Daniel Doherty

Any meaningful discussion about the dearth of full-time jobs in America seems to be, well, permanently on the backburner. Meanwhile, immigration, gun control and Jason Collins are front-and-center stories, despite the fact that according to a recent Gallup survey, 19 percent (number two on the list!) say “Unemployment/Jobs” are the country’s biggest problems (via Breitbart):

A new poll conducted by global management firm Accenture finds that 41% of U.S. workers who graduated from college in the last two years are underemployed and working in jobs that did not require a college degree.

The poll also found that just 16% of college students who will graduate this year had already landed a job. Worse, 32% of the 2011 and 2012 college graduates who are employed make $25,000 or less in annual salary.

Low earnings like that make climbing out of student debt difficult. Indeed, 34% of those surveyed said they have student loan debt of $30,000 or less and 17% owed between $30,000 and $50,000.

With job prospects bleak and personal debt so high, 32% of the students who will graduate in 2013 say they plan to move back home after graduation. Indeed, 44% of those who graduated college in 2011 and 2012 say they currently live at home with their parents.

The survey was based on 1,010 students slated to graduate in 2013 and 1,005 students who graduated college in 2011 and 2012.

Question: How many young people in America (a) take out tens of thousands of dollars in student loans, (b) attend college, (c) graduate (although many don’t, of course), and (D) wind up working jobs they hate that don’t require a college degree? In short, a lot. And yet no one in the mainstream media seems to give a darn, presumably because they all have jobs. I’m not suggesting that curbing gun violence in America and fixing our broken immigration system aren’t important issues we need to address -- they no doubt are -- but this simple statistic belies the oft-peddled falsehood that the economy (and by extension, the private sector) is “doin’ fine.” What exactly has the president and the Congress been doing recently to help businesses grow, hire and expand? And why aren’t they talking more about how few college graduates are actually finding full-time, permanent work? I’m hearing crickets.

America, I’ve often heard, has always been a forward looking nation. But if chronic joblessness isn’t addressed soon (and the next generation keeps on living with mom and dad until their 30 presumably because they can’t find good jobs) what exactly will we have to look forward to? An aging population coupled with an ever-shrinking workforce? Sounds lovely. And, incidentally, a lot like Greece.


Daniel Doherty

Daniel Doherty is Townhall's Deputy News Editor. Follow him on Twitter @danpdoherty.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography