“One of my best friends has applied for 120 jobs, and he’s still looking,” recent LSA graduate David Levin said.

“It’s pretty difficult in this economy. It is easier than I anticipated, but still very competitive” said current job hunter and recent LSA graduate Jenny Chou, adding that she did not expect to graduate with a job.

Many graduates are quickly discovering that hunting for a job is very competitive. While the general economic trend has been downward, the job market has remained relatively stable since last year.

According to a written statement from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers expect to hire about the same number of college graduates for 2002-03 as they hired in 2001-02. NACE was initially predicting a 3.6 percent cut in college hiring.

“Unemployment has risen from four percent to six percent in the past four years” State Senate Fiscal Agency Senior Economist Jay Wortley said, adding “the job market is quite a bit tighter than, say, 1999-00. Back then the economy was strong, and businesses couldn’t find enough people to hire. Now, job openings are not as available.”

The economy’s impact has been felt by almost all sectors, said Lynne Sebille-White, the assistant director of Recruitment Services at Career Planning and Placement.

“Budget cuts have hurt the government, non-profit and education sectors. The best bet is the service industry, such as accounting, banking, insurance, real estate, construction, and nursing,” Sebille-White said.

According to the NACE written statement, manufacturing companies expect to make the steepest cuts – they will hire 8.4 percent fewer new graduates this year compared to last.

“The quick conclusion of the war in Iraq should have a positive impact on the economy, bringing more certainty to businesses reluctant to hire new employees” Wortley said.

Counting on an economic upswing, many students are choosing to delay their job search by attending graduate school, Chou said.

Some are taking part in such programs as Teach for America, which trains graduates and assigns them to teach in a struggling school district for two years. “I knew it was what I wanted to do after graduating, but the job market was in the back of my mind,” recent LSA graduate Emily Pelino said.

“Historically, 96 percent of graduates have either found full time work or enrolled in graduate school within six to nine months after graduation, and last year was no different,” said CPP associate director of Employee Relations Terri LaMarco. She added that she expects Michigan graduates to have similar success this year.

LaMarco emphasized flexibility in job hunting in terms of geographic location and type of job as being vital to success, adding “while I would characterize the job market as challenging, it certainly is not impossible to get a job.”

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