Unemployment rate for college graduates highest in nearly 30 years

From College News - New reports show that job market worsens for college students, and loan defaults threaten higher education.

Though the economy received a measure of good news when it was announced last month that unemployment figures crept slightly back down from 10.2 to 10 percent, there was a group of people who weren’t so lucky to receive any kind of favorable news--college students.

According to the Los Angeles Times, “the jobless rate rose four-tenths of a percent to 16 [percent] in November” for those who are in the 20-to-24 age range. (That’s you, in case you were just scanning this). Not only that, but according to the Labor Department statistics that the Times examined, the unemployment figure for college graduates represented the highest that the number’s been since 1983.

Having decimated all hopes of good news in the coming year, the Times article then discusses the career travails of one UCLA student, who, having earned a very solid grade point average in school, proceeded to have two interviews while applying for 600 jobs. Only two. Any math majors out there care to calculate what is no doubt an abysmally low percentage rate?

If you’re interested in reading the rest of the piece, head on over to the Times, though I’d might advise against it if you’re currently on the job hunt. The piece can be awfully discouraging.

Considering the depressing effects that the recession has had on the unemployed, according to the New York Times, this news is perhaps the last reminder college students need that the job market out there is tough.

But at least the students in the Los Angeles Times article made it to graduation. Not only are students dropping out of school due to commitments such as family and work, many are defaulting on their loans, to the point where the colleges in question would lose all federal student financial assistance under a new law.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the new law would measure student-load default rates over a three-year period. The Chronicle reports how the Higher Education Opportunity Act would “begin counting borrowers who default within three years of their scheduled repayment.” Colleges would be ineligible for loans if they consecutively report a default rate higher than 30 percent for three consecutive years.

What’s the significance of that figure? Read more here.

By Mark Andrews


MSU researchers find college job market at its bottom

From College News - Overall hiring is expected to be down 2 percent in 2010, with hiring reaching its lowest levels in several decades.

In a recent study conducted by Michigan State University, researchers found that employers are hiring critical thinking graduates with skills to capture internet business more than ever. According to the survey of more than 2,500 companies and institutions, hiring rates are at their lowest in decades.

Overall hiring is expected to be down about 2 percent in 2010. Mid-size companies ranging from 500 to 4,000 employees are expected to decrease hiring by 11 percent next year. Large companies of more than 4,000 employees plan to decrease hiring by 3 percent.

Surprisingly, smaller businesses are keeping the economy afloat in the college labor market. Companies with less than 500 employees are expected to increase 15 percent in the coming year.

Depending on what field of business the college grad is trying to break in to depends on his success rate. Hot sectors at the moment include, according to MSU, agriculture production and food processing; environmental sciences’ information systems; manufacturing; non-profits, social work and a new hard-hitter, web-design.

Employee hiring has decreased in fields such as accounting, banking, engineering, utilities, real estate and computer science.

Geography also plays a part in this study. One has to think logically about where their field of work will prosper most. The eastern seaboard continues to see job losses. Hiring is down 8 percent in the middle Atlantic and Southeast states. From Texas west to California hiring is up considerably. However, the job market is down in the Upper Plains and Great Lakes region.

Employers told researchers at MSU that they hope to see the economy rebound, but that college graduates need to understand that things will not return to “normal” for a while.

“The recession, combined with increasing global competition, means graduates will continue competing for fewer jobs with lower salaries and benefits,” researchers conducting the study said.

So becoming a 5th year Senior doesn’t sound so bad now, does it, Mom and Dad?

Kelley Bishop, Career Services Director at MSU said in the news release, “It’s imperative that students get aggressive about their futures early in their college careers by networking with prospective employers, landing internships and developing critical thinking skills. Employers are worrying less about a student’s major and more about whether they can solve problems and think outside the box.”

So that whole quarter-life crisis where all college students ask themselves, “What am I doing with life?” is moot at this point. A degree is what matters, not particularly what area of study your degree pertains to.

“This change in the labor market looks like it’s permanent. And those who can quickly adapt are the ones who are going to survive this and prosper through this,” said Bishop.

