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Which U.S. College Major is the Worst for Finding a Job?

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See this visualization first on the Voronoi app.


A bar chart, ranking the U.S. majors with the highest unemployment rate for recent college graduates.

Which U.S. College Major is the Worst for Finding a Job?

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on Apple or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Finding a job can often be a Sisyphean task in this rapidly changing modern economy. Highly sought after skills come and go, following the greater tides of technology change, marketplace behavior, and shifting consumer patterns.

After all, take a look at what’s happening in the tech world.

Education plays an important role in this job hunting business of course. And some skill sets are losing their sheen, with their practitioners having a harder time than others in securing gainful employment.

But which ones are the worst right now?

We visualize the top 10 U.S. college majors, ranked by their unemployment rate, including their underemployment rate for additional context. These figures are of recent college graduates (those aged 22–27 with a bachelor’s degree or higher) and are sourced from the New York Federal Reserve, current up to February 2024.

ℹ️ Underemployment is when workers are working less than full-time or in insufficient jobs for their training.

Ranked: U.S. Majors with the Highest Unemployment Rates

Heading the first three spots on this list are all the majors with “art” in their name.

Nearly 8% of recent Art History, Liberal Arts, and Fine Arts graduates are unemployed, with more than 50% of them underemployed.

RankU.S. MajorUnemployment
Rate
Underemployment
Rate
1🎨 Art History8.0%62.3%
2📘 Liberal Arts7.9%56.7%
3🖌️ Fine Arts7.9%55.5%
4🚀 Aerospace Engineering7.8%17.9%
5📜 History7.5%53.5%
6📚 English Language6.6%48.4%
7📺 Mass Media6.3%47.7%
8🔬 Physics6.2%31.2%
9🎨 Commercial Art
& Graphic Design
6.0%33.7%
10👥 Sociology5.5%49.6%
N/A📉 Average Rate3.5%40.3%

At fourth place, 7.8% of recent Aerospace Engineering majors have not found a job—a surprising statistic since engineering is regarded as one of the more stable majors to study.

In fact from same data source, Industrial and Mechanical engineers have some of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.

However, aerospace engineering jobs tend to be clustered around the big companies in an otherwise small industry, with additional requirements for security clearances. Tellingly, the underemployment rate for aerospace engineering graduates is less than 20%, which is the best out of this list.

At fifth, sixth, and seventh place are History (7.5%), English (6.6%), and Mass Media (6.3%) of which the former two have also seen a rapid decline in undergraduates in the last decade.

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