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Davis, California

Monday, May 27, 2024

California job market drops lower in rankings

A Gallup poll last week revealed California as having the third worst job market in 2010, just behind Nevada and New Jersey. This is down two spots from 2009.

According to Gallup, most of the 10 states with the worst job markets were finance states in the Northeast and the housing-depressed states of the West.

As the housing market continues to suffer, Gallup predicted that the states with the worst housing conditions would not see great improvements in the job market in the near future.

In addition, job markets in states with the worst budget problems, such as California, New York and Illinois, are likely to be most affected by cutbacks in state and federal spending.

Marcie Kirk-Holland, project manager for liberal arts and business at the Internship and Career Center, recommended that students from this year’s graduating class remain as positive as possible as they begin applying for jobs.

“There are lots of stories about how difficult the job market is today.  But, it is important for students to know that there are people getting jobs,” Kirk-Holland said in an e-mail interview. “It is important that they do not let the difficult market keep them from trying.” 

Kirk-Holland also said that students should take action soon and suggested utilizing the tools offered by the ICC, such as workshops that help those graduating hone their job search, resume writing and interviewing skills.

The last Internship and Career Fair of the year is for all majors and will take place in the ARC Pavilion on April 7.

Zaana Hall graduated from UC Davis in December with a double major in sociology and communication. She is now working as an independent living services facilitator for On My Own, Inc., a non-profit organization that aids people with developmental disabilities. She said she was surprised by the difficulty of finding a job.

“I think it was really difficult,” Hall said. “I had a lot of experience interning and did the [UC Washington program], but it’s really limited in Sacramento, so that was one thing that was hard. In D.C., I wouldn’t have had as much trouble because there are so many organizations.”

Hall is correct – according to the Gallup poll, Washington, D.C., has the second best job market in the nation, right behind North Dakota. Gallup cites as a reason the capital’s high percentage of federal government workers, reflecting the government’s expansion of its payrolls by three percent since the recession began three years ago.

Beginning in August, Hall will be entering the Peace Corps as one of 66 students recruited from UC Davis in 2010. UC Davis was ranked 16th in the list of large universities that produced the most Peace Corps volunteers.

According to The New York Times analysis of data from the American Community Survey of the United States Census Bureau, entrance into public service jobs by young college graduates has increased in recent years as more traditional jobs have become more difficult to secure.

In 2009, 16 percent more graduates worked for the federal government than in the previous year and 11 percent more for non-profit groups.

Such statistics are reflected in the increase in applications to programs such as AmeriCorps and Teach for America, the first of which has had a tripling of applicants since 2008. Teach for America has seen a 32 percent increase in applicants since last year.

Senior international relations major Micaela McNulty is currently in the process of interviewing for Teach for America.

“I think part of why I applied for Teach for America was definitely because I thought it would be difficult to find another job,” McNulty said. “You know, they kind of guarantee you some stability; you’re guaranteed a salary and they place you in a region… So it’s a little less scary than going out on your own and just trying to find an organization to work for.”

Similarly, McNulty said a friend of hers, who graduated last year and is now in the Peace Corps, was motivated by the unpromising job market and the loan deferment he received as a member.

Visits by both Teach for America and the Peace Corps are common on campus and make the programs particularly accessible, McNulty added.

Despite difficulties, Kirk-Holland maintains that employment after graduation is possible.

“People only need one offer,” she said. “Perseverance really does pay off.”

MELISSA FREEMAN can be reached at city@theaggie.org.


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