Blog Post #12: Career Centers and Politicians – Pinocchio Ver.2

Why are we attending college?

For many, the reason would be to open an opportunity for future career. It is a known fact that graduating college is a very good way of keeping one away from the unemployment rate.

A lot of politicians and universities come out and say that number of college graduates should increase. Is it a good thing? Probably not. First, those unemployment figures presented by media should be adjusted. Second, we all know the dark side of increase in college admission: student loan.

I will start with the unemployment rate. With the Bloomberg Report by Victoria Stillwell, some people are worried that supply of college graduates will be lacked in future, with series low unemployment rate of college graduates. Of course, similar figure is reported by University of Michigan, that about 80 to 90 percent of graduates (of Michigan) have jobs after graduation.

Huh?

Its good to see that number, but I am afraid those numbers from career center, Bloomberg, and other notes about unemployment rates are VERY misleading.

I can start with the obvious, things that those unemployment rate figures/arguments do not capture.

1. Even if you are answering phone for your boss, while your dream job is to work on research, you are still happily employed in that unemployment rate figure.

2. Even if you are flipping burgers while waiting graduate schools to accept you, you are still happily employed in that figure.

3. Even if you are taking a time off (with no jobs) and traveling around without any obligation and/or willingness to do anything, you are still happily emplo….. ohhh, wait, you are not even in the consideration.

These are a very few example of bigger case. Seems like a gentlemen from Gallup has a same critical vision. Let me quote some of the phrases that the CEO of Gallup Jim Clifton said,

“The cheerleading for this number is deafening. Right now we’re hearing much celebrating from the media, the White House and Wall Street about how unemployment is ‘down’ to 5.6 %,” says Clifton. “The media loves a comeback story, the White House wants to score political points and Wall Street would like you to stay in the market.”

“And it’s a lie that has consequences, because the great American dream is to have a good job, and in recent years, America has failed to deliver that dream more than it has at any time in recent memory. A good job is an individual’s primary identity, their very self-worth, their dignity — it establishes the relationship they have with their friends, community and country.”

Ummmm…… I told you so? By the way, I love the comeback story too; comeback story like Tom Brady annihilating Pete Carroll. But not with the unemployment rate. Those numbers are not suggesting a honeymoon story like people are suggesting.

My second argument is about the student loan, which has NOT been misled by media. The cost of attending college (more general than student loan) seems to be an issue, and there are a lot of reports. Now, I want to go back to the question as to why do we attend college. If it is about a job, it may be worthwhile to rethink about the investment. There are just too many college graduates such that the competition in market (especially for those golden job working at famous firms) may force you to not have  the outcome you would like after the four year investment.  Besides, wage premium ( wage difference between college graduates and those who did not graduated) is decreasing, according to some studies.

There are a lot of college graduates that are part of the hidden unemployment rate, some that deserves to be represented in that number so that people can realize the severity.

Pigs can only stair at ground; they cannot see the sky, which is always an unfortunate thing. Let’s not be a pig.

2 thoughts on “Blog Post #12: Career Centers and Politicians – Pinocchio Ver.2

  1. Connor Matthews

    I totally agree with the fact that the university’s reports of students graduating with jobs are extremely misleading. College is an investment that does not pay off for a lot of people and a major problem with our job market is that you have to have a college degree to work for most big companies so if you aspire to work for any then you need that degree. I love a good comeback myself and praise touchdown tommy, but I totally agree the numbers are completely fabricated.

  2. Tor Martinsen

    I wonder if those University numbers are also boosted by missing data. I assume that U of M and other Universities get this data by sending out questionnaires to former students. They must only receive a proportion of these back. A student who is unemployed is a lot less likely to respond to this survey than one who has a great job. This is precisely why the incomes that college reports their graduates to have is always overstated as well.

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