Hope for our graduates: lowest unemployment rate in three years

Graduating in May with a degree in hand, our seniors will be embarking on their next great adventure, starting with the dreaded job search. With the economy in a slump for the past years due to the economic recession, this might seem like a less than thrilling prospect for most seniors.

However, the unemployment rate in the U.S. is the lowest it has been in the past three years. According to TradingEconomics.com the unemployment rate has been at 8.3 percent since February. More companies are hiring now, and people are leaving their jobs not due to layoffs, but for deliberate reasons, such as retirement.

“Employers overall added 227,000 jobs last month, powered by robust gains in healthcare, manufacturing and business services,” wrote Don Lee in a March 9 article in the Los Angeles Times. “Job growth over the last three months has averaged 245,000 a month — about 100,000 more a month than in the previous year, the Labor Department said Friday.”

With these encouraging statistics, our seniors should be hopeful as they begin to think about finding a job for themselves.

Guilford senior Elizabeth Fisher has already been looking for a job for after graduation.

“My main concern is finding paying jobs,” said Fisher. “I luckily have somewhere to live without paying for some time, but beyond short summer jobs and unpaid internships, I haven’t been able to find paying jobs in the fields I’m interested in.”

This, however, has much less to do with the actual job market than it does with the normal difficulties of finding a job without much previous working experience.

“I don’t have previous experience,” added Fisher. “It’s a really vicious circle where you can’t get a job without experience and you can’t get experience without a job or internships that don’t actually pay.”

This is a common occurrence for many graduates who are looking for a job for the first time. Employers are more likely to hire someone with prior working experience.

Internships and summer jobs are one way of building that résumé and getting hired after graduating from Guilford.

President Obama himself has been working hard to further improve the employment rate for the U.S. and, more specifically, for the younger generations currently searching for jobs.

“President Obama urged the private sector to create around 250,000 positions for students and youths by this summer,” wrote Joshua R. Weaver in The Root.

“Thirty-five companies pledged commitment to the initiative on Jan. 5, when President Obama announced the White House’s Summer Jobs+ program, and more companies are following suit — including many in the technology industry,” wrote Weaver.

This is another ray of light for the many college graduates anxiously contemplating their future and source of income. With this program, graduates are even more likely to find jobs and internships.

“America’s young people face record unemployment, and we need to do everything we can to make sure they’ve got the opportunity to earn the skills and a work ethic that comes with a job,” said Obama in a press release.