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In 2016, US College Graduates Still Face an Unemployment Problem

Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

How Bad is the Unemployment Problem for College Graduates?

If you are in college right now, there is a good chance that you will either end up with a job that pays a low salary or you will face another problem: unemployment. I know that these are not the words that you want to hear. But regardless of the Obama Administration’s claim that unemployment nationwide was down to 8.1% back in 2011 and 2012 and things are getting better, the reality paints a far different picture. In 2011, 53% of the US population under 25 years old that had a Bachelor’s degree was either unemployed or underemployed. Think about that for a moment. That is over half of those in that category and that is too many people that are lacking a decent income. My heart goes out to people in America that are struggling. It really bothers me that so many young people that graduated college and worked so hard cannot find the jobs that they want. Some of these people have student loans to pay back. And the worst part of all is that student loans cannot be left unpaid if a person declares bankruptcy. I was fortunate enough to not have out take out a loan when I was in Journalism school many years ago. I got financial assistance from my state’s Department of Rehabilitation. I also filled out what is called a FAFSA form or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. But not everyone is that lucky. The motivation for this essay comes at a time when those in the age group 30 years old and under are increasingly frustrated. Before I go any further here, be advised that this is not a political issues article even if it may seem like it is.

What Young People Are Usually Told By Career Counselors

We are then advised by career counselors and other people that more education is the answer to our unemployment problem. What more education will do is to put you into more debt with no guarantee of being able to land a job. Graduate school is expensive. I am considering writing about why graduate school is not necessarily the best decision to make. These days, even mechanical engineers are having all kinds of trouble finding decent jobs. The days of people getting the traditional American Dream are all gone. Forget about having two cars, a huge house and all of these other material things that you can’t seem to live without. At the end of the day, it is not about how much stuff we own because those material things won’t bring you lasting happiness. At this point, it about doing what you can to survive until if and when the US economy picks up again. It is a different kind of dream that we will have to have. The dream of survival is probably what we will have to call it. It is possible to find a job but it will take a lot longer for the average person to find one.

Some Good Perspective On the US Unemployment Situation

Although the mainstream media tells us that things are somehow improving, statistics show that only 58.5% of working age people in this country even had a job. That isn’t an improvement at all. The Democrats in Washington are saying whatever they want to just to get people to vote for them. The Republicans are doing the same thing. Both parties are trading blows and attacking each other instead of really discussing the issues that are important to people like me. I wrote this essay at the time saying that whether the next president would have been Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, the realization was that there would still be a massive unemployment problem. There will still be millions of people on food stamps and that number may increase in the coming years. As I had wrote earlier, the Democrats are at least partially responsible for the economic difficulties of the US as of May 2016.

This isn’t about voting for the Democrats because we think they will be less bad than the opposition party. The United States is declining economically and both parties seem to be unwilling or they just don’t know how to fix this mess. It doesn’t help at all that the United States Congress is filled with people that just want to line their pockets with money and many of them are so corrupt. Remember John Edwards, the man that wanted to run for president in 2008? People like him exist in large numbers in our Congress. The political system in America is filled with people that are really corrupt and care only about themselves. A change of perspective is sometimes what we need to turn things around. Even though, there is corruption in the US Congress, this writer has realized that this is not true of ALL of them. Congressmen like Adam Schiff do exist these days thankfully! But this written piece isn’t about which major party would be better at addressing the nation’s economy. It is about the difficulties that the generation known as “the millennials” and college graduates are having when it comes to finding work.

And before someone says to an unemployed person to go and get a job at McDonalds, it really isn’t that easy anymore. Even fast food places aren’t hiring. I attempted to get a job over at my local Flame Broiler and I even know the owner personally and he still couldn’t hire me. Furthermore, even if a place like that does hire a person, they won’t pay those people anywhere near a living wage. You cannot support yourself on $8-10 an hour. Not with the way that the cost of living in the United States has exploded. But the fact is that fast food and retail places will be reluctant to hire a college educated person because they know that this person will leave the second that they are able to find something better. These kinds of places would prefer to hire a 19 or 20 year old whom they can keep for a while and pay them poverty level wages all the while they maximize their profits. Employers get away with paying these low wages because they can do it. They know how desperate people are for jobs. This is the case even in corporate jobs. Companies consider employees as things they can get rid of easily at a moment’s notice. It is so sad that corporations have ruined the lives of so many people. I used to work for a corporation so I know how they function and operate. It is money and profits that matter to these companies. They are in business to make money. They aren’t concerned about how many people need jobs. They are concerned about their bottom line. This is why there are layoffs and job losses at these kinds of places.

