Statewide job loss should not hinder graduating students

By Patrick Wade

The state of Illinois posted its biggest job loss since 2005 this July, dropping 11,500 jobs since June, according to the August Illinois Monthly Economic Review.

The review is a compilation of state economic data put together by University economics professor Geoffrey Hewings, director of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs. July was only the second month this year that the statewide job market took a hit after Illinois lost 6,100 jobs in April.

“The job market has been very slow in the past six years or so,” said Fred Giertz, professor of economics at the University. “This is more a continuation of that.” He added that Illinois is still not back to the level of job growth it was at before 9/11.

The July dropoff came after two months of improvement in the job market, when the state added more than 12,000 jobs in May and June.

“The fact is, these things happen,” Giertz said. “Any one month, you can have a good deal of randomness.”

Fortunately for University graduates, Giertz said the recent dropoff will not have an effect on their attempts to get jobs.

“The national markets in the last year or so have been very good for college graduates,” he said. “And that’s very likely to continue.”

In the last 12 months, the nation has added 1.87 million jobs, a 1.37 percent increase from the previous year, according to the Monthly Economic Review. In that same time period, Illinois has added just more than 54,000 jobs, a 0.92 percent increase.

“You have to look at the longer term trend,” Giertz said. “And the longer term trend in Illinois has been job growth, but slow growth after the recession in 2001.”

Frank Demonte, who graduated from the University last year with a bachelor’s degree in finance, said he did not have a problem finding a job.

“I found my job after a month of interviews which I began right after graduation,” Demonte said. “I had some interviews while on campus as well, but I did not find the right fit for me until the summer.”

Demonte found a job, with a little help from his cousin, as an assistant derivatives trader at the Chicago Board of Trade.

“I truly couldn’t be happier with the job I have,” Demonte said. He added, however, that his job search was not entirely perfect.

“There were times when I got frustrated with my job search, thinking I may have to take a job either doing something I didn’t have passion for or taking a job for considerably less pay,” Demonte said.

Giertz said that the growing job market might not stay that way for much longer, however.

“We’re at a point where we could actually go into a mild recession,” Giertz said. Although it is about three times more likely to continue growing, he said, subprime interest rates could begin to hurt the job market.

Demonte said that through his experience, searching for a job can be frustrating, but it is important to not get discouraged.

“If you don’t find what you want right away, just keep searching,” he said. “When you do find the job you want, absolutely go for it.”