College Graduates Facing Worst Job Market In Years

By Staff

May 29, 2009

College graduates across the country are confronting what experts are calling the toughest job market in years.

ABC News reports that according to a survey from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, this year's graduates are leaving school with fewer jobs than those from the class of 2008. Just 19.7 percent of 2009 graduates who applied for jobs received them. By contrast, 51 percent of 2007 graduates and 26 percent of 2008 graduates had jobs in hand by this time of year.

Economic experts say that the problem has worsened because many of last year's graduates are still seeking full-time work, as are significant numbers of laid off workers. That is why this year's seniors, said Yale University School of Management professor Lisa Kahn, are "suffering from the recession like everyone else is, but the effects are going to stay with (them) for much longer."

Emma Jacobs, a Columbia University graduate with a degree in history, described her grueling job hunt for Youth Radio. "These days," she said, "it's difficult to convince people to take a chance on an entry-level hire. I've landed a handful of interviews, but still no job. . . . I'm scared of having nothing to do after working non-stop for four years. I'm not questioning my abilities, but I have been questioning my choices, knowing students with engineering degrees are still finding jobs. And many of the positions I am equipped to fill are disappearing."

Bryan Hopkins, a senior at the University of Florida, echoed the same feelings of frustration. "In a perfect world," he told ABC News, "I would have walked right off the stage and into a full-time job in my field, but I mean I have the degree now and I am still waiting."

The Kansas City Star [from an article originally located at] reports more grim statistics: This year the unemployment rate for 20- to 24-year-olds exceeded 14 percent for the first time in more than 25 years. Moreover, noted that starting salary offers have decreased 3.1 percent since last year. And not surprisingly, about 25 percent of this year's graduates have enrolled in graduate school.

Career counselors are advising graduates to be flexible and realistic about their job prospects. "If I were a 22-year-old today I would be willing to take an unpaid internship," said Lanna Hagge, director of career services at Trinity College in Connecticut. "I would be willing to do almost anything just to get the experience and exposure."

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