College Graduates Face Weak Job Market


POSTED: Friday, May 11, 2012 - 6:40pm

UPDATED: Friday, May 11, 2012 - 6:47pm

Nearly 2,500 UTEP graduates will cross the stage at the Don Haskins Center on Saturday. Unfortunately, they're facing the weakest job market in more than a decade.
 "I'm ready to graduate. I'm excited," said senior Lorena Contreras.

According to government data, more than half of recent graduates either have no work or they're under-employed working jobs that don't even require a college degree.

“The economy is slow to turn around and when things start to get a little better with the economy, even then hiring lags a little behind and so we're seeing evidence of that in the job market now," said Dr. George Barton with University Career Center.

UTEP's Career Services does a survey at every graduation ceremony, asking students if they have jobs lined up. The December commencement survey didn't look good.

"It's not high. It's a tough economy out there," Barton said.

The director of Career Services said only about 25 percent of December graduates had secured a job. He said many seniors realize they have to work harder than seniors in the past.

“They are also coming to realize, in many instances, they're not gonna find them in El Paso. That's a possibility that they have to look around the country and they have to be willing to go where the jobs are," said Barton.

Lorena Contreras is graduating on Saturday and said she started her job search early.

"I've been looking for a job for one or two semesters," said Contreras. “I've been on about three to four different type of interviews and phone interviews, on-site interviews and they all look pretty promising so it's now waiting and maybe exploring a little more of my options."

But she knows that's not the case for everyone.

"I have a couple of friends who are still waiting to hear on some job offers," said Contreras.

But Dr. Barton said according to recent reports, there's a silver lining.

"The reports that they've gotten back and have distributed are that employers are that employers are gonna hire about 10 percent more this year than they did last year which is encouraging," said Barton.

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