Document Type


First Faculty Advisor

Enos, Sandra

Second Faculty Advisor

Perullo, Alex


Graduates; labor; market;employment; opportunities; Economic; Conditions; Prospects; recession;


Bryant University


Many authors have researched and identified trends in employment during good and bad economic times. The recent financial meltdown warrants a reexamination of these trends to see if they coincide with previous recessions and what lessons can be learned for those graduating and attempting to find employment. This report details the varying circumstances surrounding college graduates as they seek employment during times of both economic prosperity (or booms) and less fortunate times of economic busts (recessions). This is important since these trends may identity both potential roadblocks and benefits for gainful employment and future opportunities. Graduation is also a crucial time in a young adult’s life as they finish school and enter the workforce. The hypothesis put forth in this paper suggests that graduating during these different times does have an impact on a graduate’s life and can pose a threat to future opportunities should they graduate during a somewhat dismal economic time. Data was collected from 1971, 1982, 1996, and 2002 and considers the economic landscape at the time of graduation for students in each of these years. Surveys were sent out to Bryant University alumni and the data collected was used to examine whether the statement holds true. 274 alumni responded within the allotted time and the data was analyzed. Data from the respondents shows that while the economic climate played a role in graduates attaining jobs, many have stated other reasons underlying their employment prospects. The research has shown trends in employment for students that do indicate better conditions and prospects for those graduating during better economic times, however, alumni see the clear disadvantage when graduating during recessions and attempting to find gainful employment. While the data collected is only representative of Bryant alum, an extensive literature review helped to identify opportunities sought by other college graduates. This included factors such as wage earnings, projection of job opportunities, career paths and their potential job limitations, and others.