Will a Recession Find the Class of 2008 Serving French Fries?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Even with President Bush's recent claim that the U.S. is not heading toward a recession, college students remain concerned with the status of a downturn in the economy and what effect it could have on the future job market. Career specialists, however, say that the Class of 2008 should not fret about securing employment.

Matthew Brink, director of the Career Development Center at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, says that this year's graduating seniors should have no immediate trouble finding work if a recession were declared.

"So far we haven't seen any cautiousness on the part of employers regarding participation in career fairs, networking nights or on-campus recruiting and job postings," says Brink. "They have been as robust as we have seen in the past couple of years."

"It seems if there were to be a downturn and it affected the market, it would be minimal," says Brink.

Brink attributes this to the job market's tendency to lag behind the economy. Typically in the past, the market lags five to six months behind the declaration of a recession, allowing this year's graduating class to secure employment before hard times befall employers.

If the United States were to declare a recession, students could expect paid internships to be the first opportunities to go, says Brink. As layoffs occur, there would be fewer employees to support interns. On-campus recruiting would slow as well, Brink says, as human resources personnel, whose jobs create costs, would be some of the first employees laid off.

While Brink says this year's class may be "rosy" regarding the recruiting process, 2009's graduating class may bear the brunt of employers' economic troubles.

"We continue to encourage our students to expand their social network and complete internships so they are able to ensure their chances of employment even in a bad economy," says Brink.

Brink can be reached for comment at 610-660-3100, by email at matthew.brink@sju.edu, or by calling the Office of University Communications at 610-660-1222.

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