Occupational Status in 2003 of Blacks and Whites Who Graduated From College a Decade Earlier

Last week JBHE reported the outcome of a new Department of Education study that examines the further educational progress of blacks and whites who completed their bachelor’s degree in the 1992-93 academic year. The study showed that for blacks, 45.5 percent of all college graduates had enrolled in an advanced degree program over the ensuing decade. For whites, the figure was 39.4 percent.

Now, using data from the same study, we report on the occupational status in 2003 of blacks and whites who graduated with a four-year degree in the 1992-93 academic year.

The survey found that 10 years after completing their bachelor’s degrees, blacks were more likely to be employed than whites. Some 90 percent of all black bachelor’s degree holders were employed in 2003 compared to 87 percent of whites. Although about 69 percent of both black and white college graduates held full-time jobs, whites were more likely than blacks to hold a part-time job. But blacks were more likely than whites to hold two or more jobs.

Following historical patterns, blacks who earned a college degree in 1992-93 were nearly twice as likely as their white peers to be unemployed. The unemployment rate for black college graduates was 6.6 percent. For white college graduates, the rate was 3.5 percent.

Nearly 10 percent of whites with a bachelor’s degree were not in the labor force. This means that they were not working or looking for work. For blacks, only 3.4 percent of all 1992-93 college graduates were not in the labor force. Many of those not in the labor force are undoubtedly “stay-at-home moms.” A large number of women in the 1992-93 college graduating class are now in their prime child-bearing years and white women are more likely than black women to be able to afford to stop working in order to care for children.