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The new plastics

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

STATEWIDE Each year more students graduate from Oregon colleges. But with the economy struggling and a glut of graduates, finding a job can be more difficult than any final exam.

“Students are going to struggle more this year than past years,” says Oregon Employment Economist Jessica Nelson. And they’re being hit with a double-whammy. While the most recent numbers show Oregon hovering around a 6% unemployment rate, the job market for recent graduates is becoming more competitive, Nelson says.  So where are the jobs for college grads?

“Accounting,” says Nelson. She chalks up the reasoning to the demand placed on businesses after the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, also known as the Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act of 2002.

But it’s not an accounting job that a majority of University of Oregon graduates are after. “It’s government work,” says University of Oregon Career Center director Deb Chereck. “The Peace Corps and Teach for America have grown in demand exponentially over the last five years.”

Chereck thinks a combination of 2008 being an election year and the fact that more students are coming from a community service background may have something to do with the surge in those fields, as well as the increase in jobs from political campaigns.

Nelson says Oregon’s unemployment rate likely will remain high for the rest of this year, but job growth is predicted to return in the first quarter of 2009 and continue through 2010.                 


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