Photograph by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.
President Obama may be kicking off a campaign this week to keep student loan interest rates low, but the class of 2012 likely has something more immediate on its mind: employment. And according to an analysis of government data conducted for the Associated Press, about half of them will end up jobless or underemployed.
Roughly 1.5 million, or 53.6 percent, of bachelor's degree holders under the age of 25 were underemployed or jobless last year. The split between jobless and underemployed among the group was about half and half.
The AP reports that last year job prospects for graduates with a bachelor's degree fell to their lowest point in more than a decade. Pair that with mounting student loan debt and rising tuition costs, and the newest crop of graduates has a pretty bleak outlook.
But job prospects vary widely between majors, the analysis notes. Science, education, and health field graduates are in high demand while arts and humanities students face little interest from employers.
Those who are finding jobs are overwhelmingly working in positions that don't require a bachelor's degree, or, in some cases, a high school diploma, according to the analysis. That's consistent with government projections from last month that showed only three of 30 occupations with the best job growth prospects require higher education degrees.
The AP breaks down where recent graduates are finding themselves employed:
In the last year, they were more likely to be employed as waiters, waitresses, bartenders and food-service helpers than as engineers, physicists, chemists and mathematicians combined (100,000 versus 90,000). There were more working in office-related jobs such as receptionist or payroll clerk than in all computer professional jobs (163,000 versus 100,000). More also were employed as cashiers, retail clerks and customer representatives than engineers (125,000 versus 80,000).