A New York Times front page story and a Lumina report released Thursday, June 13, 2013 examine the sharp increase in college graduates. In 2012, more than a third of young American adults (25 to 29 years old) had at least a bachelors degree compared with less than 25 percent in 1995. That’s a 36 percent jump. Economists say a more educated workforce bodes well for the U.S. economy. But Indiana-based Lumina Foundation, which is pushing for more Americans to get college degrees, argues that the demand for high-skilled talent is still outpacing our ability to produce educated workers.
Interesting regional variations. Almost half of young Massachusetts adults have a bachelors compared with just 20 percent in Nevada. The Lumina report details graduation rates by metropolitan region and state.
Of course, a sharp rise in college graduates makes one wonder about the quality of these new bachelors degrees. Indeed, many of them have been minted by the for-profit sector. And it seems that so many college graduates are unemployed, drowning in debt and living at home. But the New York Times, citing the Census Bureau, points out that only 3.3 of college graduates aged 24-34 are currently unemployed.
(Disclosure: The Lumina Foundation has supported The Hechinger Report in the past.)