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Despite hard times for recent graduates, college is still worth it. Much attention has been devoted to the 9 percent unemployment among recent college graduates, leading some to conclude that college is no longer worth it. Hard Times: College Majors, Unemployment, and Earnings argues that college remains the best alternative for young workers with one caveat: Not all majors are created equal. Some majors offer substantially better employment prospects than others.

Key Findings

Choice of major substantially affects employment prospects and earnings.

People who make technology are better off than people who use technology.

In general, majors that are linked to occupations have better employment prospects than majors focused on general skills. But, some occupation specific majors, such as Architecture, were hurt by the recession and fared worse than general skills majors.

For many, pursuing a graduate degree may be the best option until the economy recovers. But, not all graduate degrees outperform all BA’s on employment.

Full Report

Hard Times shows your choice of college major greatly determines your unemployment rate and earnings.

This study also finds:

  • People who make technology are better of than those who use technology.
  • Unemployment is lowest where the ties between majors and occupations are highest.
  • Getting a graduate degree can make a substantial difference in your employment and earnings prospect across all majors.