Granted, the numbers of humanities jobs in academia declined during the recent recession, but according to Chase Robinson's essay in Inside Higher Education, employment prospects for humanities Ph.D.s have begun to recover. In fact, Robinson argues, "the longstanding oversupply of Ph.D.s is now being mitigated."
I hope Robinson is right.
Here is a taste of his piece:
Perhaps we should mock students less and apply ourselves more to
understanding the broader structural changes in the economy, including
how these changes affect the academy. Numbers that show flat (or even
slightly improving) job prospects for Ph.D.s in the humanities should
not obscure a number of underlying patterns, the most important of which
are increased "casualization" and job insecurity. One may justifiably
lament that adjunct and full-time, non-tenure-track jobs now constitute
about 70 percent of the academic labor force, and that the path to a
tenure-track position increasingly takes a detour through short-term
employment. But the problems are not unique to higher education, which
is a microcosm of the globalizing workplace. The decline in tenure among
faculty mirrors the loss of lifelong (or at least long-term) employment in other sectors of the labor force.
What makes higher education distinctive is not so much that labor
practices are changing, much less that students have their heads in the
sand. It’s that academic employees — the readers and writers who
constitute a faculty — are such sharp-eyed observers of those practices
and energetic advocates for their profession.