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Class of 2022 Employment Rates Return to Pre-Pandemic Levels

Employment rates for Class of 2022 graduates returned to pre-pandemic levels after two relatively down years, according to results of a new survey.

Shawn VanDerzielShawn VanDerzielThe National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) First-Destination Survey for the Class of 2022 revealed that the overall employment rate for Class of 2022 bachelor’s degree graduates was 64.0% with a full-time employment rate of 59.1%.

The survey found Class of 2022 employment rates nearly match those for the pre-pandemic Class of 2019, at 64.6% overall and 59.7% full time. Employment rates for the Class of 2020 were 58.6% overall and 53.6% full time, while rates for the Class of 2021 rose to 60.2% overall and 55.3% full time.

NACE President and CEO Shawn VanDerziel said that the overall outcomes rate for Class of 2022 bachelor’s degree graduates returned to 86%, the same mark as that for the Class of 2019.

“Driving the upswing for the Class of 2022 was an exceptionally strong labor market, characterized by record low levels of unemployment,” said VanDerziel.

The class experienced an increase in average starting salary, which climbed to $61,869, up from $58,862 for the Class of 2021, according to the survey. A quarter of bachelor’s degree graduates who attained full-time employment were granted a bonus, averaging $9,966 on top of their base salary. VanDerziel speculated employers likely used bonuses to counter inflation, which was about 6.5% at the time.

Positive workforce numbers have persisted into 2023, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bureau reported the unemployment rate continues to decline, sliding to 3.7 percent in November with job gains in health care, government, and manufacturing.

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