With graduation upcoming next week, seniors are looking ahead to their next challenges after they receive their diploma –the job search process.
Senior Abbey Keifer, a double major in International Studies and Political Science, started her job searching process last December. “It’s a very scary time, but hopefully I’ll have something soon.” she said about the process. Keifer hopes to work for a political figure for her job. So far Keifer has applied to 50 companies and organizations but has yet to secure a job after graduation. “As of now, the government is not really hiring so that makes things kind of tricky,” she said.
Senior Joshua McGee, also a Political Science major, started the job search process last summer. While he is starting an internship at a senator’s office in July in D.C., he does not have a full-time job yet. McGee is looking to work for organizations dealing with government policy. “I’ve had two internships in D.C. before so I’ve been keeping in mind the job search,” said McGee. McGee actively started applying for jobs last August and so far applied to 80 organizations.
According to USA Today, this March, the nationwide unemployment rate was 7.6 percent, which is 0.1 percent less than February’s. During the same span, North Carolina’s unemployment rate was higher than the national average. According to Regional Partnership Workforce’s labor market information, the unemployment rate in North Carolina this March was 8.8 percent, though it went down from the 0.5 percent compared to the previous month. However, in April, it went up to 8.9%, which is the fifth highest in the nation.In comparison to other states, North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in the U.S. with 3.3 percent, while Nevada has the highest with 9.6 percent.
The Labor Department reports that compared to 333 metro cities that lowered their unemployment rate, only 22 rose and 17 were stable. Tracy Lewis, a staffing specialist from Brevard Workforce, comments on the changes in unemployment numbers. “ There are a number of factors influencing this situation. Some of those factors are sequestration, industry decline/increase and seasonal positions,” she said.
While the numbers look positive on paper, there are concerns being raised by the government surrounding these numbers. Unemployment rates count survey people who are active in their job search. Therefore it leaves out the population for people who have stopped looking for jobs and stays unemployed.
Lewis offers a perspective on why it’s difficult to keep track of accurate unemployment rates. “This could be for two reasons. First, unemployment rates could fall because those who are receiving unemployment benefits may no longer be eligible for benefits, therefore falling off from availability to track them.” While she notices that more people are seeking employment through the agency, Lewis is aware that layoffs are still happening. “There is still a large amount of layoffs in the Aerospace Community where I work,” she said. “We are seeing a large amount of layoffs or reduction in hours due to sequestration as well.”
Lisa Arnette is the manager of the Department of Commerce in Employment Services in Burlington, NC has this advice for people who are concerned about the dragged out job search process. “I tell all customers that looking for work is hard work also and it takes time. Do not get discouraged and keep looking,” she said.
However, there are signs of optimism. According to CNN Money, application for first-time unemployment benefits in the United States was 32,400 people, 18,000 less compared to March. This is the lowest figure the country has seen in the last five years. “Additional jobs were added to the overall workforce,” said Lewis. Economists expected 140,000 jobs created in April, compared to 88,000 created in March, which contributed to the positive numbers.
While the current unemployment rate is still concerning, both Keifer and McGee are optimistic that they will find a job after graduation. “I’m hoping for the end of the summer that I’ll have something,” said Keifer. “I’m on my fourth interview with one organization. So with that organization, it’s looking pretty good but no one else seems to be taking the bate so it’s either them or it’ll be a bleak summer.” McGee hopes that his upcoming internship will provide vital resources for his job search process. “With this internship and everything, it’s a really good opportunity, but also I’m going to meet some good people,” he said. McGee has high hopes that by September, he will secure himself a job.