Despite the unemployment rate of recent graduates topping the national average, a bachelor’s degree “is still worth it,” according to a new study from Georgetown University’s Center for Education and the Workforce. Those who studied architecture are the worst off – 13.9 percent are unemployed, the study found. Only one other field – the arts – had unemployment rates in the double digits, with 11.1 percent of recent graduates (aged 22-26) lacking jobs. The humanities and liberal arts came in third with 9.4 percent, followed by social science (8.9 percent), recreation (8.3 percent), and computers and mathematics (8.2 percent). Those who fared best studied health or education, fields where 5.4 percent of recent graduates are unemployed. But rates vary significantly in some fields, too; in humanities and liberal arts, for example, they reach as low as 7.9 percent for “French, German, Latin and other common foreign languages,” but creep as high as 10.8 percent for philosophy and religious studies.
The study, based on 2009-10 data from the Census Bureau, also reported median wages by field. Engineering majors came out on top in that regard, making about $55,000 per year, while majors in the arts, psychology and social work rounded out the bottom with about $30,000 annually. Newly minted bachelor’s degree-holders can be happy about one thing, at least: their prospects will likely improve in the foreseeable future, as the economy continues to recover and they either get more degrees or (if they find a job) more experience. And while their “unacceptable” 8.9 percent unemployment rate outpaces the national rate by a third of a percentage point, they’re more than twice as likely to be employed than the “catastrophic” 22.9 percent of recent high school graduates didn’t go to college but can’t find jobs – not to mention the “almost unthinkable” 31.5 percent rate among high school dropouts.