Commentary

May Jobs Report is Grim for Recent Graduates

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The first Friday of every month, one of the most important statistics in economics is released – the jobs report showing the number of jobs added to the U.S economy over the course of the month.

Last month, only 38,000 jobs were added. As a recent college graduate, this low number is particularly troublesome, especially since May is the month that many young graduates are supposed to go out into the “real world” to seek employment.

As it stands now, the millennial unemployment rate hovers around 14%, much higher than the 5.4% general unemployment rate President Obama consistently brags about.

In order to figure out why my generation is struggling so much in the job market, we need to take a step back and examine all the factors and possibilities.

Does the fault lie among employers? Many entry-level jobs are now demanding years of work experience that make it nearly impossible for recent graduates to compete.

Or is it because competition has significantly increased as millions of young professionals seek the same jobs? Some of my peers at Bates who were outstanding students and completely qualified for the jobs they were applying to were beat out by more experienced applicants vying for the same entry-level positions.

Or could the fault of unemployment rest in the hands of millennials themselves? Maybe it’s due to social media, or the faster pace of life today, but my generation is all about instant gratification. When we want something, we want it now. Sometimes we don’t see the point of waiting or working long periods of time to achieve our goals. It can be argued that this need of instant gratification trickles over into our mindset for getting a job.

The millennial unemployment rate stays high in spite of the fact that April saw around five million job openings. Some blame this on the job skills gap because employers can’t find workers with the right skill sets. So are colleges not teaching us the right skills, or are millennials not applying to jobs outside their comfort zone because they are so focused on their perfect fit?

Perhaps this is too much inference, but it is a common problem I saw at my college. If we aren’t successful in applying for our ideal jobs, some of us become frustrated and stop seeking employment altogether.

Regardless of the reason, the May job numbers do not echo the booming economy that President Obama continuously boasts about. 14 percent of young people wouldn’t be unemployed with 53 percent of still living at home in a strong economy.

About Lauren Stimpert

Lauren is a senior at Bates College. She currently serves as the Vice President of the Bates College Republicans as well as the Secretary for the Maine Federation of College Republicans. She is a New Hampshire native and self-identified political junkie.

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