Census: Over 250,000 young California college grads working menial jobs

Published: Monday, Nov. 19, 2012 - 4:14 pm
Last Modified: Friday, Dec. 6, 2013 - 5:13 pm

The number of young college grads working as waiters in California almost doubled between 2006 and 2011. So did the number of retail sales clerks.

About 260,000 California college grads under 30 worked on the front lines of the food service, clerical, sales and personal services industries in 2011, up by 60,000 from 2006, according to a Bee review of new census data. Historically, low-level jobs in those sectors have gone to workers without a degree.

The trend has a ripple effect: It's hard for someone with only a high school diploma to compete for a job as a secretary or customer service rep when other applicants have a college degree.

The census data, released earlier this month, covers 2011, and so far during 2012, the job market has improved, though unemployment and underemployment remains much higher today than during 2006.

This chart shows the six most common menial jobs taken by college graduates in California last year.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau Public Use Microdata Sample
Note: Excludes graduate students still enrolled in school while working.

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