This morning’s jobs report saw the unemployment rate for all 25-34 year olds drop to 9.3%, the lowest level since March 2009. Good news, for sure. But that comes after a year where the unemployment rate for young workers barely budged.
In particular, the unemployment rate for young college graduates did not fall at all from the end of 2009 to the end of 2010. Take a look at the chart below, which reports the unemployment rate for young workers, age 25-34, by education. I compared the fourth quarter of 2009 with the fourth quarter of 2010 (not seasonally adjusted). (The data is not yet available for January 2011, so I’m lagging by one month).
What’s striking here is that young workers with a bachelor’s degree only faced an unemployment rate of 5.2% at the end of 2009, and a statistically identical unemployment rate of 5.3% at the end of 2010. No wonder young college grads felt like they were on a treadmill to nowhere in 2010 (for a good story on this topic, see my old comrade Peter Coy’s cover story in BusinessWeek this week, the Youth Unemployment Bomb).
However, I suspect that the decline in the young worker unemployment rate in January foreshadows a much much better 2011 for young grads. Here’s hoping!