Money Minute: College Grads' Debt Up as Job Market Improves


The job prospects for this year's college grads have improved slightly, but they're starting their careers with more debt than any other class.

Thirty-three thousand dollars. That's the amount owed by the average new graduate who needed loans to pay for school. Edvisors says that's the highest debt load of any class ever, even after adjusting for inflation. In addition, more students than ever -- more than 70 percent -- are leaving college with loan debt. And the prospect for next year's grads isn't any better. They're expected to have even more debt.

As expected, AT&T (T) has agreed to pay nearly $49 billion to buy DirecTV (DTV), the nation's leading satellite-TV provider. It's the second gigantic media deal this year, coming just a few months after Comcast (CMCSA) agreed to buy Time Warner Cable (TWC) for $45 billion. The hope of these Goliaths is that their size will give them more power to negotiate with content providers, and to dominate the consumer market for Internet, telecommunications and pay TV.

Meanwhile, Pfizer (PFE) once again raised its bid to buy rival drug maker AstraZeneca (AZN), and the British company quickly rejected the sweetened offer, which was valued at about $118 billion. The proposed deal has also sparked a political debate in the U.S. because Pfizer would move its headquarters to Great Britain to avoid paying higher U.S. corporate taxes. Pfizer said its latest offer is it's final one. We'll see.

The numbers here on Wall Street were mixed last week. The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) lost 0.6 percent, the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) gained half a percent, and the the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) was virtually flat.

Finally, Facebook (FB) is developing its own video chat app. According the Financial Times, the app is designed to compete with Snapchat, which Facebook tried and failed to acquire. Snapchat is popular among teenagers, an increasingly tough market for Facebook to draw many 'likes' from. CEO Mark Zuckerberg is said to be directly overseeing the project to create a short video messaging service.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

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The job market is terrible for all ages, especially those over 50. No one wants to hire workers who are over the age of 50. Doesn't matter how much experience you have or if you have a degree. Age discrimination is alive and well in 2014. No, the Great Recession hasn't ended either!

May 19 2014 at 2:35 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to RMS's comment

There are exceptions. Only a few years ago, at 56 , I was approached by a headhunter (completely unsolicited) resulting in a new job that I absolutely loved. Close to home, beautiful, traffic free drive to work, $55,000 a year plus bonus, and full bene's. I even won a very nice trip by winning an "in-house" contest. I am not a doctor, tech-y, or possessed of highly specialized high-demand skills, just another "old lady" with a college degree and a lifetime of hardwork and skillset building.

May 22 2014 at 8:44 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

You haven't seen the worse yet what goes around comes around. The shortage of jobs is incredible. The globle population is after the same jobs these US grads went to school for, Fields. Each time the M&A makes Wall St rich it comes at the pain of workers who lose their job and people who would of found a job. Many of the jobs will go offshore where companies save on taxes.

May 19 2014 at 1:35 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

College and Trade school graduates have lining up for jobsin there field or any job for many years now as the economy sinks due to trade deals and inported workers with visas.

Technology and high taxes has been driving jobs off shore and encouraging companies to import workers on visas.

The graduates are leaving school with degrees only to find the line of job seekers is long and competing with people from other countries aided by foreign consultant firms placing their visa staff ahead of US citizens. Good luck it's worse than the BLS or the politicians want you to know.

May 19 2014 at 1:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Iselin007's comment

This is precisely why I call BS on people who say our immigration system is 'broken' and we need 'reform' (a euphemism for amnesty). We don't need any more competition, from menial labor right up to highly-skilled positions. Multinational companies are watering down the labor pool here in the US to the point that even highly-skilled workers either can't find work or are forced to compete with a sea of applicants on work visas.

It's time politicians started working for us and started pushing people here to steal food from our tables back out.

May 19 2014 at 6:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

a student loan is a privledge . not a right. deal with it responsibly or not at all.

