16 Degrees With Suspiciously High Unemployment Rates in the US

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate was 3.8% in March 2024. Some sectors, such as healthcare, construction, and government, have created new jobs. However, around 6.4 million remain unemployed in the US as of March 2024.

On top of it, the BLS also states that the unemployment rate among candidates with a Bachelor’s degree or higher educational qualification was 2.1% in March 2024. All these numbers create curiosity about the unemployment rates of US college graduates based on their major. Let us find out the top 16 degrees with the highest unemployment rates in the US.

Fine Arts

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The unemployment rate for college graduates with a fine arts major in the US is 12.1%. On top of it, the underemployment rate for candidates with a degree in fine arts is 55.4%. Candidates with fine arts majors can pursue various career opportunities in graphic or web designing, interior design, and fashion design. However, just a degree in fine arts won’t be enough.


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Graduates with a major in sociology are likely to deal with an unemployment rate of 9% and an underemployment rate of 51.3%.

Sociology majors might face unemployment or underemployment due to a mismatch between their skills and job market demand, compounded by limited specialized career paths within the field. For instance, a sociology major might struggle to find employment directly related to their degree, such as working in social research or policy analysis, due to limited job openings and competition from other majors with more specialized skill sets. Instead, they may end up in jobs outside their field, like customer service or administration, which do not fully utilize their sociological training and expertise, resulting in underemployment.


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Another notable college major with the highest unemployment rate in the US is philosophy. The unemployment rate for candidates with a philosophy major is 9.1%. Career opportunities for philosophy majors include roles such as university professors, financial analysts, lawyers, and paralegals. However, most of these require more than a bachelor’s degree to earn well.

Mass Media

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Employment in mass media and entertainment might seem like a piece of cake from the outside. However, the unemployment rate for candidates majoring in mass media is around 8.4%. Because of this, many mass media graduates now seek jobs in different fields, such as acting, writing, and editing.

Performing Arts

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Graduates with performing arts majors can find different creative career paths after graduation. Alarmingly, the unemployment rate for performing arts majors is 7.6%. While some core jobs include community arts worker and music therapist, most majors shift towards other opportunities to make money.

Family and Consumer Sciences

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As a family and consumer sciences graduate, you have the skills to craft practical solutions to problems with consumer economics, nutrition, and family relations. However, the unemployment rate for family and consumer sciences graduates is 8.9%.

Foreign Language

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Graduates with foreign language majors are likely to find government and international relations jobs. However, the unemployment rate for foreign language majors is almost 7.8%. There aren’t many jobs available, and the demand is restricted to certain languages used for business dealings.

Engineering Technologies

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The unemployment rate for graduates with engineering majors is 7.1%. However, the job opportunities for engineering majors are expanding exponentially. A bachelor’s degree won’t suffice and you will need to learn and update yourself with new technologies constantly.

International Affairs

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The unemployment rate for graduates majoring in international affairs is 7.1%, while the underemployment rate is around 49.3%. International affairs majors can find jobs as Foreign Service officers, international marketing specialists, or political analysts, which are not widely available.

Political Science

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Political science has been described as one of the most versatile US college majors for job opportunities. Yet, the unemployment rate for political science majors is almost 6.9%.

Aerospace Engineering

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Another less-known US college major with a higher unemployment rate is aerospace engineering, which has a rate of 6.6%. Many lucrative job opportunities remain unfulfilled due to a lack of talent. Popular career paths in aerospace engineering include aerospace technician, aircraft designer, or military aerospace engineer.

Public Policy and Law

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The unemployment rate among graduates with majors in public policy and law is currently at 7.4%. However, despite this statistic, there are various career opportunities available for individuals with this academic background. For example, they can pursue roles such as community relations managers or government relations managers. That said, most unemployment happens due to a competitive job market, limited specialized career options, and the need for additional skills beyond academic qualifications to secure relevant positions in policy-making or legal fields.


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Journalism graduates in the US also struggle to find a job, with the unemployment rate at 6.5%. Candidates majoring in journalism can explore jobs in newspapers, magazines, websites, and TV channels in different roles.

Journalism majors may struggle with unemployment or underemployment due to declining job opportunities in traditional media, the rise of freelance and digital platforms, and the need for diverse skill sets beyond traditional reporting to adapt to evolving media landscapes


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Anthropology is another major for US graduates with a higher risk of unemployment. The unemployment rate for anthropology majors is 6.5%. At the same time, the underemployment rate in anthropology is 53.3%. Anthropology graduates can build their career with expertise in different fields, such as in the case of public service roles.

Anthropology majors may face unemployment or underemployment due to limited job prospects in their field and the need for additional specialized skills. They can explore careers in cultural resource management, market research, or social services for broader opportunities.

English Language

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English language graduates also have another area with the highest unemployment rate at 6.3%. The English language is an essential skill for many jobs at the local and international levels. As an English language graduate, you can seek jobs in education, writing, fine arts, medicine, journalism, or law. However, just a majors is not enough to grab a job that pays well.

Medical Technicians

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The unemployment rate for medical technician majors is almost 5.8%, and the underemployment rate surpasses 59%. Medical technician majors might experience unemployment or underemployment due to oversaturation in the job market and the need for specialized certifications. They could consider roles in healthcare administration, medical research, or pharmaceutical sales for diverse career options.

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