Recent college grads watch starting salaries tumble

Given the hard time experienced workers are having finding jobs (much less securing raises), it comes as no surprise that recent college graduates are experiencing their own problems.

A new survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that those who graduated with bachelor's degrees in 2009 received an average starting salary of $48,633 -- down 1.2% from last year. Survey respondents also reported that the number of job offers fell by 20%.

According (subscription required) to The Wall Street Journal, "A preview of 2010 shows next year's graduates may face similar hardships. Employers expect to cut college-graduate hiring by 7%, a separate survey of 219 NACE employer members showed."These numbers are all bad, but not really any different from what you might expect given that we're in a recession. But it's when you combine it with this data point from the US Department of Education that it gets terrifying: Federal student loan volume grew 25% year over year during the 2008-2009 school year.

So people are borrowing more money to earn less working at fewer jobs. There is no possible way that that can end well. It's hard to see that leading anywhere other than an increase in student loan defaults -- and those default rates are already soaring.
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