Number of the Day

50%: The percentage of young college graduates in the US who are either un- or underemployed.
The college class of 2012 is in for a rude welcome to the world of work.

A weak labor market already has left half of young college graduates either jobless or underemployed in positions that don't fully use their skills and knowledge.

Young adults with bachelor's degrees are increasingly scraping by in lower-wage jobs — waiter or waitress, bartender, retail clerk or receptionist, for example — and that's confounding their hopes a degree would pay off despite higher tuition and mounting student loans.

An analysis of government data conducted for The Associated Press lays bare the highly uneven prospects for holders of bachelor's degrees.

...While there's strong demand in science, education and health fields, arts and humanities flounder. Median wages for those with bachelor's degrees are down from 2000, hit by technological changes that are eliminating midlevel jobs such as bank tellers. Most future job openings are projected to be in lower-skilled positions such as home health aides, who can provide personalized attention as the U.S. population ages.

Taking underemployment into consideration, the job prospects for bachelor's degree holders fell last year to the lowest level in more than a decade.

...[The situation] highlights a widening but little-discussed labor problem. Perhaps more than ever, the choices that young adults make earlier in life — level of schooling, academic field and training, where to attend college, how to pay for it — are having long-lasting financial impact.
Just like everyone needed to get a mortgage and buy a house a decade ago, now everyone needs to get student loans and buy an education. There's always some fucking one-size-fits-all solution being peddled to USians to mask the realities that our economy is a house of cards, the population has gone lopsided as Baby Boomers age, there just aren't enough jobs anymore, and there's a cavernous class divide facilitated by middle class-destroying economic policies that are promoted by politicians in both parties even as they propose individual solutions on how to get and stay in the middle class. Buy a house! (Whoops.) Buy an education! (Whoops.)

Individual solutions to systemic problems don't work, and telling young people to get an education at any cost, when the cost demonstrably includes for many of them fucking their adult lives before they've even started, is an individual solution to a systemic problem that's about trade policies, taxation, demographics, domestic spending priorities, and a whole host of other lumbering national issues over which an entire generation of young people has no control, no less any one individual young person.

What power the people had has been sold away.

US voters have sold away their standard of living, their quality of education, their jobs, their worker protections, their civil liberties, their social safety net, their national security, their environment, their economy, their very democracy itself—all in exchange for the gossamer promise of individual success, even though a society of disconnected individuals without responsibility for one another isn't a society at all.

And so the younger generation is left a broken nation, told to make their way with mortgaged bootstraps, to which has been pinned a notice of foreclosure.

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