John Tinkelenberg

U.S. unemployment falls, effects in N.C. uncertain

By John Tinkelenberg

ELON–Graduation looms right around the corner for seniors at Elon University, but some encouraging numbers have emerged in the last few weeks that should reassure those who haven’t started their job search.

CNN released figures on May 2 showing that, nationwide, first-time unemployment claims have dropped to 324,000, less than half of the number in March 2009.

According to Larry Parker, acting public information director for the Division of Employment Security of the N.C. Department of Commerce, the state unemployment has dropped from 9.4 percent to 9.2 percent from March 2012 to March 2013. North Carolina has also added over 75,000 jobs this year.

Tom Brinkley, executive director for Elon’s Student Professional Development Center, attributes the growth to innovation.

“That’s coming primarily through the introduction of new technology, new kinds of industries to this state,” Brinkley said.

Brinkley thinks students entering the workforce should feel optimistic.

I think what’s more important for Elon students to recognize is that there are lots of jobs in the marketplace today – believe it or not.” Brinkley said. “Students may feel the pressure, pressure coming from home, or even peer pressure listening to other students who have already accepted a position, and maybe they haven’t.

Brinkley also thinks job offers correlate with effort in the job search process.

“Typically if they haven’t [received an offer], it’s because they really haven’t been focused on their
search,” Brinkley said. “They may not know exactly where they want to go to work yet, they may not have a clear plan on what they want to do.”

Unemployment by State

Lisa Arnette, a manager at the Division of Employment Security in Burlington, says the agency does not make any predictions regarding unemployment, but she encourages those seeking work to persevere.

“I tell all customers that looking for work is hard work also and it takes time,” Arnette said. “Do not get discouraged and keep looking.”

Local tweets on job searching

Jerry Moe, a first-year, is quite optimistic about his future job search.

“My field of study is computer engineering, and the technology field has become central to a lot of things going around,” Moe said. “So, I don’t think I’m going to have much of an issue.”

Moe does know friends who are worried about finding jobs.

“I know that people who get degrees more focused on a single thing, like if you’re a financial accounting major, then you’re going have a lot more trouble than you would 5 years ago,” Moe said.

On the other hand, Sophia Spach, a sophomore majoring in human services, is more concerned.

“Yeah, I’m a little bit worried about finding a job after graduation,” Spach said. “I’m not really sure what kind of jobs will be available.”

Spach hasn’t yet fully decided on what she wants to do.

“I would be looking for a job at a non-profit organization or something that allows me to travel,” she said.