Job statistics bring hopes, concerns
California’s unemployment rate decreased from 10.6 percent to 10.2 percent between August and September with 8,500 new jobs added to the market — the second largest drop in the nation, according to statistics released Friday by the Unemployment Development Department.
Still, California’s unemployment rate remains the third highest in the country, and the L.A. area’s unemployment hovers above the statewide rate at 10.6 percent. The slow pace of job growth could have a direct impact on USC students. Employment rates for new college graduates are very low with nearly half of all college graduates under age 25 unemployed or employed in jobs that do not require a college degree, according to a Northeastern University study that looked at 2011 data.
Though conditions might not be optimal, Carl Martellino, executive director of the USC Career Center, said the situation is ultimately positive.
“The outlook for our students searching for jobs after graduation has continued to improve with each year since the Great Recession of 2008 being better than the year prior,” Martellino said.
Rebeca Enriquez, a senior majoring in business, is not looking for a job in Los Angeles, but said she has noticed the effects of unemployment throughout the state. She plans to look for work in San Diego after graduation.
“It’s been tough to find a job down there -— at least the jobs I want to try and go into,” Enriquez said.
Martellino noted that job creation is dependent on every industry. The National Association of Colleges and Employers expects to hire 13 percent more graduates from the class of 2013 than from the class of 2012, and many industries are anticipating double-digit increases.
But economists differ on how telling economic indicators, such as the unemployment rate, are. The rate is calculated by finding the percentage not working in the labor force, which is defined as those who are working or who have looked for a job in the last four weeks.
Some economists believe that many unemployed people might be excluded from this count as they have stopped searching for a job. This “discouraged workers effect” would account for the decrease in unemployment despite few gains in job creation. Other economists claim that looking at statistics in a one-month period is not enough to determine the state of the economy. Unemployment is down 1.5 percent from last September, and around 262,000 jobs have been added to the market in the past year.
Students entering the job market will also be forced to compete with more potential workers, however, because many older people who lost money during the recession cannot afford to retire, making their years of experience a factor in the applicant pool.
Martellino stressed the importance of gaining work experience.
“The internship has really become the new interview,” Martellino said.
He said he believes students should not enter the market worrying they will not find a job.
“Don’t let the news on the economy cause delay — prepare and there are opportunities for you,” Martellino said.