1 in 2 new grads un- or under-employed

College graduates in the class of 2012 have a tough road ahead.

While the state and national unemployment rates have fallen slightly in the past few months, job experts say graduates are meeting more competition and lower wages.

A study released by the AP Monday shows a weak labor market has already left half of young college graduates either jobless or under-employed in positions that don't fully use their skills and knowledge.

That's one out of every two.

At Coastal Carolina University, students say that doesn't worry them, they just want to find a career they're happy with.

Monday afternoon, communications major Alicia Robinson was at the college career office working on her resume. A few months away from graduation, the college senior hopes her career choice is the right one.

"You spend so much time in school, you put so much money into it, and if you have student loans, that's the worst if you cannot find a job," she said.

About 1.5 million, or 53.6 percent, of bachelor's degree-holders under the age of 25 last year were jobless or under-employed, the highest share in at least 11 years.

There's strong demand in science, education and health fields, but arts and humanities degrees median wages for are down from 2000.

"It's a competitive job market. You have people who have not only completed their undergrad, but completed their masters because they couldn't find a job two years ago,"Aileen Soisson, Coordinator of Employer Relations says.

Soisson works everyday with employers trying to match their openings with CCU students.

"We're telling them to start early as a freshman, start looking between your freshman/sophomore year."

She adds in the past week she's received three openings for accounting majors. And for certain degrees in more competitive fields, like marketing, it's all about branding yourself.

"A resume of old, won't work. You need the "QR" code that leads to your website, if you really want to be competitive. That was something that wasn't even in existence five years ago."

Soisson adds that if someone is out of work, the best way to keep after that job is keeping in touch with contacts in the industry you want to be in. Experts say it takes about six to nine months of searching to land that job.

The AP contributed to this report.