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Us - Pay Penalty Haunts Recession Grads As U.s. Economy Mends

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Nickole Gambrill is still paying the price for graduating college at the wrong time.

She and other students who earned diplomas in the aftermath of the deepest U.S. recession since the 1930s are experiencing an earnings hangover that could last a lifetime, even as the labor market heals.

Gambrill accepted the first paralegal job she could get after finishing classes at Towson University in Maryland in December 2010, when the unemployment rate was 9.4 percent.

“I’ve been here for three years, but I still consider myself entry-level,” said the 27-year-old from Baltimore, who makes about $44,000 annually. “Your raises and income are based off of your original salary. If it were a better economy, I would have started off at a higher salary.”

Students entering the job market in 2010 and 2011 took a 19 percent pay cut from what they could have expected without a recession, according to economists at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut -- about double the penalty in prior downturns.

No equal pay for equal work in the US then?

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