Unemployment down, prospects up for future graduates

National unemployment rates are at a slow, steady decline just in time for graduating seniors, according to a Career Services official.

“In the last few years, employers have been able to keep a very selective mindset having so many applicants to weed through; they’ve had the ball in their court,” Assistant Director of Career Services Vinessa Mundorff said. “But now with lower unemployment rates, I think the ball is starting to come back into the applicant’s court.”

In the last decade, the lowest unemployment rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics was 4.4 percent, reached both in September and December 2006 as well as in March and May 2007. After the recession hit in 2008, the rate skyrocketed in October 2009 to an all-time high of 10 percent.

Today however, the Bureau’s most recent reports suggest a slow, but sure decline of the unemployment rate with 7.7 percent as of February 2013ùthe lowest rate since December 2008.

“I definitely think right now that things are increasing employment-wise, especially in Texas with the oil and gas industries,” Mundorff said. “Lots of folks are hiring, both part-time and full-time, and things are looking up for a lot of people.”

SHSU graduate Dustin Williams, who majored in Finance and Banking and Financial Institutions, recently got a job as an account executive at teleNetwork in Austin.

Williams applied to about 20 jobs and only interviewed for two.
“The hardest part about job hunting is getting your foot in the door,” Williams said.

Williams also said that SHSU helped him a lot because he reached out to a few professors who helped him and in his final interview.

Mundorff said that when big industries are starting to pick back upù like the oil and gas industriesù it creates a sort of domino-effect of growth in communities.
“You’ve got more people coming with skills for certain jobs who bring their families with them causing a need for more homes, schools and stores which, as a result, these ‘needs’ create more job opportunities,” Mundorff said.

Although Mundorff says the outlook is better for graduates, she also says employers are having difficulty making the transition from being able to be picky about who they hire, to sometimes now, having to settle.

Mundorff said that some of the industries in Texas that employ recent graduates include accounting, construction, engineering, health, and gas and oil.

Unfortunately for education majorsùthe second largest major at SHSUùeducators have been hit hard by the recession and are not in as high of a demand as are professionals in other fields. According to Mundorff, the key, again, is marketability.

“Being able to teach both primary and secondary education, special education or even being bilingual can make a big difference,” Mundorff said. “Sometimes there isn’t as big of a demand for your specific field of passion, but you need to find more components to make you stand out among others.”

Olivia Jaramillo said she wouldn’t have trouble finding a job.

“Since I’m bilingual,” senior bilingual education major, Olivia Jaramillo said. “The fact that I’ll have my certification to teach not only bilingual, but also general elementary makes me more marketable.”

According to Mundorff, one of the biggest mistakes people can make when looking for a job is being closed minded.
“Be organized about the process, set goals for yourself, make yourself accountable and most importantly, network by making real, human connections,” Mundorff said. “You can’t put all your eggs in one basket, you have to do a combination of things or you won’t receive the results you’re looking for.”

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