White College Grads Still Find Better Employment Immediately After Graduation

When it comes to finding employment immediately after graduating from college, one race fares better than others. According to the annual Class of 2019 College Report published earlier this week by the Economic Policy Institute, white college graduates between 21 and 24 have a much lower unemployment and underemployment rate compared to all other races. White unemployment rate this year is 4.2% while Hispanic college grads have an unemployment rate of 6.4%. For black college graduates, the rate climbs to 6.8%. And for Asian and Pacific Islander college grads, the rate climbs even more to 7.7%. The rates are all higher than 2000 numbers, which are considered the best employment figures for college grads in relatively recent history.

Perhaps more disturbingly, the unemployment rates between 2000 and 2019 have increased significantly for all other races but have only slightly changed for white college grads. In terms of underemployed college grads, the gap grows even more. According to the report, about 8.9% of white college grads are underemployed — a much lower rate than the next demographic, which is also Hispanic college graduates at 13.5%. Asian and Pacific Islander college grads follow with a 13.6% underemployment rate while black college grads have the highest rate at 14.1%.

Akin to the unemployment rates, the underemployment rates have changed at different rates when compared to 2000 figures. For example, the gap between races was just 1.6% compared to the 5.2% gap between races now. In 2000, white college grads also had the lowest underemployment rate at 6.7%, but the highest rate then was 8.3% for Hispanic college grads. Since then, underemployment rates have climbed by at least five percentage points for all races besides white.

“The bottom line is that for recent college graduates, finding a good job has become much more difficult,” the report reads. “These findings are consistent with other research showing that, since 2000, among the workforce as a whole, there has been a decline in the demand for ‘cognitive skills.'”

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