When I was working at my corporate job, a few months before my layoff, our regional vice president Wayne Waldron tried to convince us that everything was going to be fine even though there were changes going on in the mortgage market. When I was laid off, the company laid off 21,000 other workers at that time. Things were not just fine. It is obvious that corporations will lie to their employees and pay them as little as possible.

A College Graduate


What is the Solution to get Young People Back Into the Workforce? There Is No Easy Answer

Now your next question might be how I get into the workforce if I’m a college graduate? There is no easy answer to this question as I don’t have a magic pill to give you. I’ve tried applying for jobs online, sending my resumes to people that I know and even going to an employment agency. There is no solution that is going to be easy. We are in for a very rough ride in the coming years. I’m glad that I still have my parents that help me otherwise I’d probably be in a homeless shelter somewhere. Okay maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration but without my parents, I’d have a much more challenging time dealing with my situation. I would say that at this point, just use every strategy that you can to find a job. Send resumes, network, go to job fairs and do what you can do to try to get into the labor force. In the past I would have mentioned that we need to change our attitude if we want to find work. And these words come from someone who is one of the most positive people.

But the thing is that while an attitude change is a good thing, which alone won’t be enough. There are obviously factors that are beyond our control. Sometimes there may be as many as 300 people applying for a job. This means that for every one person that gets hired, the other 299 will not get hired. It takes an element of luck to even find a job these days.

You are not a failure if you cannot find a job. It is not your fault. Even if everyone in the world stopped supporting you, I am here to support your ambitions. My readers are my friends too. The world is rough, competitive, and it is crazy at times. The economies in many countries are failing and that’s what the failure is. You are clearly a bright and capable person that just became affected by the current economic problems. I’ve been affected by these hard times too. You are not alone. There are just not enough jobs to accommodate over 323 million people as of 2016. It is all about survival now. And times are going to get a lot tougher before they get better. Unless we can somehow stop the outsourcing of jobs and provide a more business friendly environment for companies to operate, it is going to be tough for this country’s college graduates. The problem is that the cost of labor and materials in the United States is so high that companies are moving out of state and many times out of the country. I live in California which had the 2nd highest unemployment rate behind Nevada at the first time of writing. That’s nothing to be proud of. California’s image as the Golden State went out the door a long time ago.

A Short Video Explaining the Unemployment Problem For Young People

I have no crystal ball to predict when the country’s economy will get better to the level that makes the American public become satisfied. But I can tell you this: feel free to consider me as part of your support system if you wish. Good luck to all college graduates that are looking for work in this economy. That stated, some of you may now ask the question? How are we doing as a country to help our college graduates? The US Commerce Department estimated that in the first quarter of 2016, the economy grew at a rate of 0.8% according to the New York Times back in May 2016. This is even though there is universal acknowledgement that the manufacturing and mining base still need significant gains and improvement.

Now that we are in 2020, I’m sure the question on the minds of many people is how does the job market fare for college graduates in the 2019-2020 school year? Before we go any further. Let me attempt to end this article on a more positive kind of note. According to an article written by the University of Denver in May 2020, Professor Wayne Cascio, Ph.D. described the situation in this way: he said that we live in a world that is volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. While that may not sound like the most positive way to end this article for now, it is certainly better because the same article says that during this current situation with the pandemic, students have the potential to offer employers one major advantage and that is that they have the ability to be resilient.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2016 Ara Vahanian


Ara Vahanian (author) from LOS ANGELES on October 02, 2016:

Thank you for this comment. While there are no easy solutions, I think that both major parties must come together to work things out-IF they can and that remains to be seen.

Faizan Hitlab on October 01, 2016:

i think there should be fix problem regarding youngster

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