Do New Grads Count?

Avi Buchbinder writes:

I am a 25-year-old graduate student currently working on getting a PhD in chemistry. As you know, millions of college seniors will be graduating in the coming weeks. Presumably, they have had a difficult time finding jobs, a topic which you have touched on anecdotally in past podcasts. Yet, none of these college graduates will be receiving unemployment benefits, as they did not recently lose a full time job. Will unemployment statistics simply miss these hundreds of thousands of people becoming unemployed within the span of a month? If so the employment picture will be even worse than it looks for an outside observer.

The good news, such as it is, after the jump.

Actually, new graduates who can't find work are part of the Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment count. That's because those figures come from a survey of households and employers, not from unemployment claims. If new grads' households are included in the BoL survey, and they report themselves as looking for work and not finding it, they'll wind up grouped with everyone else in U3, the official unemployment rate.

From the BofL:

All persons who are without jobs and are actively seeking and available to work are included among the unemployed. (People on temporary layoff are included even if they do not actively seek work.) There is no requirement or question relating to unemployment insurance benefits in the monthly survey.

Knowing you can make the report may be little comfort to new grads toting big loans and few prospects. Buchbinder writes:

As an early indicator, I have two friends who have gone out on the job market after recently graduating this winter — one with a phd in chemistry, one with a masters. For a degree which used to get a lot of interest, they have had a combined total of zero job interviews since December.

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