those working full-time earn barely enough to keep them out of poverty; their current median wage is $9.25 an hour

*Fewer than 10% said their high-school education prepared them “extremely well” for their first job

*Most remain financially dependent on their parents or relatives for housing or other needs

*More than half said their generation will have less financial success than the previous generation

The national survey of 544 high school graduates comes from the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.

While most of these young people want to improve their situation, it won’t be easy. Almost all – 95% – said they need a college education to pursue their desired career. But most said they can’t afford it.

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