Religion and Recession

A recent piece in the New York Times highlighted statistics that suggest majors in religion and philosophy will make significantly less their first year after graduation if it is during a recession. Here is the chart from the article:

While in a sense this is not surprising, it is also worth highlighting that university graduates still earn more as a result of their education, even if their earnings are below the average for graduates in their field, if they graduate during a recession. Moreover, because of the focus on the first year after graduation, it needs to be mentioned that many who graduate in religion or philosophy go on to graduate school. Philosophy is a particularly popular major for those pursuing law, and lawyers earn well in the long term, but not typically within the first year of finishing their undergrad degree, whatever it happens to be in.

I would like to think that having graduated with a degree in any area would help people navigate and accurately interpret data of the sort that is reflected in the chart above. But I suspect that that may be too optimistic on my part…