Young grads? unemployment rate up

Timothy Sandoval

Recent college graduates have an unemployment rate that is almost double the unemployment rate of older college graduates, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The national unemployment rate for college graduates 20 to 24 years old rose to 9.5 percent at the end of 2009, while the unemployment rate among college graduates 25 years and older has been at 5 percent.

“It’s not much of a surprise,” said Todd Johnson, an economist for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. “(Younger workers) tend to fall into the category of first hired, first fired.”

Johnson said in the last few years, employment among older workers has been increasing.

“There is a perception among employers that an older worker will be more stable and less prone to look for another job,” Johnson said.

Candace McGee, Sacramento State’s Career Center Internship Program Manager, said professionalism is key to overcoming the perception that younger college graduates are less stable than older college graduates.

In 2008, the average worker aged 20 to 24 stayed with the same employer for only a little over a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“There is a greater likelihood that young college graduates will take a job that is available, find they don’t really like that job, and look for something else,” Johnson said.

Some recent Sac State graduates have experienced the tough job market firsthand.

Patrick Jennings, alumnus, applied for hundreds of jobs before he took a job as a staff accountant at the Northstar at Tahoe Ski Resort, in Lake Tahoe.

“You think college is the hard part and when you graduate you’re going to find a job right off the bat, but it’s not like that,” Jennings said.

After graduating, Jennings said he aimed high when he applied for jobs, but eventually had to aim lower after finding he was not getting feedback from the more lucrative employers.

“In the beginning of the process I was kind of cocky,” Jennings said. “But as it went on, I got more humble and learned to work harder.”

After more than 30 interviews, Jennings said he learned how to read the person interviewing him. He also began to change his resume regularly.

“The resume gets you the interview and the interview gets you the job,” McGee said. “Students need to figure out how to stand out to employers.”McGee said her advice to students was not to give up.

“In this economy (graduates) have to work twice as hard to get a job,” McGee said. “They have to stay persistent and try to stay positive and eventually something will happen.”

Jennings recently got a raise and qualified for a 401(k) plan. He said the job was a match made in heaven.

For the time being, there is no way to predict when the unemployment rate will return normal. Although unemployment has been increasing in recent months, the rate of the increase has been less than previous months.

More students have come to the Career Center since the recession began, McGee said.

The Career Center offers services for free up to six months after the student has graduated, including mock interviews and resume help.

Timothy Sandoval can be reached at [email protected].