The recent near-total collapse of the global economy has had some real negative effects. Life savings wiped out; retirements ruined; people evicted from their homes. The fact that 23-year-olds are working at Starbucks even after they've earned their English diplomas? Not at the top of the list.

A rather alarmist parsing of data by the AP led them to warn yesterday that "half of young college graduates [are] either jobless or underemployed in positions that don't fully use their skills and knowledge."

Au contraire.

People in their early 20s who just graduated from college with degrees in fake fields (consult this list) do not have any skills or knowledge. Or, more precisely, their skills and knowledge are exactly suited for the "lower-wage jobs -– waiter or waitress, bartender, retail clerk or receptionist, for example" for which the AP warns us they are being forced to settle.

What this story says, when you get right down to it: people with degrees in higher-skilled, harder science-oriented fields are more in demand, whereas people with fake degrees (hello) are less in demand; and the percentage of recent college grads unemployed or underemployed is the highest in about a decade.

  • 1) Given the recent total collapse of the global economy, highest in a decade ain't so bad.
  • 2) Re. "underemployed," see point above.
  • 3) This trend is already turning around.

"I sure do feel for all those 23-year-old English majors who are unable to put their skills to use at their restaurant jobs," say all the suicidal 55-year-old ex-journalists who have been laid off from ostensibly lifelong positions thanks to systemic technological changes and frozen out of the job market by age discrimination, I bet.

Don't worry, young people. The inevitable progression of death will leave your desired employers with no choice but to hire you eventually.

[AP. Photo: Tony Donnelly/ Flickr]