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Want to Avoid Being Underemployed? Get a College Degree

New Report: Half Of Recent College Graduates Under- Or UnemployedNew Report: Half Of Recent College Graduates Under- Or Unemployed
Students walk across the campus of UCLA on April 23, 2012.Photograph by Kevork Djansezian—Getty Images

In case Americans needed another reason to go to college, here’s one: Those with a college degree are less likely to be underemployed.

A new study from the Center for Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University found that Americans with a college degree have an underemployment rate of 6.2% while those with just a high school diploma have a 12.9% underemployment rate.

Underemployment is an alternative measure of labor market slack and is often considered a truer indicator of the labor market’s health since it includes the unemployed plus workers who want a job but have stopped looking and those who have a job but would like to work more hours.

During the recession the underemployment rate has was nearly double the unemployment rate and as the recovery has inched along it’s declined at a steady rate, dropping below 10% in September for the first time since the downturn.



But underemployment has plagued a much smaller share of bachelor’s degree and graduate degree holders compared to Americans with less education.