Economist Michael Mandel, at Mandel on Innovation and Growth, posted these two figures showing that the real earnings of college graduates (full-time workers ages 25-34) have been declining since before the recession. According to Mandel:

  • Real earnings for young male college grads are down 19% since their peak in 2000.
  • Real earnings for young female college grads are down 16% since their peak in 2003.

Mandel poses the following questions:

…no one has given me a good explanation yet of why young American college grads should have been hit so hard. Is there increased competition with young college grads around the world?  Are new college grads lower quality than their predecessors? Has information technology reduced the need for young grads? I really would like to know.

For more depressing news about the earnings of college graduates, see these posts on how the economic recession will depress the earnings of college grads for their entire lifetime and a look at the trend in college graduate earnings since 1979.

Lisa Wade, PhD is an Associate Professor at Tulane University. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture; a textbook about gender; and a forthcoming introductory text: Terrible Magnificent Sociology. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.