May 19 2014 at 1:21 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

I you are not smart enought to know how much you owe and how much you can pay back. You should not get a degree.

May 19 2014 at 12:16 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

One of the best kept secrets of college is the transferability of credits from a local communty college to your last two years in a four year facility. Depending on your intended major, you can tailor your two year program to the requirements of the four year school. Colleges generally have spots for juniors open. Some schools are obviously trickier than others.

Another secret is if you are a scientist type, don't overlook pharmacy. It's a five year program and you are a dead lock for a job upon graduation--or even before.

May 19 2014 at 10:22 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to bdgrizcp's comment

Yep! No need to go to a big-name school right away. Go to a community college, get your compulsories out of the way and move to a bigger school for the last 2 years. That can save you alot of moolah.

May 19 2014 at 10:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to jj2301's comment

It can save you a lot of moolah but credits from community colleges do not always transfer to the universities that you may want to go to continue your education dear. You need to be aware of that too doll.

May 19 2014 at 3:01 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down

@mrsperlosi: Pretty simple: Ask if the school is accredited. The credits transfer if it is.

May 19 2014 at 6:17 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down

@ bdgrizcp -- Dream on. NOTHING in the jobs field is "locked in" for sure, upon college graduation, any more. Simply stated, there are already too many people job hunting in all the health care fields, including EXPERIENCED pharmacists with college degrees.

Think about it. Just how many current opportunities for employment, as a pharmacist, do you think there are in the average city??? Very few. And employers want both a college degree AND recent experience. Don't have that experience??? Then, your resume/application gets dumped into the round file.

Not only are there too many people job hunting, recent college students have one of the highest rates for unemployment. Many college grads end up going home to live with their parents, after they discover that their freshly-printed college degree is not a magic passport to good-paying employment.

It's rough, out there. A college degree, of any type, is NO guarantee of obtaining a job. It is, however, a great way to acquire a mountain of debt that will drag you down for many years. It's also worth remembering that you can't get rid of college debt by declaring bankruptcy. You are stuck with college debt like an anchor around your neck.

In comparison with this, trade schools look like a better choice. At least, you won't end up with 50 grand of college debt if you opt for a trade school.

May 19 2014 at 12:07 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Valerie's comment

This country keeps allowing the importing of foreign nationals to fill jobs. The foreign firms make money by placing non immigrant workers on visas in positions the college grads and other US citizens are seeking. Many of the jobs are filled by backroom deals between the consultant firms and companies thus making the job openings prefilled before the US citizens even apply.

May 19 2014 at 1:48 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down
Leroy Gd

The job market is terrible, with part time jobs without benefits the only hope for most people, who are "lucky" enough to land a job.
Why must excrement spreaders of lies like huff puff/aol alway cover for "their guy" obama and his falied socialist agenda? Do they think we all are fooled by these lies?

May 19 2014 at 10:17 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Not all kids should go to college. We need mechanics, garbage men, people in construction, etc.

Many of the kids take courses in degrees that don't prepare them for any kind of job. They take out loan after loan and stay in school for years. If they can't get a job they can't pay the loan back. Simple as that. I am sure there is a position open for an English Lit graduate somewhere. But few and far between.

May 19 2014 at 10:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to petpetdon's comment

We'll need to get serious about illegal immigration if we want American trades jobs back. Illegal aliens are happily working in those jobs and making bank while our semi-skilled have been pushed out and onto the dole.

May 19 2014 at 10:30 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

just makes me sick! my student loan debt is $51,000 and that's only having my Associates degree. I want to pursue my Bachelor's but cannot afford to do so.

May 19 2014 at 9:38 AM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cswemail's comment

YOU shouldn't even be in college if it cost you $25,500 a year. You should have gone to a community college for your first two years and would have saved $40 grand. This just proves people like you should be garbage men.

May 19 2014 at 10:16 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to petpetdon's comment

People like you??? Who do you think you are dear?

May 19 2014 at 2:56 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down