This Labor Day, the 45 million young people in the nation’s work force face a choppy job market in which entry-level wages have often trailed inflation, making it hard for many to cope with high housing costs and rising college debt loads.
Entry-level wages for college and high school graduates fell by more than 4 percent from 2001 to 2005, after factoring in inflation, according to an analysis of Labor Department data by the Economic Policy Institute. In addition, the percentage of college graduates receiving health and pension benefits in their entry-level jobs has dropped sharply.
...Census Bureau data released last week underlined the difficulties for young workers, showing that median income for families with at least one parent age 25 to 34 fell $3,009 from 2000 to 2005, sliding to $48,405, a 5.9 percent drop, after having jumped 12 percent in the late 1990’s.
Worsening the financial crunch, far more college graduates are borrowing to pay for their education, and the amount borrowed has jumped by more than 50 percent in recent years, largely because of soaring tuition.