Where Young College Grads Are Finding Jobs: Government

First, let me apologize for the gap between posts.  I’ve been immersed with other members of the VisibleEconomy crew developing videos that combine the best of news and education.   In a month or two we are going to roll out a line of news videos entitled VisibleCareers–short, fast-paced news videos focusing on key events and changes in the economy that young job seekers should know about  (the VisibleCareers site will be up  soon).

As part of that effort, I’ve been developing new job market indicators. One question that people often ask: Where are the new jobs being created? But they are really asking: Where can people like me find a job?

So assuming that most of the people reading this blog are college-educated, here’s a table that shows where young college graduates (aged 25-34) are finding jobs over the past year. The number for each industry represents the increase in collegee-educated employment, comparing the year ending August 2010 with the year ending August 2009.

Immediately obvious: Government has been the main hirer of young college grads over the past year .  And why not? Government jobs are safer, they pay well, and have better benefits than the private sector.  The next biggest hirer of young college grads is the broad category entitled professional and technical services, which includes such  industries as law, accounting, computer systems design, and management consulting.  These industries as a whole have not been expanding, or expanding only slow–but they have been shifting towards better-educated workers.

Then comes the distressing category: Hotel and restaurants.  We hear anecdotes about young college grads being forced to work as waitstaff in restaurants, and here’s one indication that might be more common than we would like–the number of young college grads working in hotels and restaurants is up 33K over the past year.

Two industries that I lump together in my mind as the ‘social and community’ sector are social assistance and membership associations. Now, for sure, not all the enterprises in these two industries are nonprofit. But in some sense, they are directed towards broad social goals. Total young college grad employment in the social and community sector is up about 60K.

One final but important source of jobs for young college grads is the communications sector, which for me includes industries such as telecom, internet publishing, and broadcasting.  Young college grad employment is up about 18K in these industries. Please note–I was formerly in publishing, and now I’m in internet publishing–two different industries.

Which sector is worst? Finance, of course, which has been shedding young college grads like crazy.


  1. First Generation White Collar is a good book to recommend college grads

  2. Cool project! We noted earlier in the year that young adults (Age 20-24) were the most likely to have been hired as temporary Census workers, so some of what you see for this age group in August 2010 are the remaining remnants of this temporary workforce.

    Another thing to be aware of is that the August 2010 jobs report showed a surge in the number of employed young adults compared to the previous month – given sampling errors, not all the gains you see may be real, especially if we see something like a reversion to mean effect with the jobs data coming soon for September 2010.

  3. Nothing wrong with college grads having to work in restaurants for awhile, particularly given how useless most of those degrees are. The great advantages of recessions are that they impress upon people to never take anything for granted, so that they work harder or save more even in good times, and highlight what is wasteful or inefficient, whether it’s useless college degrees or bloated publishing businesses that are now going bankrupt. Another flaw it highlights is just how useless current hiring processes are, as I guarantee there’s a significant minority of those college-educated waiters who would do a much better job at some firm, but they don’t get a chance because of how much of a joke HR is at most of those places. Oh well, a competitive advantage for entrepreneurs to exploit, just don’t be a moron in how you hire and you could put most existing businesses out of business. 🙂

    • “Nothing wrong with college grads having to work in restaurants for awhile, particularly given how useless most of those degrees are.”

      Thanks for being such a champion for education. Can YOU live off minimum wage with $70,000 in loans?

      Let them eat cake.

    • “Champion for education”? I think education is perhaps the most backwards sector in this country, no doubt because of all the govt influence, I would hope nothing I said could be construed as championing it. In fact, I hope someday to help destroy it, by helping online learning take off. However, if you make such a dumb decision as to buy a worthless degree for $70k, you have to pay the price: that’s just how life works.

      • Hagbard Celine says:

        Here here Ajay! I am amazed at all the idiots who studied comparative lterature, or religious studies, or women’s studies, or some other such “stylish” field who then complain that X Bank won’t hire me as a commercial loans officer at 75k a year. Boo ho, whoa is me, government has to help me pay off my student loan.

        My advice. Suck it up Princess. You ought to have studied something that companies need. Like finance, engineering, chemsitry, physics, economics or such. That you decided to have fun for four years, be the coolest guy i the poetry circle and wear black turtle necks is not my problem. Admit it, Grad, you effed up and now you want someone to give you a hug.

        Grow up, you petulant child and do something worthwhile, or get used to saying: “You want fries with that?”

      • This reply is to Hagbard Celine, since there is no reply below her.

        Have you EVER considered that these people who study philosophy or literature, just spent four years of learning how to connect the dots through deductive reasoning. That maybe a person is capable of explaining how certain social theories fit into certain frameworks set up by masters in the respective field, are going to be able to use that same type of logic in a business environment, and can figure out what is going on probably just by being in the environment. You sit there and act like we’re stupid.

        We can also deduce that it was the generation before us that promised us a great degree from a great college, regardless of the major will give us a leg up on the competition. They didn’t say things like ‘we’re gonna take advantage of easy credit, screw up the country, and now that Swathmore or Harvard degree is USELESS. Good luck buddy, getting ANY job with your stupid U. Penn Law degree.’

        That’s right, the guy or girl who busted his or her ass to make it through a top school, gets a law degree, and you think they’re there to serve you fries? If you’re that blind, maybe you should give me my fries. I’ve got a coupon for some free ones right here.

        BTW, degrees, at least the degrees at the top college in the country, aren’t bought. They are EARNED, you arrogant ignoramus.

  4. Christian says:

    “Government jobs are safer, they pay well, and have better benefits than the private sector.”

    The myth that government workers are compensated better than the private sector has been persuasively refuted in a recent study by the Economic Policy Institute [http://tinyurl.com/27e73zu]. When controlling for age and education government workers are actually compensated at lower levels than private sector workers. As Ironman notes regarding the census, and with government the leading hirer pre-census as well, young people are going there because that is just where the jobs are.

    • Also adding into this is that government jobs are considered “public service”. If you have loans given by the federal government, after 10 years of public service (if you have a low enough salary), any remaining balance on your loans are automatically forgiven.

      Government jobs- does this include americorps, peace corps, and the like? These have additional loan repayment options that may be helping to drive young people to these types of jobs.

  5. That’s a surprising number of young college grads that are being employed by government. I would be interested in seeing a chart that indicates the states in which these college grads are finding work.

  6. Hey there, You’ve done a great job. I will definitely digg it and personally suggest to my friends.
    I’m confident they will be benefited from this web site.


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Toby Elwin, Martell Thornton. Martell Thornton said: Where Young College Grads Are Finding Jobs: Government « Mandel on …: Then comes the distressing category: Hotel… http://bit.ly/afaxK1 […]

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  3. […] Check out the chart, breaking down the change in employed college grads by sector, comparing the year ending August 2010 with the year ending August 2009 right here. […]

  4. […] a sad chart from Mike Mandel (via @tbuhl). The next generation of workers isn’t finding jobs on Wall Street, nor in […]

  5. […] Mandel notes in this post that among recent college grads who have employment, the greatest number have government jobs. They […]

  6. […] Where Young College Grads Are Finding Jobs: Government (Hat Tip: Jean Stoner) Share and Enjoy: […]

  7. […] Mandel has developed new job market indicators for […]

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  9. […] on Where Young College Grads Are Finding Jobs for a report on job opportunities for the current crop of college […]

  10. […] obvious: Government has been the main hirer of young college grads over the past year,” Mandel says. “And why not? Government jobs are safer, they pay well, and have better benefits than the […]

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