Accuracy in Media

Reuters headlined an article on employment among recent college graduates, “Optimism creeps into jobs market for college grads.” The lead is a heartwarming anecdote about a mom whose son with an economics degree found a job after changing from a sports management major.

The article, by David Morgan, reports that “America’s employment picture has begun to look brighter for new college graduates in a small number of fields,” citing work by a Michigan State University think tank. The fields Reuters cites as having positive employment outlooks are “accounting, finance, economics, marketing, human resources and information technology.”

Reuters notes that the situation since the financial crisis has been a “deep employment hole” and that “the recession and economic uncertainty…continues to stifle any concrete sign of a broader jobs [sic] market recovery.” Reuters also reports that the MSU think tank found that a bachelor’s degree is on average worth almost $10,000 in starting annual salary less than it was worth in 2008. Independent career counselor Dan King is quoted saying that “organizations are still tentative about hiring.”

Additionally, Reuters quotes Nobel Prize-winning economist Peter Diamond as saying that “it is very costly for young people to have trouble getting started on their careers.”

The article states that “ballooning government deficits have since foisted higher tuitions and shrinking levels of financial aid onto state colleges and universities.”

It closes with quotes from James Engell, a professor of English at Harvard University. He warns that dropouts caused by rising college costs are “[reinforcing] the widening income gap in the United States” and “[portending] a society which is less democratic.”

Reuters offers no prescriptions for the rising tuition costs, and only notes falling government support as a cause, though that is but one of many. What seems clear is that the “optimism” that Reuters headlined is at best only “creep[ing]” into a 20-24 year old age cohort that the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports faces a 15.2% unemployment rate.

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