New Grads Face Tough Job Market

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, December 18, 2009
One of the students graduating today will be Jerald Bolden. The 27-year-old singer and dancer is getting his master’s degree in Theater Arts.  
“I’m so excited. Yeah, I’m very happy. My family’s very happy.”
Bolden already has a job lined up that starts next month. He’ll be in the chorus of a local theater company’s production of Guys and Dolls. But it’s just a three-month gig. That’s why he’s in Sacramento State’s Career Center on the eve of his graduation.
“I’m just looking for temporary work or some other transitional work to make money in between my next job.”
Bolden would like to get a job teaching dance or theater. But he’s a little anxious about the weak job market.
“That does make me nervous. But I talked to a good counselor here and he pointed me to some really good websites where I will be able to find something that’s entry-level enough for me to get my feet wet.”
And getting his feet wet is the best thing he can do in lieu of a permanent job, according to Eva Gabbe. She heads Sacramento State’s Career Center. Gabbe says few sectors are hiring right now.
“There are some areas that are still pretty strong. Accounting is still pretty strong, some engineering areas. But for the most part, we’re talking volunteering, part-time jobs, anything to get your feet in the door.” 
Neither CSU nor Sacramento State has tracked job statistics for this year’s graduates. But the U.S. Labor Department says the job market is getting worse for college grads. The unemployment rate for grads under 25-years-old is 10.6%…the highest rate since the early 1980s. Gabbe says they’ve seen a jump in the number of recent grads who still can’t find a job and are coming back on campus to talk with career counselors.
“We have, there’s quite an increase. Our staff…every 30 minutes to an hour…bombarded with appointments.”
Gabbe says despite the gloomy job outlook, career counselors are staying positive with students.
“We talk. We share with them – there is hope out there. Things will change.”
Meantime, Gabbe says many students who can’t find work are volunteering their time. Some are traveling. And many others are staying in school…like Nikhil Nayak. The electrical engineering student is originally from Bombay. He’s working on his master’s degree. And he’s at the Career Center hunting for a part-time internship.
“In this current economy I would like to apply in small startups because companies like Intel, Qualcomm, etc., have freezed their hiring. So there are some openings in small startup companies.”
Nayak expects to get his master’s degree next spring. But he doesn’t expect the economy to get any better by then. That’s why he’s thinking about going back to India.
“Because the situation in India is the companies are hiring over there. It’s totally opposite of what is going on over here. So yeah, I’m considering moving back.”
Nayak considers himself fortunate to have that to fall back on. But for students who don’t have that option, Eva Gabbe with Sacramento State’s Career Center says they’ll have to wait it out.