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A pat on the back for the class of 2011 — you’re about to graduate from college and take your talents to South Beach the real world. There’s even some good news waiting for you: the U.S. job market is looking up in 2011.
However, even though the job scene and economy are improving, there is still some bad news: The job market is still pretty bad.
The Dec. 2010 employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed a 0.4 percent decrease in the unemployment rate, falling to 9.4 percent. Unemployment for college graduates, which was 5.1 percent in November (its highest since 1970), fell to 4.8 percent in December. Still, the numbers are quite high.
Some industries, like banks, consulting and engineering, have more opportunity at the moment; others, such as non-profits, are struggling, said Lonnie Dunlap, the executive director of Northwestern University Career Services. Overall, the job market is still struggling, but there are opportunities out there for students, especially those with college degrees.
According to a recent report from the Labor Department, applications for unemployment benefits were at their lowest level as 2010 ended since July 2008. And the job market for college graduates, specifically the class of 2011, has improved: a recent poll conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers indicated that employers expect to increase their hires.
Dunlap says graduating Wildcats have no reason to worry — so long as they didn’t procrastinate their job search. She says that students who have difficulty finding a job usually start late, and thus do not have the information necessary to build connections and find opportunities.
However, Dunlap is excited about this year’s job prospects, as the job market for soon-to-be alumni has shown improvement for the second straight year. “More students have offers earlier, and they have multiple offers, which is very encouraging,” Dunlap said. “College graduates have a huge advantage, and you have a Northwestern degree too.”
So as Wildcat seniors get set to depart Evanston, there is clearly some reason for optimism — but not too much quite yet.