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Where the Jobs Are for Young Grads

Where the Jobs Are for Young Grads

By Lauren Bayne Anderson

October 21, 2010

If you’re young and fresh out of college, you’re unlucky enough to be graduating into one of the toughest job markets in history.

But one economist aims to answer the question so many recent college graduates have: where can people like me find a job?

Mike Mandel, the chief economist at Visible Economy LLC, compiled the data from analysis of the Current Population Survey – the same survey that the government uses to calculate the unemployment rate. He looked specifically at where young college graduates (aged 25-34) have found jobs over the past year.

What did he find? Some places are better than others—way better. At the top of the list? Hands down: Government jobs, which provided 107,000 new jobs for young graduates over the previous year. In second place is “technical services”, which includes such industries as law, accounting, computer systems design, and management consulting.

Mandel writes on his blog that government jobs are good for a number of reasons—not just because they’re hiring.

“Government has been the main hirer of young college grads over the past year. And why not?” he said. “Government jobs are safer, they pay well, and have better benefits than the private sector.”

But Mandel says it’s not that these industries are necessarily hiring more workers, they’re just hiring better educated workers. “These industries as a whole have not been expanding, or expanding only slow–but they have been shifting towards better-educated workers,” Mandel said.

What’s the WORST place to look? Finance, Insurance and Real Estate has lost 70,000 jobs for young graduates over the previous year, and manufacturing has lost 46,300.

But what may be even more distressing is another category that is picking up young college graduates like crazy: hotels and restaurants. An indicator that many college graduates are only finding work outside of their chosen career paths.

“We hear anecdotes about young college grads being forced to work as wait staff in restaurants, and here’s one indication that might be more common than we would like,” Mandel said. “The number of young college grads working in hotels and restaurants is up 33K over the past year.”

To read more and see a complete breakdown of industries, visit Mandel’s blog here.