To the graduating class of 2012: All that money you or your parents have spent or borrowed to pay your tuition for the past few years? It’s not getting the same return on investment it did a decade ago.
According to the folks at the Economic Policy Institute, the average inflation-adjusted wage for male college graduates aged 23 to 29 was $21.68/hour. That’s an 11% over decline over the last ten years. And while wages for females in the same age and education group are only down 7.6% during that same time period, women still make significantly less on average ($18.80/hour).
As for those people who choose to go straight from high school into the workforce, the average wage for males aged 19-25 dropped 10% to $11.68/hour. Females in this age and education group saw a similar drop of 9.2% to $9.92/hour.
Overall, average hourly wages have increased over the last decade, but that stat could be misleading, as a large number of low-income workers are now out of a job and thus not figured into the average wage.
And, points out the Wall Street Journal, while employers tend to not cut pay of long-time employees, they make up for the lack of pay cuts by offering less cash to new hires.