The Summer Surge in College Unemployment

Every summer, a rise in unemployment frightens college graduates as they venture into the job market. This rise in unemployment, however, is cyclical and, as such, predictable.

Major findings in this report include:

  • Every year, college unemployment surges in the summer but recedes in the fall;
  • The summer surge follows May and June graduations as new graduates enter the workforce over short two-month period and increase the labor supply of young college graduates by 17 percent;
  • During the recession between 2008-2010 the surge was stronger and hiring in the fall was not as strong as in previous years. Since the recovery, however, the normal pattern of summer unemployment and fall hiring has begun to return;
  • Beginning this year, the study finds, college graduates have more to look forward to. If the recovery holds there will be another 19.4 million job openings for people with college degrees over the next ten years.

There are a variety of preemptive strategies available for college students who are soon to graduate to try to beat the odds associated with this rise in unemployment, such as:

  • Finding your institution’s career counseling or career services office;
  • Getting the message out that you’re looking for work;
  • Relying on previous internship connections.