Are you going to college? Are you paying for someone to go to college? Then you might want to study this graph closely:


This one, too:


That’s data from Northeastern University’s Andrew Sum, by way of Catherine Rampell at the New York Times. The major takeaway, I think, is fairly depressing: About a quarter of college graduates don’t have jobs, and an additional 22 percent don’t have jobs that use their degree. And the jobs that don’t require a degree pay about $11,000 less, on average, than the jobs that do require a degree.

Across majors, the implication is clear: If you’re going to college to get a job after college, you’re better off in a major that lends itself to an obvious job after college. Engineering, say, or teaching. A humanities or communications degree turns out to be a much tougher sell. That doesn’t account, of course, for the joy and pleasure of learning about the humanities or communication, but if my college experience was any indication, a lot of the kids in those majors weren’t particularly devoted to the disciplines and were just trying to get a generic college degree so they could get a good job afterward. And those kids, it seems, were getting a rawer deal than they realized.