Out of College and Unemployed: Unemployment at the beginning of a career

You worked hard for the past four years. You worked two jobs and took out a few hundred thousand in loans. You finally got your college degree and are ready for the world. But the job tree isn’t giving and you find yourself sitting on your couch, in a daze, wondering where you went wrong.

The youth (16-24) unemployment rate in America is hovering around 18%.  For the classes of 2009-10, only 56% of young people find full-time work within a year of graduating, according to a 2011 study performed by John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University. Of them 40% are working in jobs that don’t require a college degree, like a waitress or telemarketer. Only 22% of those graduating described their first job as “a career.”

So what is the unemployed college graduate to do? According to the Rutgers survey, 62% of graduates believe they will need more education. But with such dismal results from their first four years, is it even worth it?

For many young Americans, just under 25%, the only choice to survive has been to move back in with their parents. Others have picked up any job they can to make ends meet. But as hope springs eternal, the search goes on.

Graduates continue to hit the job boards, grind out cover letters and carefully craft resumes. They hope that if they hold out long enough, they will find their career path. Others go to graduate school with the idea that in a few more years, the job picture will look better and they will find something promising. But the gnawing question of self-worth lingers on, and every day the search becomes just a little bit harder.

There are many stories about people in this situation. Below are some links to these stories.

Additional Resources

Rutgers Youth Unemployment Study: http://www.heldrich.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/content/Work_Trends_May_2011.pdf

My Unemployed Life: Out of College and Jobless: http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2010/10/26/unemployed-life-out-of-college-and-jobless/

The New York Times Generation Limbo: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/01/fashion/recent-college-graduates-wait-for-their-real-careers-to-begin.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all&fb_source=message


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