Defining, Finding ‘Good Jobs’

GABBY HARTZE | THE SPECTRUM President Dean Bresciani presented his state of the university address Oct. 8, touching on prospects for NDSU graduates in his speech.
GABBY HARTZE | THE SPECTRUM
President Dean Bresciani presented his state of the university address Oct. 8, touching on prospects for NDSU graduates in his speech.

College graduates question how they fit into America’s economic recovery.

In his Oct. 8 State of the University address, President Dean Bresciani referenced a Georgetown University study finding, saying, “Ninety-seven percent of what are defined as ‘good jobs’ created from 2010 to 2014 went to workers with at least a bachelor’s degree.”

After what most commentators define as the worst recession since the Great Depression, the United States economy has added jobs to the market and seen results.

In 2009, the country’s unemployment rate was 10 percent but is now down to 5.3 percent, according to a Georgetown University study titled “Good Jobs Are Back: College Graduates First in Line”.

Reviewers of the Georgetown study question whether these jobs are actually good jobs.

“Some media stories have even portrayed the mass of college graduates as having to settle for jobs as baristas and sales clerks,” economics writer Ben Casselman reported in 2013.

However, the surge in jobs is actually having a different effect.

Georgetown’s study demonstrates that an increase in the number of jobs is aiding in the country’s economic recovery and more “good jobs” are indeed going to college graduates.

The study breaks up jobs into thirds.

“Good jobs” fit into the upper third and are defined by the study as jobs that pay more than $53,000 annually for a full-time, full-year worker.

Bresciani said, “Good jobs were defined as earnings of more than $42,700,” which is actually the median of first-time, first-year workers and fits into the middle third of the study’s breakup.

A SmartAsset study ranking found North Dakota State graduates have an average starting salary of $48,300, which fits into Georgetown’s definition of a middle-wage salary.

“This tells us that the individuals who earn degrees have better earning, and that businesses need college-educated employees,” Bresciani said.

Georgetown’s study includes, however, that even though good jobs and low-wage jobs have more workers, middle-wage jobs, where recent college graduates fit, are not in full recovery after the 2009 recession.

“Middle-wage occupations are still 900,000 jobs short of their pre-recession employment level,” the report said.

College graduates still have the upper hand, however.

“In fact, this next statistic is particularly sobering, in this study, workers with high school diplomas or less actually lost positions,” Bresciani said.

Georgetown’s report found “Post-secondary education is important for gaining access to job opportunities in the current economy, and job seekers with bachelor’s degrees or higher have the best odds of securing good jobs.”

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