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Graduating seniors face daunting job market

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Aaron Arellano
Staff Writer 

As unemployment has surged to historic levels during the past month, seniors graduating from the University of La Verne – with college seniors across the country – are looking to a scary job market. 

Ryan Lee, assistant professor of economics, said the unemployment rate for April alone could be 10% to 15%, higher than the worst times during the Great Recession a decade ago. 

The surge in unemployment is thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, and efforts to stop its spread across the nation, which has amounted to the shutdown of about 25 percent of the U.S. economy. 

“There is (some) hope once the economy is able to open back up, and people are able to safely go out again, the economy will revert back to where it was during March,” Lee said. “But as time goes on, and that reopening date keeps getting pushed back, it increases the chances that some businesses will shut down completely.”

Lee’s advice for most graduating seniors is to get familiar with filing for unemployment. 

Though seniors who have majored in health care and health related fields are more likely to find employment after graduation this spring, he said. 

Lawren Markle of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, which studies economic trends, said that all other industries are being affected right now. 

“Tourism, travel, entertainment, retail, a lot of these industries are feeling hard hit right now,” Markle said.

However, Markle noted that skill sets acquired through majors such as business management, finance and accounting can likely lead to employment in all career fields.  

“A lot of times, you can come out with a skillset which can be taken across industries. It depends on what your degree is in and how much relevance it has across industries,” she said. 

The LAEDC is currently figuring out how to guide unemployed citizens with these skill sets to find employment in this difficult economy. 

 “We are looking at a recovery strategy by industry,” Markle said.

ULV seniors, such as economics major Erick Flores, already worried about finding employment after graduation. However, now that this pandemic is crippling the economy and the unemployment rate has increased dramatically, Flores fears his degree will not be enough to find a job.  

“Businesses are losing a lot of money,” Flores said. “So when everything opens up again, they aren’t going to have financial backing to support new employees or even keep the same employees that they have. Anyone entering the job market at this time is going to have an incredibly harder chance of finding a job, as opposed to when the economy was actually stable.”

Flores’ fears are a reality for Mariah Baker, who graduated in February with a degree in business administration. Baker is currently working part-time as a bank teller but is seeking employment to jump start her career in healthcare administration. 

“I have done numerous applications in the health care field and other business areas and no one is calling me back, nobody is saying ‘Sorry, we’re not interested,’ no one is saying anything to me,” Baker said. 

Baker believes this is due to all these companies letting their own workers go, they have no time or money to hire new employees. Baker’s main concern for the foreseeable future is not being able to land entry level jobs, due to the significant increase of unemployment. 

“Now that all these people are looking for jobs, the ones getting picked are those who have that work experience as opposed to those trying to get their foot in the door,” Baker said. 

Aaron Arellano can be reached at aaron.arellano@laverne.edu.

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