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Are Career Prospects Finally Brighter for Young Graduates?

While some stats show that job hiring for recent college grads is looking brighter, the truth is a little more complicated. Even though 19.3 percent more graduates are expected to get jobs this year than they did last year, according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the truth is that many people graduating today can’t expect to work the traditional 9 to 5 for a single employer. Instead, they’ll have to turn to self-employment and/or work multiple part-time and temporary jobs to get by. “Young college graduates working multiple jobs is a natural consequence of a bad labor market and having, on average, $20,000 worth of student loans to pay off,” according to Carl E. Van Horn, director of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers. Case in point: almost 2 million college graduates last year were “mal-employed” (working as babysitters or sales clerks for which they didn’t need college degrees) and had multiple jobs, according to a recent New York Times article. Given these trends, the federal government should—and could—do a lot more to track the ways that people are working today. The last time they studied independent workers in any comprehensive way was six years ago, the last time a survey called the Contingent Work Supplement was administered. The survey has since been discontinued—and it couldn’t have happened at a worse time. Freelancers Union Executive Director Sara Horowitz just explained how this bad data is affecting our understanding of the recession and recovery, too, in an op-ed “Why our employment figures are wrong.” Luckily, even people who don’t think they have an entrepreneurial bone in their body (like me) can blaze their own trail. Above having parents who are entrepreneurs or having some kind of entrepreneurial gene, a study by Babson College found that just taking a few entrepreneurship classes is a greater determiner of who will start their own business. If you’re a college grad, what was it like after you got your degree? If you just graduated, how have your job prospects been?