Ryan Avent, at Free Exchange:
It is remarkable to me how readily old, successful professionals dismiss the labour-market difficulties of young adults as the product of their poorly-chosen majors and general lack of ambition, and on what flimsy evidence they're prepared to base these views. There are now 3.3m unemployed workers between the ages of 25 and 34. That's more than twice the level in 2007. There are over 2m unemployed college graduates of all ages; nearly three times the level of 2007. There are many millions more that are underemployed—unwillingly working less than full-time or unwillingly working in a job outside their field which pays less than jobs in their field. As far as I know, the distribution of college majors didn't swing dramatically from quantitative fields to art history over the past half decade.Avent is correct that this recession has driven up unemployment among college graduates, but their rates of unemployment remain roughly half the national average, better than half the average of those with just high school degrees, and better than one-third of the average of those without a high school degree. (Those with postgraduate degrees are in even better shape.) Those with freshly-minted bachelor's degrees but little experience and few professional connections aren't doing as well those with many years in the professional world, as one would expect, but it still seems clear that having an advanced degree greatly enhances your ability to remain employed.
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal provides us with a handy interactive graphic examining unemployment rates by major according to the 2010 Census. Coming in toward the top of the list and ahead of "art history and criticism" are the sorts of degrees you'd expect, like those falling into "miscellaneous fine arts", but also "computer administration management and security", "engineering and industrial management", "international business", "electrical and mechanic repairs and technologies", "materials engineering and materials science", "genetics", "neuroscience", "biochemical sciences", and "computer engineering". I bet those graduates are all trying to break into puppetry!
I agree that the WSJ's graphic is handy, but I see different things in it than Avent does. Here are the top professions by median wages (click for larger):