Since the economy took a turn for the worse, more and more young adults are moving back home with their parents after graduating from college, and this could be one reason why: recent grads are making less now than they did a decade ago.

The Economic Policy Institute reports that while average hourly wages have gone up since 2002, those numbers could be skewed due to the large number of low-income workers who are currently out of work and not included in the national average.

The group believes that when wages are adjusted for inflation, male college graduates between 23 and 29 are now earning $21.68 an hour — an 11 percent drop over the last 10 years. The hourly pay for women hasn’t declined as much — 7.6 percent — but since they’re only paid $18.80 an hour, they’re still making less overall.

Kids who skip college and get jobs right after high school graduation are being affected, too. Young men aged 19-25 have seen their earnings fall 10 percent to $11.68 an hour, while young women with the same educational level are now getting $9.92 an hour — a 9.2 percent decrease.

Analysts say these numbers aren’t just the result of a bad economy. Companies trying to increase their profit margins are often reluctant to cut salaries for long-time employees, so they simply offer less money to entry-level workers.

[The Wall Street Journal]

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