Half of college grads can't find full-time jobs

Jihan Forbes
Jihan Forbes
CBS News

President Obama was the commencement speaker Monday at Barnard College, the women's college in New York.

"While opportunities for women have grown exponentially over the last 30 years, as young people in many ways you have it even tougher than we did. This recession has been more brutal, the job losses steeper," Obama said.

CBS News correspondent Jim Axelrod reports that is why today half of recent college graduates can't find full-time jobs.

Jihan Forbes got good grades and a degree two years ago. The only thing she didn't get was a full-time job.

"They said, 'You get a degree, and you'll get a job. You are going to be a step ahead of everybody,' and that really hasn't been the case," Forbes said.

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The 23-year-old wants to break into the fashion industry, so she's blogging as a paid intern at one website, and working part time at another.

"I've sent out hundreds of resumes, like at least 300 in the past two years," Forbes said.

Forbes said there have been many bad moments during the process.

"I mean, I have my breakdowns. I mean I can't stress myself out about it, because that is not going to do anything but give me wrinkles -- and this face can not have wrinkles before it's 60," Forbes said.

Forbes majored in English, but a recent study found employers most likely to hire graduates with engineering (69 percent), business (63 percent), accounting (53 percent) or computer science degrees (49 percent).

Another study by Rutgers University found more than a quarter of recent grads (27 percent) said their jobs have them working below the level of their education, the same percentage that have moved in with their parents to save money.

The median salary for recession-era grads in their first job is $27,000, about $3,000 less than those who graduated before the recession began.

Between tehe internship and her part-time job, Forbes makes $300 a week.

"That's just the hardest thing," she said. "I would love to have full-time salary, benefits like all that wonderful stuff."

Forbes tells us she believes eventually the breaks will go her way and she'll do well. But in the Rutgers study, only about half of recent grads believe they will do better financially than their parents.

  • Jim Axelrod
    Jim Axelrod

    Jim Axelrod is the chief investigative correspondent and senior national correspondent for CBS News, reporting for "CBS This Morning," the "CBS Evening News," "CBS Sunday Morning," and other CBS News broadcasts.