The current weak labor market is taking its toll on recent college graduates, but young Black graduates seem to be getting hit the hardest.
Black college graduates between the ages of 22 and 27 with four-year degrees are facing severe underemployment and are being forced to settle for jobs that don’t require college degrees.
In addition to having low requirements, these jobs come with low pay and make the daunting responsibility of paying back student loans nearly impossible.
According to a report released by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, 56 percent of Black college graduates were in an occupation that didn’t require a degree in 2013.
Among all recent college graduates with a job, regardless of color, the numbers were still troublesome with 45 percent settling for jobs that did not require a degree.
The authors behind the study say that students in these job positions are not able to pay back student loans while still maintaining a middle-class lifestyle.
With student loan interest rates continuing to rise and grants and scholarships harder to come by, many students are forced into the weak labor market with a staggering amount of debt.
“Black workers have been told for a generation that the way for you to do better is to go to college,” said Janelle Jones, the co-author of the study. “These are people who go to college in the face of rising tuition, needing to work to support themselves, not having a family structure. They finish college and then they end up finding a job that doesn’t end up requiring a degree.”
The study has caused some graduates to question the true value of their degrees, especially when many employers are paying more attention to experience than education.