Although the economy certainly has declined in a lot of white collar fields, I still see meteorology as extremely competitive and in general offering jobs where the total compensation does not keep up with inflation. There are some great meteorology jobs out there, but from my experience they are very few and far between. More so than other professional and science based fields.
I did a bit of freelance and part-time work in the field after getting my degree, but my mind was made up in my junior year I wanted to be involved in a career that wasn't so competitive and where the fruits of my labor weren't so "under appreciated" (not the right words, but the best I can come up with at 9:30 at night after a Browns loss and two Christmas Ale's).
Meteorology is a lot of fun and I really enjoy it, but mainly as a hobby. I'm glad I had the foresight to think about other careers because I don't think I'd be content as a full-time meteorologist. Most people have significant life changes in the first 10 years after college, like moving, family, marriage, kids, mortgage, etc. The fact is if you appreciate family life (living close to relatives) and having a decent middle class lifestyle doing it through meteorology is going to be very challenging. If you don't love it and breath it, and if you can't imagine living it, loving it and breathing it when you are 35 then start looking in other directions.
I was talking to a friend who also graduated with a degree in meteorology about 10 years ago as well. He worked for the NWS and eventually left because he hated the shift work, and now like most meteorologists is doing something totally different, but as he was getting his M.S. he realized meteorology wasn't as important as it was when he was 19. Anyway, I think we both regret getting our degrees in meteorology. It's always great to have something to fall back on, and personally I don't think meteorology is a good degree to fall back on.
It's a great hobby though.
There is no right or wrong answer. Everyone has their own needs and wants, and obviously some will succeed and flourish in the field and never look back. For most graduates in meteorology though, well, they will fail. I wish colleges would do a better job at giving realistic career prospects to potential meteorology majors, but I'm guessing their first agenda is making $$$. I also hope meteorology majors have enough foresight to think what will be important in their lives 10, 20 and 30 years from now.