- Flickr user Mark Ramsay, CC by 2.0
More than two million degrees were handed out to graduates of U.S. colleges and universities in the past few weeks, but the news was not stellar June 3 when the U.S. Department of Labor announced only 38,000 new jobs had been added to the nation's payrolls in May.
Following release of the new jobs numbers, some in the media turned to the question: "What is the unemployment rate for 25- to 34-year-olds who have graduated from a four-year college?"
The New York Times put that question to the test in a poll and got some surprising answers. The Times reports only 14 percent of poll respondents knew the answer and only 13 percent of people surveyed by Google knew the right answer—that the unemployment rate for degree holders is actually much lower than most people think.
"What was truly intriguing was that so many people answered in the completely wrong direction," wrote Quoctrung Bui in The Times' "Upshot" column. "What surprised us was that the majority of people thought that unemployment rates for those with college degrees were higher than for those without."
Is the news media to blame?
"Many articles have been written in recent years questioning the value of college," wrote Bui. "Our survey results suggest that articles like these have really taken hold with the public."
What's the real answer? In May it was only 2.4 percent.