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Class of 2015 gets great job market, carries record debt load
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The class of 2015 is graduating into the best job market in a decade, but their diplomas come at a high cost. This year's college grads carry the most student debt on record, at an average of $35,000 apiece. - photo by Lane Anderson
Good news for the class of 2015: It appears to be graduating into the strongest job market in almost a decade.

This years college seniors should have an easier time matching up with full-time work, says Aaron L. Jackson, professor of economics at Bentley University, in Quartz, because college grads since 2000 have struggled through repeat recessions.

The class of 2000 had to deal with the fall out from the burst dot-com bubble, and the class of 2009 had to deal with the brutal residue of the financial-sector melt-down of 2008. Meanwhile, the job prospects for the class of 2015 look strong, wrote Jackson.

The U.S. added 223,000 jobs in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.4 percent, its lowest mark since May 2008.

Job growth is one the rise as baby boomers who have been reluctant to leave the work force are retiring. At the beginning of 2008, labor force participation was 66.2 percent, and has since fallen to 2.7 percent, and economists believe that most of the decline is due to baby boomers permanently leaving their jobs, making room for younger qualified workers, according to Jackson.

At the same time that job prospects are looking up, the U.S. is producing fewer college grads, in part because of slugging job growth and soaring tuition costs. According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, college enrollment dropped by close to half a million (463,000) between 2012 and 2013, and an almost equal number the year before, making a cumulative two-year drop of 930,000. This is larger than any drop before the recession.

This is both a blessing and a curse for 2015 grads, who are better placed for high-paying specialized work than their non-college grad peers. But at the same time, these grads will be saddled with a record amount of student debt.

2015 grads have paid a high price for their diplomas, carrying an average of $35,000 in student debt, the highest amount of any class to date, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Adjusted for inflation, this years class graduates with double the debt of graduates 20 years ago. The Journal also reported that nearly 71 percent of graduates will leave school this spring with loans, compared to 64 percent 10 years ago, and 50 percent 20 years ago. The total debt load of the class of 2015 is $68 billion a staggering sum greater than the GDPs of the Dominican Republic, Afghanistan and Costa Rica.

But looking on the bright side, these students have better prospects of paying down their loans, and making them pay off. At the very least, these millennials should be grateful that they dont have to face the bleak prospects confronted by the class of 2000 and the class of 2009, said Jackson.