Ouch: wages are getting tighter, and college grads are feeling the pinch. Workers with college degrees are facing the largest wage slump in thirty years. Some blame President Bush for mismanaging the economy, some blame the glut of college-educated workers entering the career force, and some don't know where to place blame. But one thing is for sure: although a bachelor's degree greatly increases earning potential, it certainly doesn't guarantee a lavish salary.
That was troubling for someone facing the rising costs of rent, food, gasoline, and raising a newborn daughter. But Lewis, 36, found it especially troubling because he had done what has traditionally helped Americans share in a growing economy: He had earned a four-year college degree.
Wage stagnation, long the bane of blue-collar workers, is now hitting people with bachelor's degrees for the first time in 30 years. Earnings for workers with four-year degrees fell 5.2 percent between 2000 and 2004 when adjusted for inflation, according to White House economists.
When wages for people with bachelor's degrees declined in the 1970s, the cause was a flood of baby boomers entering the job market. This time, economists say, much of the blame goes to trends familiar to workers with less education.
Off-shoring, which has shifted manufacturing and call-center jobs to Mexico and India, is increasingly affecting the white-collar sectors of engineering and software design. Companies have continued their long effort to replace salaried positions with low-paid, nonsalaried jobs, including part-time and freelance positions without benefits.
What do you think? Is there one place to focus the blame? Should college graduates be guaranteed a high-paying job? Are you at all worried about the job market waiting for you after graduation?
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