Andrew Sum, an econ­o­mist at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity, is the lead author of a Brook­ings Insti­tu­tion paper pub­lished in March, “The Plum­meting Labor Market For­tunes of Teens and Young Adults.” In an email, Sum wrote that “prob­lems of mal-​​employment among young col­lege grads had increased since 2000, leaving more of them in jobs that do not require col­lege degrees and they earn much less rel­a­tive to their peers in col­lege edu­cated jobs when they do so. Mal-​​employment involves working in jobs that do not require a four-​​year degree or higher level cog­ni­tive skills.” It’s not just baristas, either: many col­lege grad­u­ates are working in stores like Target or Whole Foods.

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