Recent graduates see trouble with current economy, jobs
Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 05:05
Some university seniors say they are having a hard time finding jobs after graduation in an increasingly competitive job market. Instead of leaving college unemployed, they have decided to continue with their education.
Senior Josh Humberston said he decided to go to graduate school at the University of New Hampshire in the fall. He said he hopes the additional education he will receive will make him a better candidate for employers in the future.
“I want to continue going to grad school so that I can get a better education and that will better my chances to get a job after I graduate,” Humberston said.
Although he has chosen to defer the job-hunting process for another few years, he said he has heard from friends that the job market is difficult to enter post-graduation.
Saul Hoffman, professor and chair of the Department of Economics, said the national unemployment rate is higher than usual at 8.2 percent, and attributes the rising unemployment of college graduates to the poor economy.
“We’re still feeling the after-effects of that huge financial crisis, compounded by the inability of congress and the president to agree on sound economic policy,” Hoffman said. “The economy has not improved as dramatically as anybody would like. Over the last few years, the unemployment rate remains high.”
According to the Economic News Release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of April 2012, 4.2 percent of college graduates are unemployed.
Hoffman said although college graduates are not entering the same kind of labor market they would have found four years ago, they are still in a much better place than if they didn’t have a college degree. The unemployment rate for those with only a high school education is 7.9 percent as of April 2012.
“In general though, do appreciate that unemployment rates are much higher for high school graduates than college graduates,” he said. “I always think that UD graduates with a lot of skills may take a little longer, but they will find themselves jobs and move into the labor market constructively.”
Instead of graduating this spring, senior Alejandra Gonzalez said she is choosing to stay an extra fall semester in order to take more classes and be better prepared for the workforce.
“The more credits and experience I have, the better chance of finding a job after finishing school,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said she plans to pursue a career in education, which she thinks is one of the hardest fields to enter.
“In my personal experience, unfortunately, teachers, especially secondary and elementary school teachers, are not valued as they should be,” she said.
Gonzalez said she is worried she will not be able to pay off student loans without a job secured after graduation.
“Not being able to find a job right away and having a lot of student loans that I have to pay back is very stressful,” she said.
Economics professor Laurence Seidman said students will benefit in the long-run with a college degree and should not regret going to college because it is an investment in their future.
“Students should not think, ‘Well, then it was a mistake to spend the time and the money to get the higher education,’” Seidman said. “You’re getting the higher education for the next 40 years. You happen to have had the bad luck of when you are coming out of it to have a bad economy that’s still recovering.”
Matthew Brink, Career Services Center director, said he stresses to students the importance of networking with professionals and potential employers before they graduate.
“Stick to a very steady dose of networking,” Brink said. “Get in touch with a very high quality contact who can open doors and can introduce you to other folks and their network that can lead you to opportunities.”
Hoffman said he predicts the unemployment rate will drop within the next few years.
“I don’t think the job market is quite as bleak, especially for college graduates,” he said. “I think UD graduates have a lot of skills. They should expect to be successful.”
Hoffman said when students consider where to apply for jobs, they should be flexible. Moving to another part of the country may bring opportunity, he said.
“It’s not a simple situation where you can expect to sit back and look for a job in one place and expect to be successful quickly,” Hoffman said. “Be persistent and don’t take it personally.”
Gonzalez said she is optimistic despite the stress of finding a job and finding a way to pay back her student loans.
“I feel well-prepared and I have a lot of experience,” Gonzalez said. “It might take a little more work finding a job and getting interviews, but I’m definitely not terrified. You always have to look at the glass half-full.”