A Long Slog Ahead on Unemployment

There have been a lot of stories lately about the challenges of college graduates finding a job. They aren’t without merit. Here is a snapshot of the problem from The Wall Street Journal:

Graduating college students face a mixed job market at best this year, and most will leave school without an offer in hand, despite an uptick in hiring by on-campus recruiters… In a study to be released Thursday, the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University found that recent graduates are taking awhile to find work. Only 49% of graduates from the classes of 2009 to 2011 had found a full-time job within a year of finishing school, compared with 73% for students who graduated in the three years prior.

Daunting numbers. Here is how BLS April 2012 unemployment numbers look—

The links to those numbers will update each month so if you’re reading this in June 2012 or later follow the link to see what the status is.

As bad as these numbers are, the unemployment problem is really worse than this. To start, the labor force participation numbers are artificially reducing the headline unemployment number, so there is more than 8.1 percent of the work force that is unemployed. Beyond that, there are several long-term demographic trends that are weighing on the labor force today. In a column over at this afternoon I outline these trends and frame up a pretty negative outlook for the employment market.