Employment and Unemployment of College Grads

This article provides the January 2013 BLS monthly unemployment and employment data and analysis for bachelor’s degree college grads aged 20-24.

Each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics gathers, but does not publish, employment information on 20-24 year olds. This article uses BLS data to analyze the January 2014 unemployment situation for bachelor’s degree graduates. Unemployment and employment data can vary significantly from month to month for this cohort, but over time, trends can be seen.

The graphs below show the 20-24 year old cohort exclusively, with the first chart looking at the past two years (Jan, 2012—Jan, 2014), and the second chart comparing monthly unemployment rates over the last six years.


The January 2014 unemployment rate (8.7%) is higher than last month, which we would expect given the time of year. This is mediocre news, but February will be the true test of the recovery.

One factor to consider when assessing the employment situation for recent graduates is that unemployment rates can vary significantly by month. However, as the following chart illustrates, the monthly rates do tend to rise and fall in a similar pattern each year:


The recent monthly employment data for college grads aged 20-24 indicate that the employment market continues to be challenging for recent graduates with bachelor’s degrees. The situation has been somewhat better,but, the question remains as to when there will be more consistent and sustained improvement in job prospects for new college graduates.


  1. Timothy says:

    Where is the data for these graphs coming from? Maybe it is posted here somewhere and I am just not reading closely enough, but I would very much like to see what the original source is for these graphs. Thanks.

  2. The first two charts use data from Table 10 (unpublished) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unlike most BLS data, Table 10 provides information by educational attainment on individuals between the ages of 20-24. Table 10 can be requested from the BLS, but is not openly available.


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