Le said there also is a "glass-ceiling effect" in the math, science and technology fields. "In a lot of cases, STEM jobs have fewer promotion ladders than other positions" in areas like finance or advertising, he said.
Black college grads faced a similar unemployment rate of almost 12 percent, while 8.5 percent of Hispanic grads were out of work, according to the survey. The Education Department doesn't surmise why that might be, although one liberal-leaning research group says racism still plagues minority graduates.
"The Great Recession has been hard on all recent college graduates, but it has been even harder on black recent graduates," concluded the Center for Economic and Policy Research in a study it released last May.
Among other findings in the report:
—The average unemployment rate among the graduates was 6.7 percent, compared with the 8.1 percent national unemployment rate at the time of the survey. Unemployment rates were very low for students who studied computer and information sciences or engineering, but jump for those with degrees in social sciences or general humanities.
—Most graduates avoided marriage and kids in the four years after obtaining a degree. Only 19.6 percent reported having both.
—The average salary of students graduating from for-profit four-year institutions was slightly higher than their nonprofit counterparts: $62,900 compared with $50,700 for public school grads and $53,700 for private school grads. But the unemployment rate among for-profit schools was higher at 12 percent, compared with the 6.2 percent graduating from public schools.
These disparities could be attributed to the types of students who attend for-profit schools. Often highly specialized, for-profit schools often attract students who already have work experience but lost a job or want to earn more money.