Almost half of working Americans with college degrees are overqualified for their jobs.
The study, released by the non-profit Center for College Affordability and Productivity, says the trend is likely to continue for newly minted college graduates over the next decade.
“It is almost the new normal,” says lead author Richard Vedder, an Ohio University economist and founder of the center, based in Washington.
Vedder, whose study is based on 2010 Labor Department data, says the problem is the stock of college graduates in the workforce (41.7 million) in 2010 was larger than the number of jobs requiring a college degree (28.6 million).
That, he says, helps explain why 15% of taxi drivers in 2010 had bachelor’s degrees vs. 1% in 1970. Among retail sales clerks, 25% had a bachelor’s degree in 2010. Less than 5% did in 1970.
“There are going to be an awful lot of disappointed people because a lot of them are going to end up as janitors,” Vedder says. In 2010, 5% of janitors, 115,520 workers, had bachelor’s degrees, his data show.