from Inside Higher Ed
Doubts about the labor-market returns of bachelor’s degrees, while never serious, can be put to rest.
Last month’s federal jobs report showed a rock-bottom unemployment rate of 2.8 percent for workers who hold at least a four-year degree. The overall unemployment rate is 5.7 percent.
But even that welcome economic news comes with wrinkles. A prominent financial analyst last week signaled an alarm that employers soon may face a shortage of job-seeking college graduates. And the employment report was a reminder of continuing worries about “upcredentialing” by employers, who are imposing new degree requirements on jobs.
“Presumably, these educated workers are the most productive in our information economy,” wrote Guy LeBas, a financial analyst with Janney Montgomery Scott, in a report Bloomberg Businessand other media outlets cited. “At some point in the coming year, we’re going to risk running out of new, productive people to employ.”
Anthony P. Carnevale concurred with LeBas. As director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce and a top expert on the labor-market returns of degrees, Carnevale has long railed against dubious arguments about the payoff from college being overrated.
“We’re headed for full employment” of bachelor’s-degree-holding workers, he said.