Coronavirus: Economists predict 2020 college graduates will have tough time entering job market

BERKELEY, Calif. (KGO) -- For many college graduates, this is the grim reality: no caps, no gowns and no jobs. Many economists are predicting that graduating seniors will have a rough entry into the job market.

Megan Grosspietsch is a graduating senior at UC Berkeley. She was only 11 years old during the 2008 financial crisis. Still, she remembers it well.

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"Both my parents lost their jobs within a six-month period. We were barely making ends meet. We had to have my grandparents give us money just to pay the bills. We had to ration toilet paper... kinda similar to today," recalled Grosspietsch.

Because the coronavirus has all but shut down the U.S. economy, it now appears the same scenario will play itself out for many college graduates.

"I think the job market and what we're all facing, we're not sure where the light is at the end of the tunnel," said Tom Devlin, executive director of the Career Center at UC Berkeley.

Grosspietsch thought her fall 2019 internship would lead to a job, but it hasn't.

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"We're not sure which companies are hiring and, when we do apply, we don't get any responses back on whether we've been rejected or if they rescinded the position because of the pandemic," added Grosspietsch.

Sarah Dey, an architecture major, has had several job offers only to be canceled by the pandemic. "And that was kind of disheartening to have a couple of jobs that were really my dream jobs in terms of what I want to do in the next couple of months or years, to have that taken away," explained Dey.

Many seniors start building their network by doing weekly recruiter interviews. But with the campus closed, they are now done on line, if at all.

It's bad enough that their hard work will not be immediately rewarded with a job, but now many also face the harsh reality of having to pay off their student loans.

The CARES Act suspended all payment of federally held student loans, but only through September 30.

Here are some tips for graduating seniors published by Forbes Magazine:

  • For a generation uncomfortable with using a phone, it's a good idea to build up your phone interviewing skills

    • nclude parents and your extended family in your network

    • Stay active on social media, especially LinkedIn

    • Search the career section on corporate websites

    • Take any job offer, even part-time work

    • Stay strong


    "Even if they find a simple part-time job, they will get to know people and those individuals will pass them on to others," suggested Devlin.

    As one graduating senior put it, years from now saying that you graduated with the class of 2020 will mean that you overcame a great deal of adversity and still made it. For now it's just a waiting game and trying to stay safe.

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