NC State Economist Dr. Mike Walden – The College Job Market

It’s graduation time again, and many eager college grads will be pounding the pavement for jobs. What will they find? N.C. State University economist Mike Walden responds.

“They’re going to find a better job market than the last couple of years. And it’s, of course, really tied to the economy. The economy has been improving, but it’s certainly not a perfect market.

Now, I will say that for a person who has a college degree, they probably have the best job prospects of any group in terms of educational level. For example, since 2008, when the recession started, jobs for college graduates have actually gone up by 9 percent, whereas jobs for high school graduates have gone down by 9 percent.

So, I think there is a difference there in terms of getting more education making yourself more marketable. Now, in terms of college grads and their degrees, experts say that the best prospects for jobs will be in the sciences, technology and for business. But what college students increasingly are becoming aware of and those of us who work with them are increasingly become aware of is that the economy is changing so rapidly. A

And the nature of jobs is changing so rapidly. Surveys show that many employers say that what is more important to them are what’s called the soft skills, the personal characteristics. Does the individual indicate they’re going to show up on time and do the work, and their cognitive skills, their reasoning skills. That may be more important than the particular kind of major.”


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