“Congratulations and sorry about that.’’

That’s the message to college graduates all in the same breath from the The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) in Washington, D.C.

The Institute found the wages of young graduates "fared poorly during the Great Recession and its aftermath."

Wages sunk 4.6 percent between 2007 and 2011, with wages for men falling 5.1 percent and wages for women falling 4.1 percent. Job winning graduates in 2011 earned about $16.81 an hour or $35,000-a-year.

While the recession played a major role in the decline, that's not the whole story.

EPI researchers found a "period of general wage stagnation" between 2000–2007. Combine that stretch with the recession and the lackluster recovery that followed, and you face more sobering stats.

"Between 2000 and 2011, the wages of young college graduates dropped 5.4 percent (1.6 percent for men and 8.5 percent for women)," the report said.

The economists also found the post-2000 wage drop stood in sharp contrast to the big wage gains of 1995 to 2000, when there was low unemployment.

During that stretch, wages for freshly minted college grads jumped 19.1 percent (18.7 percent for men and 19.5 percent for women). Makes one long for the good old days.

University career centers across the state of Minnesota report an uptick in hiring interest from corporate recruiters. More graduates are getting jobs or internships than in previous years. But many of the lucky grads come from a pool of select majors, such as engineering, economics, marketing, and IT.

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