Report co-author Jonathan Robe, a research fellow at CCAP, also says individually it can make sense to get a degree. "The report may seem a little dismal," he says, "but we can't say college is worthless. If you have to distinguish yourself in the job market, the best way is a college degree."
The CCAP report estimates underemployment is likely to continue — projecting that the number of Americans with bachelor's degrees will grow more than 31 percent in the current decade. This is more than double the 14 percent growth expected in jobs requiring at least a bachelor's degree.
"We can't create overnight the jobs (for all the graduates) — not that many fancy nice upper-middle-class jobs will be available in the economy in the immediate future," Vedder says. "We can't have 50 to 70 percent of the working population be college graduates and expect them all to earn above-average incomes. That is mathematically impossible. This is something we have never faced before."
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