Former Clinton Secretary of Labor Robert Reich has an unsettling message for 2012 college graduates: "You're screwed."
The blistering verdict came as part Mr. Reich's Sunday column addressed to "Members of the Class of 2012" wherein the former Labor secretary decries the current state of jobs and opportunities for recent college graduates entering the Obama economy:
As a former secretary of labor and current professor, I feel I owe it
to you to tell you the truth about the pieces of parchment you're
picking up today.
Well, not exactly. But you won't have it easy.
First, you're going to have a hell of a hard time finding a job. The
job market you're heading into is still bad. Fewer than half of the
graduates from last year's class have as yet found full-time jobs. Most
are still looking.
That's been the pattern over the last three graduating classes: It's
been taking graduates more than a year to land the first job. And those
who still haven't found a job will be competing with you, making your
job search even harder.
Contrast this with the class of 2008, whose members were lucky enough
to get out of here and into the job market before the Great Recession
really hit. Almost three-quarters of them found jobs within the year.
For many of you, your immediate problem is that pile of debt on your
shoulders. In a few moments, when you march out of here, those of you
who have taken out college loans will owe more than $25,000 on average.
Last year, 10 percent of college grads with loans owed more than
$54,000. Your parents have also taken out loans to help you. Loans to
parents for the college educations of their children have soared 75
percent since the academic year 2005-06.
Outstanding student debt now totals over $1 trillion. That's more than the nation's total credit card debt.
In 2008, Barack Obama carried 18-29 year-olds by more than 2-1 over John McCain.