A Bloomberg story this morning reports on the rising number of business degrees being issued during this economic slump:
The number of American college graduates holding business degrees jumped 6.2 percent from the end of the recession in 2009 to last year.
More than 12 million Americans, or one in five college graduates, have a business degree, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Four times as many adults hold business degrees as liberal arts and history majors among the nation’s almost 59 million people who have undergraduate degrees.
“Business is a safe harbor,” Kevin Burns, director of career services at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business, said in a telephone interview. “So a lot of people were getting on the biggest boat they could in turbulent times.”
And the payoff for holding a business degree was highlighted:
The Census Bureau also said yesterday the average American with an undergraduate business degree will earn $2.6 million over a lifetime, about $200,000 more than the average for all people with a bachelor’s degree.
Yet, wouldn’t the very fact that with universities generating large numbers of business-degree holders suggest this lifetime advantage will eventually drop? Considering that the Census Bureau’s numbers are based on averages, there is probably a skew already built in to that $200,000 number: A few extremely high wage earners at the top are pulling up the averages. Take out the top 5% of those high-income earners and the advantage may disappear. Continue reading