The press often features anecdotes about people with college degrees who are working in jobs with much lower educational requirements. These anecdotes often are used to illustrate the hard times that have befallen college graduates since the Great Recession. I thought it would be interesting to look at labor market statistics and see whether or not these anecdotes indicate an actual trend.
For my analysis, I consulted the figures that the Department of Labor reports for the educational attainment of incumbents in various occupations. These figures are ultimately derived from the Current Population Survey and represent both part-time and full-time workers. I compared the figures reported for 2008 and 2012 to get an idea of the impact of the recession.
I found that for all workers in all occupations, the number of incumbents who had…