More American workers are college educated than ever before. Yet the share of recent graduates who are unemployed or working jobs that don't require a degree is on the rise.
To solve that mystery, people often turn to the graduates themselves, said Molly Scott, a senior research associate at the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan think-tank in Washington. She said they ask questions of the student such as whether she chose the "right" degree or if his credentials are sufficient.
"What's missing in that narrative is understanding the structure of the labor markets people are trying to insert themselves in," Scott said.
Most urban economies simply have more college graduates than they need, according to a new study she co-authored. "In a lot of places, people have skills and education that are not seen as resources," Scott said.
In an analysis of 387 cities, Scott found nearly 90 percent of them hold more people with a bachelor's degree (or more) than jobs requiring that level of education.
The researchers analyzed education levels of residents and available jobs using the 2016 American Community Survey, which measures educational attainment, and Department of Labor statistics on employment in more than 800 occupations.