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Students find a gleam of hope in a gloomy economy
Published: Thursday, April 12, 2012
Updated: Thursday, April 12, 2012 10:04
With recent employment figures showing mixed results on the road to recovery from the worst economic downturn in recent history, graduating Santa Clara students may have less to worry about than other college graduates.
A study by the Office of Marketing and Communications on the class of 2010 six months after graduation revealed that Santa Clara students were more employed than the national average with a significantly higher starting wage than the national average.
The study shows that Santa Clara graduates have a median salary of $44,500, compared to the national average of recent grads of $26,756, according to a report by the New York Times.
Part of the reason that Santa Clara students are so successful in employment is the emphasis on internships. By the time of their graduation, 70 percent of Santa Clara students have at least one internship on their resume, according to Career Center Director Elspeth Rosetti.
About 90 percent of employers hire from their own internship pool or from applicants who have gone through an internship, according to Enzie Lagatutta, the assistant director of Experiential Education in the Career Center.
Recent numbers showing disappointing hiring results in the U.S. might be a concern for Santa Clara graduates.
Employers pulled back sharply on hiring last month, a reminder that the U.S. economy may not be growing fast enough to sustain robust job growth. The unemployment rate dipped, but experts said it was largely due to discouraged job hunters giving up the search for work.
While the jobless rate trickled down a percentage point to 8.2, the lowest since January 2009, the number of jobs actually created last month was half what Wall Street forecasted.
The Labor Department says the economy added 120,000 jobs in March, down from more than 200,000 in each of the previous three months and well below economists’ forecast of a 203,000 gain.
“We welcome today’s news that our businesses created 121,000 jobs and the unemployment rate ticked down,” Obama said at the opening of a White House forum on women and the economy. “It’s clear to every American that there will still be ups and downs along the way, and we’ve got more work to do.”
Christopher Probyn, chief economist at State Street Global Advisors said, “It’s very disappointing. It looks as if March is going to at least be a little plateau in economic growth.”
But the trend is still moving in a positive direction according to Steven Wood, chief economist at Insight Economics. “The labor market is steadily, if slowly, strengthening,” he said.
Hiring has, in fact, picked up sharply since December, adding up to the biggest four-month hiring spree in two years.
Economists said the unusually warm winter weather likely boosted hiring.
The tepid job market growth in March, though, could endanger consumer spending, a major driver of economic growth.
When Obama took office in January 2009, the U.S. economy was shedding hundreds of thousands of jobs, and the unemployment rate was 7.8.
It’s been on a rapid climb since August, when it stood at 9.1 percent, according to federal figures.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has cautioned that the economy still doesn’t have enough momentum to significantly boost hiring. The economy is expected to grow only about 2.5 percent this year, he said.
Retailers shed nearly 34,000 jobs in March, and temporary help firms dropped almost 8,000 — a potentially bad sign for the job market because companies often hire temp workers before adding full timers. Manufacturers, meanwhile, continued to add jobs, hiring 37,000 workers in March.
It remains to be seen how the changes in the labor market will affect graduating Santa Clara students.
Contact Matthew Rupel at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4849. Paul Wiseman of the Associated Press contributed to this report.