Millennial unemployment rate rises, affects students’ career decisions

The unemployment rate for millennials rose sharply for the third month in row, according to a January jobs report from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Due to the high unemployment rate, many college students are facing uncertainty after graduation.

“The economy is unhealthy,” said Donald Dutkowsky, an economics professor at Syracuse University. “It’s getting gradually better, but it has a ways to go.”

The unemployment rate is 13.1 percent for those 18-29 years old, The Huffington Post reported on Feb. 6. While many SU students are generally aware of this, others remain unprepared for the adjustment, said Michael Cahill, director of SU Career Services.

“Students aren’t as concerned as I’d expect,” he said. “They may have some awareness, but they just don’t have the context.”

One of these students is Ellie Shotton, a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences, who said she feels “no effect” from the economy, although is sure “the economy is on a downward spiral.”

For Grace Allen, a freshman international relations major who has been looking for a job for months, the high unemployment rate means more debt and worries in the future.

These high unemployment rates make it harder for Allen and other students to get on a career track.

“We can help with that,” Cahill said. “We show you the shortcuts.”

These shortcuts are derived from students understanding their natural skills and abilities, he said. By using this as a basis, anyone can find the right job.

The right job is not just any job, Cahill said. The problem today is not a lack of jobs, but a difficulty in finding jobs that are compatible with students’ skills and abilities.

“People bounce around jobs naturally,” Cahill said. “So what they must learn to do is distinguish mismatches from failures.”

Students have an opportunity to explore their options from the many employers who continue to come to SU’s campus, he said. Students should take the time to show them their value.

“Learn your skills and you will impress employers,” Cahill said.

Cahill gave the example of JPMorgan Chase & Co., which appreciates students who can use Microsoft Excel.

Career Services reported that about 89 percent of SU graduates last year either found full-time employment or went on to graduate school within six months, Cahill said.

In addition, the unemployment rate for college graduates is much lower than the national average at 3.7 percent, The New York Times reported on Feb. 1.

“The economy will improve bit by bit,” said Dutkowsky, the economics professor. “There is no reason we cannot get the economy back to good health.”


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