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February 2013

Recent college graduates in the U.S. labor force: data from the Current Population Survey

Thomas Luke Spreen

Data collected each October in the School Enrollment Supplement to the Current Population Survey provide an annual snapshot of the demographic characteristics, labor force activity, and school enrollment status of each year's cohort of recent college graduates Every year, thousands of recent graduates of colleges and universities across the United States enter the labor force with newly minted degrees and high hopes about their employment prospects.1 In October 2011, 74.5 percent of the 1.3 million 2011 recent college graduates were employed, according to data from the Current Population Survey (CPS). The unemployment rate for the 2011 cohort of recent college graduates was 12.6 percent. CPS data also show variation in the labor force status of bachelor's and advanced degree recipients.

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