Students worry about their futures in economic crisis

By Colleen Vest

Taylor Lemick said the state of the economy makes her nervous.

“I’m not positive what I want to do after I graduate, so I guess I should figure it out and start researching internships, especially with unemployment on the rise,” said Lemick, sophomore in Media.

With the bank bailout, possible auto industry bailout and an inconsistent economy, the unemployment rate continues to rise, causing students to question their employment future.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate rose .4 percent from September to October. Currently, it is at 6.5 percent, its highest level since March 1994.

“The US economy is effectively in a recession, even though it hasn’t been declared yet,” said Anne Villamil, University economics professor. “The demand goes down, so companies cut production and cost, and people end up being laid off.”

It can be difficult to find jobs during a recession, but in the long term, employment rates will stabilize, Villamil said. But with higher unemployment levels, debt can go up, which may put a strain on the financial sector.

“I currently do have a job, but I worry about what the market is going to look like when I graduate next year,” said Katie Johnson, junior in Business. “Right now I am looking for an internship, but I haven’t heard back yet. I think that’s worrisome because of the state of the economy.”

The Career Center, 715 S. Wright St., in Champaign, is one of several tools that give students options to search for companies and available jobs.

“Across the industries, there definitely are jobs,” said Keri Pipkins, assistant director of the Career Center.

“It’s just that companies may not be recruiting the same numbers.”

Some large companies may be scaling back, but students can look into jobs from small to mid-size companies and the federal government, which are still hiring for various positions, Pipkins added.

“By perfecting resumes and researching companies before applying, students will stand out to employers,” Pipkins said. “Students need to be proactive, and networking is really the best way to find a job in any market, especially a tight market.”

Lemick is optimistic there are still opportunities out there.

“Companies are still hiring interns, so underclassmen shouldn’t be too concerned,” Lemick said. “More companies are offering full-time jobs to former interns.”

Students can login to i-Link and Vault through the Career Center Web site to research companies and internships, Pipkins said. Indeed.com and simplyhired.com allow students to search for specific jobs. AlwaysIllinois.org, a network for students and alumni of the University where alumni can post jobs, is a useful tool.

Pipkins said students who don’t have a clear career goal to visit the Career Center or their college career office to start discussing job industries to look into.

“I think the biggest thing students can do is not panic,” Pipkins said. “We see students panic and assume there aren’t jobs out there, so they don’t do anything, which is the worst thing to do.”