Despite a weak economy, massive losses on Wall Street and the announcement of 60,000 job cuts last week alone, the entry-level job market for graduating seniors is surprisingly strong.”The entry level job market for West Chester University grads is solid-companies may have only one or two openings instead of three, but they are hiring for those entry positions,” Phil Tripp, Assistant Director of WCU’s Twardowski Career Development Center said.
Tripp said that education recruitment numbers are steady and that employers are coming to local job fairs (one in Lancaster on Dec. 3) from states as far as North Carolina, Florida and Virginia and looking for new teachers.
Fifty companies have come to WCU’s campus this semester to interview students and the fall career fair drew 69 employers to campus to hire students for full-time and part-time positions as well as internships. The Career Development Center estimates 450 students attended the event.
According to the 2008 annual survey of college job recruiters as published in the “Job Outlook” report, employers said when the numbers are tallied they will have hired 16 percent more college graduates from 2007-2008 than in 2006-2007. The increase is attributed to the mass retirements of baby boomers and the shuffling of mid-level employees between organizations as they struggle to choose a job that satisfies them.
Nearly 58 percent of employers responding to the “Job Outlook” survey reported that they planned on increasing their college hiring while less than 6 percent expected to cut back.
One trend found in both the national numbers and at WCU reveals that recent economic woes have hit those seeking mid-level positions harder than college grads seeking entry-level jobs.
“We have seen an increase in alums coming back for assistance when they have been laid off, down sized, right sized, fired or whatever euphemism you want to use for out of work,” Tripp said. “In short, we have seen the impact more on alumni, mid-level positions than on our entry level.”
Meanwhile, as the outlook remains relatively strong for seniors graduating in December and May, the bigger picture looks far more bleak. In last week’s Democratic radio and video address, president-elect Barack Obama warned of the loss of “millions of jobs next year” unless Congress acts in the immediate future.
Obama’s economic recovery plan, which many say is his impending administration’s top priority, aims to create 2.5 million jobs by the beginning of 2011. Obama says he wants Congress to move quickly on the plan’s passage so that he may sign in shortly after taking office.
In a sign that recovery is needed immediately, the U.S. Department of Labor, on Nov. 20, announced that the number of unemployed Americans skyrocketed to the highest level in 16 years, more than 540,000 people.
As of October, the unemployment rate stands at 5.8 percent in Pennsylvania, 5.4 percent in Delaware and an even 6 percent in New Jersey. All three states in the region still fare better than the national rate which stands at 6.5 percent. That is up 0.4 percent in the last month and 1.6 percent since the beginning of 2008.
Jeff J. Simon is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with a minor in journalism. He can be reached at email@example.com.