So we’ve got that going for us. Which is nice.

By Paige Maynard


The aging field and careers rapidly growing

From College News - Gerontology, or the study of the aging process is gaining popularity partly due to aging baby boomers.


There’s a certain career that seems to be growing and my guess is it’s something many of you may not even consider, let alone have thought of. It involves working in the aging field.

See, most of us think that when working with the elderly, you have to have medical experience, and that is not the case. True, people still need actual health care professionals, but the huge amount of baby boomers that there are in the U.S. aren’t getting any younger.

Many can plan or teach wellness classes or they can work in consulting for companies about how to hire or keep older workers. It is also important for us to remember there are two different types of fields when dealing with older people. There’s geriatrics, which is described as “the comprehensive health of older adults.” These are your usual doctors, dentists and nurses who study specifically how to deal with the elderly.

On the other hand, there’s gerontology---or the study of the aging process. According to Steamboat Pilot & Today, gerontology includes observing the physical, mental and social changes in people as they age.

The Pilot reported that, if you’re interested in getting in to the field, a gerontology professor said that gerontology grads have an edge over other students who apply for administration jobs in long-term living facilities.

Also, if you’re particularly motivated, licenses and additional certificates can possibly qualify you to work as a physical or occupational therapist or even a nursing home director.

By Kate Oczypok


Jobless rates dropping due to workers giving up search

From College News - Thousands of workers have stopped job searching, keeping them from being included in the unemployment rate.


September saw a reduction in the unemployment rate, yet the reason for this isn’t that people are finding jobs but that they have stopped looking.  The Labor Department reported recently that 600,000 out of work people have given up their search.

Unemployment was down in 59 percent of the 380 metro areas polled.  Workers that are not currently looking for work are not counted in the unemployment rate and many workers have at least temporarily ceased looking.

As the economy continues its slow recovery in the next several months, more people will resume their search and the unemployment rate could actually rise again. 

Analysts at IHS Global Insight predict that unemployment rates will be pretty much the same at the end of 2010 as they are today.  The job market’s recovery is expected to be slower than the general economy’s recovery. They predict that unemployment rate to not fall below 8 percent until the end of 2012.

Areas with a high percentage of manufacturing and housing jobs have been and will continue to suffer the highest unemployment rate.  The metro area with the highest rate is currently Detroit, Michigan which is at 17.3%.  Detroit’s staggeringly high rate is mainly caused by the collapse of the auto industry in the area.

By Heather Linich


Science jobs remain popular, yet many stray, according to study

From College News - Business Week reports that some of the most talented science students leave to seek better stability.


A new study released said that many students are getting engineering jobs, and as a result there’s no shortage of those in science or engineering fields, Business Week reported.

However---if you’re currently in a science or engineering program, the article warns that many of the greatest students are being entertained with thoughts of careers in finance and consulting.

The study, called “Steady as She Goes? Three Generations of Students through the Science and Engineering Pipeline,” had funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

What the study did was analyze data to examine data from American students who studied science and technology fields. The data was from when they were in high school until they got into the workforce.

So, if you’re good at math and science, but are thinking about switching to finance or consulting, think about this: Business Weeksaid that it may be because of money.

It’s the same thing with journalism. So many people are quick to go to public relations fields because statistically they pay more. With that in mind, the article also said that researchers have suggested that higher salaries could make science, technology and math fields more likely to get students. That way it could be a little bit more of a stable job and more talented kids will stay with those fields.

By Kate Oczypok


Part-time campus positions that could be your job

From College News - Who knows? Your job working as an admissions receptionist could make you president of your school someday.


If you’re working on campus (or near campus) this semester, sometimes that part-time job can lead to a career someday. Here are five typical campus and off-campus jobs and careers you can do with them.

1. Admissions office receptionist

You’ve worked there since your freshman year, laying out cookies on preview days for high school seniors, or perhaps filing application after application away. If you’re interested in working in higher education, talk to an admissions representative. Working here can be a great way to get experience for a potential career in admissions for a college or university of your choice. This can be especially beneficial if you’re into traveling, as many colleges send admissions representatives to high schools in neighboring states.

