College graduates face unemployment rates, job search struggle
October 25, 2012
The unemployment rate for millennials, those under the age of 30, is pushing above 14 percent, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report.
UW-River Falls junior Sarah Bohlen is one such millennial who is still looking for work. She said it has become increasingly harder to find even a minimum wage job because there is more competition for the job.
“When you go to fill out an application, there are at least 30 other people vying for that same job,” said Bohlen. “But those who get the jobs are those who have experience. How are we supposed to compete with that?”
UWRF Economics Professor Brian Schultz echoes Bohlen’s worries. He said that young people are especially hit hard by the sluggish economy because those with a college degree and more experience are also struggling.
“Right now the more experienced workers are taking a pay cut to take on lower-level jobs than what they may be qualified for, because right now all they care about is having a job,” said Schultz. “This has a trickle-down effect since they are taking the jobs that normally college graduates or young people would take to start gaining experience.”
Even though these numbers alone are staggering, it does not include the 1.7 million young adults that are not counted as unemployed by the U.S. Department of Labor because they are no longer looking for work. The Bureau of Labor statistics adds that the “real” unemployment number for youth is 16.8 percent. Real unemployment includes those who are under-employed and those workers who are not looking for work.
Nearly five in 10 college graduates cannot find work in their related field, are moving back in with their parents or are underemployed according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“That is a really scary thought to imagine,” said Bohlen. “The reason I go to college is so that I can get a head start on life. The last thing I want to do is go back to where I was before I started college.”
These numbers are also reflected in the lifestyle choices young people have had to alter on a day-to-day basis. The Wall Street Journal reported that 51 percent of young people have reduced their entertainment budget, and 43 percent have reduced their grocery and/or food budget. Nearly one out of three students have tried to find an additional job.
“If young people remain out of work, it creates long-term social and economic problems,” added Schultz.
While the economic prospects have improved on the national level, it is young people who are finding it harder to find work. With the economy being the No.1 issue this election cycle, there is no doubt that jobs will be a main focus during the final stretch. Until then, college students like Bohlen will continue the search for a job in an uncertain economy.