College seniors across the country are preparing to walk across the stage and accept their degrees. What is waiting on the other side of the stage is a bit scary – one of the toughest job markets in decades. With tens of millions of Americans out of work and the official unemployment rate sitting at 9.0 percent, even a college degree won’t guarantee that grads land a job in their field of study. is focusing on employment issues this week as part of the America’s Job Hunt feature. Today’s top story, Generation: Lost, chronicles the struggles that several recent college grads are facing in the job market.

First on the list is Brittney Winters, a 2009 Princeton graduate with a double major in French and Spanish. She didn’t find that teaching job she sought and instead has spent time working as a waitress or as a video store clerk to help pay the bills. Other recent grads have decided against fighting through this tight job market by moving out of the country or starting their own small business.

While the job market is tight for college grads, it is even worse for high school graduates. Not every graduating high school senior heads off to college or a trade school; many choose to enter the job market right out of school. In April 2011, the unemployment rate for teens in this country was 24.9 percent.

The tough employment market continues for high school grads once they enter their early 20s. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the unemployment rate for high school grads under the age of 25 who aren’t enrolled in college was 22.5 percent in 2010, up from 12.0 percent in 2007.

If you’re celebrating with a new graduate this year, wish him congratulations but add a side of good luck to your greeting.

Congrats grads: Good luck with your job search
Graduating seniors are facing one of the toughest job markets in decades.