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2010 census shows recession took biggest toll on young adults

Alyssa Locklar

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In the recently released 2010 census, researchers revealed that young American men and women had fallen victim to the recession’s impact on the job market more so than older generations. Although the recession was declared over in 2009, its aftershocks will continue to rage against recent college graduates in search of jobs.

“In record numbers, they’re struggling to find work, shunning long-distance moves to live with mom and dad, delaying marriage and raising kids out of wedlock, if they’re becoming parents at all,” said the Associated Press’ Hope Yen. “The unemployment rate for them is the highest since World War II, and they risk living in poverty more than others – nearly one in five.”

Along with the lack of new jobs coming into the equation, there are even more factors working against young men and women who are heading into the job market today. For students entering college and searching for a major that will lead them in the direction of a job with high demand, the quest is not so simple.

“It is very difficult to tell what jobs will have openings because things change so rapidly,” said Ahmad Ijaz, director of economic forecasting in the Center for Business and Economic Research. “If it’s a hard measure right now it might not be four or five years from now. If they are hiring 5,000 computer programmers right now they might not in four or five years. You have to consider where the jobs will be, not where they are now.”

Ijaz said that although there are currently high demands in certain fields, often times there aren’t enough eligible prospects to fill the positions.

“They are slowly adding jobs,” he said. “However, they are the jobs that require special skills. For instance, they are looking for people to maintain and design robots. But there aren’t enough qualified people to do that. There is a mismatch between the skills that employers want and need and the skill that potential employees have.”

According to the census, men and women between the ages of 20 and 24 years of age had an unemployment rate of 14.7 percent in 2009, in comparison to only 8.2 percent in 2006.

“One reason that people are not retiring is that the people of that older generation lost a lot of their retirement funds,” Ijaz said. “They don’t have any choice but to stay employed. The older generations stay at their jobs and to an extent it hurts the people coming out of college. It hinders the people coming in because there are less people going out.”

Some recent college graduates have recognized the hardships within the job market and made due while taking note of the keys to a successful job hunt.

“I think the hardest part is getting the initial feedback from the employer,” said Jake Anderson, a summer 2011 graduate. “There are so many people out there looking for jobs who have been in the industry much longer than me that it’s hard to find someone willing to take a chance on a younger candidate.

“The best piece of advice I was given was to be patient and to do anything that could be counted as work experience in your field. If an employer sees that you have been at least trying to make an effort to work in your industry it shows them you have a passion for it and might make you more appealing.”

Although there are many factors working against young men and women entering the job market, there are ways to be better prepared for what is to come and the reality of the situation boiling within the job market.

“The most difficult thing was getting my resume to the right person,” said John-Mark Echols, who graduated last spring. “Now, the major companies have you apply online and a lot of times they pick resumes with a computer.

“Therefore, my advice to students is to make that resume as amazing as possible. In this competitive environment, grades are very important, as well as showing that you are well rounded and have skills and experiences that will help you be a productive worker.”

Echols explained that he had applied to approximately 25 jobs before landing a job in the oil industry in west Texas.

“My job, while not ideal, has been great,” Echols said. “I did not plan on coming right back to Midland after I graduated but with the job market the way it is, I am very thankful for what I have. It would be great to be somewhere other than the barren desert of west Texas but I will get out of here eventually.

“Fortunately, I am making enough to pay all my bills and live pretty comfortably, which is why I am so thankful to have found a job that I enjoy and can actually support myself.”







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2010 census shows recession took biggest toll on young adults