Young graduates have higher unemployment rate

April 8, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
While the outlook is still fairly bleak for anyone who's out of work, it is even worse for young people entering the job market. A new study shows that students are at a real disadvantage just by graduating during a recession.

These days, Zumiez store manager Mike Chavez doesn't have to look hard to find a good applicant for the two job openings he has. At least 200 people have already applied and many aren't the typical job seeker.

"There's a lot of older people, people that don't seem like they would normally work at a youthful skate shop, trying to get a job," says Chavez.

"Nowadays, people are just looking for a job," says Bakers store manager Mary-Ann Santos.

The unemployment rate in Santa Clara County is 11.7 percent. Which means job competition is high and for those trying to land their first job, it's even harder.

"I've applied for four jobs already and I've been rejected by all," says San Jose State University student Kevin Trieu.

Building that resume for young people is even more important now.

According to a recent Yale School of Management study, a student who graduates from college during a recession will earn 7 to 8 percent less in their first job out of school, than someone who graduates during a better economic time.

"In the first year you earn less because there are fewer jobs available and more competition for those jobs. But if you learn fewer skills in the early part of your career, than that can translate to lower salaries even five, 10, 15 years down the road," says Matthew Holian from SJSU.

In other words, staying stagnant with a low paying job will also cost you future earnings, as much as $100,000 over 18 years.

"I didn't think I'd still be here, I've been here for two years," says SJSU graduate Dave Zugnoni.

Zugnoni graduated in the heart of the recession. He has a journalism degree, but can't find work in his field. For now, he's delivering pizzas.

When asked why he stays Zuguoni says, "Because I need the money."

Experts say flexibility is key. Letting go of expected job titles and earnings and applying for jobs that have a future instead may help in the long run.


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