2. Waiter or Waitress

I know what you’re thinking---I’ve worked at this job waiting tables. it’s just to have some extra cash to go out on weekends. I don’t know if you’ve ever thought of this, but if you’re into food, it could be beneficial to maybe talk to the executive chef of the restaurant (particularly if it’s fancy) to talk about the art of cooking. Also, you could always talk to the manager or owner of the restaurant to learn more about being a restaurateur.

3. Babysitter

This one’s pretty easy. You know you’ve loved kids for awhile now, and always wondered how to incorporate it into your chosen career. It may be worth looking into business and how to go about owning a daycare. Also, many individuals make full-time careers out of being nannies.

4. Volunteer

If you’re lucky enough to not have to work for cash while attending school, and choose to be a volunteer instead, your efforts could turn into a potential job. If you’re involved in an organization as an intern of some sort, look into what it takes to potentially run a non-profit someday. Or, if you’re a tutor, it could be good to see what teaching has to offer.

5. Teaching Assistant

This is a great position to learn about teaching and the many different types you can do. This is perfect to see if you’d rather teach at the elementary school or college level. Also, you can gain a mentor in the professor who you T.A. for.

If you’re confused about what to pursue for your career, look around campus. Chances are, there’s plenty of options for you to look into. Good luck and remember if you’re lost, your career center or advisor are always there to help.

By Kate Oczypok


Green jobs continue to grow

From College News - Many jobs combining social sciences, politics to create a more sustainable future for the earth.


The green jobs phenomenon continues to grow with more students on campuses nationwide wishing to pursue environmentally-friendly careers, the Hackensack Record reported.

As College News previously wrote, green jobs are the wave of the future for students currently enrolled in higher education opportunities. It’s not just blue-collar jobs either.  Many are using green jobs in science, technology and politics to help them prepare for a more sustainable future, The Record reported.

The article said that the U.S. Conference of Mayors is projecting 4.2 million green jobs nationwide by 2028, compared with only 750,000 today.

A community college in Paramus, N.J. is now offering a solar energy class to teach electricians to install solar panels. There’s also classes in energy-efficient home construction and sustainable interior design, the article said.

There’s also another new four-week class involving real estate and environmentally-friendly homes.

The New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark has also gone green, creating a “green careers” database for students interested in the field. There’s over 100 college majors to look at to see what green careers they can lead to, and a current job search listing, the article reported.

A student finishing up a degree in science and technology feels that green technology is the future of technology, and will be a very competitive field soon the article said.

Many New Jersey students are also intertwining hard science with social sciences. The Record said that this is in the hopes that it will influence business practices and public policy.

By Kate Oczypok


Newspaper companies managing to keep their businesses afloat

From College News - Print media is seeing less of a decline than in previous months.


Even with technology seemingly moving at the speed of light these days, the newspaper industry has surprisingly shown an increase in profits of late.  The Gannett Company, the largest newspaper publisher in the country, announced its third quarter earnings would be surprisingly above analyst expectations.  Over the first half of this year, Gannett suffered a 33% loss in advertising revenue.

The newspaper industry is not out of danger though.  Even before the recession began, papers were having difficulties due to many people now using the internet as their source of news instead of print media.

Due to severe cost cutting such as closing offices, laying off workers and making smaller newspapers have helped papers get by with less ad revenue.  The two largest costs by far for newspapers are labor and newsprint.

Stock prices for newspaper companies are up from earlier this year, though still now what they once were.  In February and March, “newspaper stocks were being priced as if they were all going to go out of business,” Ken Doctor, a media analyst with Outsell Inc. said to MSNBC.  They have rebounded from that low point but are still 60-90% lower on average than stock prices three years ago, right before advertising revenue began its decline.

By Heather Linich


Waiting to tweet your workday? Think twice

From College News - A new survey recently released said that many CIOs don't allow employees to visit social networking sites at work.


