What are the forces moving the Minnesota economy? Adam Belz tries to identify the trends and show the connections between Minnesota and the larger U.S. and global economies. You can connect with him on Twitter: @adambelz

The best (and worst) bachelor's degrees for getting a job in Minnesota

Posted by: Adam Belz under Business trends, Economics Updated: May 29, 2014 - 1:55 PM

It’s official: Theology and religion majors are among the least likely new college graduates to get a job in Minnesota.

Only 14 percent of those who earned a bachelor’s degree in 2011 in theology and religion had a full-time, year-round job in Minnesota in their second year after graduation, and the median annual wage for those newly-minted graduates was $16,851, according to a new data tool rolled out this week by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

The data highlights just how tough the job market is for new college graduates. Of nearly 30,000 people who graduated from a Minnesota college in 2011, nearly 70 percent did not have a full-time, year-round job during their second year after graduation.

The good news is there are courses of study that lead to better job prospects. Half of engineering majors had a full-time job in their second year after graduation, and their median annual wage was $53,488.

Graduates with computer science degrees had a job a year after graduating 56 percent of the time, and their median annual wage was $51,141.

Business and personal culinary services degrees also tended to pay off.

But for the majority of graduates, finding a full-time job by the second year after they got a diploma has been difficult.

The tool, part of a collaborative effort with the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, was developed using data involving students who graduated from post-secondary programs in Minnesota between July 2009 and June 2011. Those students were then tracked (using Minnesota unemployment insurance records) to find out how many were working and how much they were making in the first and second years after graduation.

“The Graduate Employment Outcomes tool will give students a clearer picture of the Minnesota labor market and what fields of study offer favorable career opportunities,” said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. “At the same time, planners can use the tool to develop training and educational programs that fit employer needs.”

Larry Pogemiller, commissioner of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, called the tool a “groundbreaking effort by state agencies” that gives students “a much clearer picture of where the jobs are, and what fields of study provide the best earning potential.”

Users of the tool can look at employment and wages for people with associate’s degrees, graduate degrees and certain types of certificates.

I used it to look at bachelor’s degrees. Here’s what I came up with:

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