Monday, June 13, 2011

College Grads and Jobs

The economy is getting a little doomy and just a tad gloomy again.  No one is talking about slipping back into recession or using words like double dipping.  In fact, President Obama said we will not experience the double dip.  The stock market has been on a slide most of this month greased by less than positive economic news.  A recent lead story on YahooFinance summed it up in the first two sentences:  
Another lackluster economic report sent stocks down Wednesday, extending a weeklong slide. The Federal Reserve report, known as the Beige Book, showed the economy slowed in several U.S. regions for the first time this year.
Gasoline prices are high.  The Arab Spring and Summer is working itself out in Syria, Libya, and Yemen.   Food prices are high in the poorest parts of the world.  The economies in Greece, Ireland, and Portugal are still tenuous.  So, while we hear that things are getting better, they are going slower than most would like.

Personally, I still worry about the job market.  Actually, it is just part of the job market:  fresh college grads.  I met two just this week and it gave me the inkling about this segment.  Both were working in food service.  I was at breakfast recently.  The waitress was a the All American girl next door.  She looked like a younger lovelier Katherine Heigl.  This young lady had just graduated from college.  She could not find a job and was waitressing.  A few days later I met a young man at Starbucks.  He is a barista.  He also  graduated recently and could not find a job.  

The fellow has a degree in general business.  He is going to CLC to become a CPA.  He figures that specializing will improve his chances for getting an entry level job.  The young lady will have a harder time.  She measured in Art History.  She wants to work at a museum.  She will have a much harder time fulfilling her desire.  

Only 24% of the college graduates this year had a job waiting for them.  As awful as this sounds.  It is an improvement over last years 20%.  The average starting salary dropped 1.7% to $47,673.  Young people with liberal arts degrees had average starting of only $33,540.   I cannot imagine what is like for some like the waitress especially if she has $50,000 or $75,000 in education debt.

OK things may not be much better for white males in my generation.  But, we are grown ups, we have had our chance.  We are still in there fighting and things will somehow work out.  To me it is just wrong and unfair for the young people.  They have finished their educations, they are ready to join the workforce, and they are eager to begin their careers. All three quarters of them can get are service jobs.  It makes me feel bad.

Certainly, things will work out for these folks.  In my sample of two , they have great attitudes and understand the supply and demand of the marketplace.  They are happy to have the jobs they have and do them very well as they continue to work toward their career objectives.  They will be stronger for it.  I just wish it I had that magic wand that I would use to make it easier for everyone in their generation.

Check out the great cartoon on the subject from the Pulitzer Prize winning Matt Davies:

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