A new survey developed by Robert Half Technology has those of us who want to social network at work possibly waiting until after hours. According to Robert Half, fifty-four percent of Chief Information Officers (CIOs) recently interviewed said their firms don’t allow employees to visit social networking sites for any reason while working.

19 percent of CIOs said that social networking was “permitted for business purposes only”, while 16 percent said social network use was OK for limited personal use, and 10 percent saying that were OK with letting employees use the networks for any kind of personal use.

Robert Half Technology is a provider of IT professionals on a project and full-time basis, and conducted by an independent research firm, according to its Web site.

“The survey was based on telephone interviews with more than 1,400 CIOs from companies across the U.S. with 100 or more employees,” said Robert Half Technology in an email to College News. “A variety of industries were represented as well, including manufacturing, retail, finance, professional services, construction, wholesale, transportation and business services.”

Some at Robert Half Technology have said that using social networking sites could potentially divert attention away from more pressing priorities that employees could have.

“Many Gen Y professionals in particular, frequently use these sites, and businesses are learning that social networking, when used properly can be an effective business tool,” Robert Half Technology said to College News. “Companies that have social networking policies in place should outline what is and isn’t permissible for employees.”

Robert Half Technology told College News that Facebook and Twitter has changed office life by providing another medium for broad, up-to-the-minute communication and business. “However, for companies that do allow employee access to these sites at work, it’s important to keep in mind that time spent on these sites can take away from productivity,” Robert Half Technology said. “Employees should always exercise good judgment, no matter how lenient their company’s policy.

It’s a sentiment that Dave Willmer, executive director of Robert Half Technology, echoes in the press release by saying, “Professionals should let common sense prevail when using Facebook and similar sites—even outside of business hours. Regrettable posts can be a career liability.”

Speaking of which: If you do post at work, then you should always watch what you Tweet or post on Facebook. Recently, a waiter was fired because of a tweet about an actress on the HBO show “Hung.” Jane Adams left the restaurant where he works because she forgot her wallet in her car. She never returned and a representative came back the next day to pay the bill, without a tip.

The waiter then tweeted about it, along with other celebrity encounters, on his Twitter page. A while later, Adams came back to pay the tip, saying that she’d read about his Tweet on Twitter. Adams then reportedly filed a complaint with the restaurant managers, who responded by examining the waiter’s Twitter account. After that, he was fired. So it just goes to show: watch your Tweet.

By Kate Oczypok


So you thought getting your degree would be the end of waitressing…

From College News - Think again: Many seniors are finding jobs, but in fields requiring no degree, and 40 percent say they'll need help from parents.

Going to school and earning a degree was once the right and sure step to the right career.  A degree meant you would not be working a menial job with little pay and no benefits.  Those were the jobs you worked while you went to school, not meant for after graduation. Today, the talk concerning the economy is dismal, but having a degree still means a decent job, right?  According to a new study, maybe not.

The market data is showing most college graduates are working jobs that do not require a degree at all. According to data from the Center for Labor Market studies at Northeastern University in Boston, the evidence shows that less than half of college graduates under the age of 25 found work in businesses that required a degree.

The study was conducted during the first four months of 2009, and published earlier this summer.  When many experienced workers are being laid off in increasing numbers, how can a college student with no experience expect to be hired?  According to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 22 percent fewer graduating seniors will be hired for jobs as compared to last year. Yet, while some college students are worried, many may be in denial as to the real crisis they will face when they graduate. 

Survey data collected by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that only 45 percent of college graduates who actually were offered a job this year accepted the opportunity.

NACE also found that 40 percent of students realize they may have to ask for financial help from their parents. Yet, with older job seekers having problems of their own, will parents actually be able to help their children?  As students begin starting their job search this Fall, as well as searches for graduate school, they may have to find out the answer to that question the hard way.

Lay-offs are effecting those in the job market now.  Those students in the 40 percent must hope their parents are not without employment which is not assured. The problem of finding a job after graduation is confounded when one considers most student loan repayments begin six months after graduation.  Concerning high school graduation, the question was, “Where are you going to college?.” Now, concerning college graduation, the questions are “Is it worth it?” and “Will I find a job?.”

By Misty Mix


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