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Young grads face tough job market

When Nathan Morris graduated from Troy University in July, he never thought he’d still be in the same boat today as he was then — without a job.

“All the places I’ve looked to get a job with have either said they are on a hiring freeze or have said they just aren’t hiring because they don’t have enough revenue,” Morris said. “A lot of places will call me back and say we just don’t have the time and money to train somebody right now.”

Morris, who was a photojournalism major, spent his college career doing freelance work to build a portfolio, and even with experience he is still struggling to start a career.

Like Morris, others trying to enter the work world for the first time in the midst of economic struggle have met many dead ends.

Josh Wooden, coordinator of Career Services at Troy University, said he isn’t sure how hard the economy is taking a toll on recent grads, but he has been hearing a lot more from jobless alumi.

“We have had an increase of alumni looking for jobs,” Wooden said. “A couple months ago, I heard some companies say they were on a hiring freeze.”

The biggest shock for Wooden, however, was in planning the school’s annual career fair.

“We have our career fair next Tuesday, and a lot have said due to budget cuts, they won’t be able to be a part of the fair,” Wooden said. “I haven’t ever heard of that before.”

While Wooden said the economic crisis may not be too widespread to youth yet, he is concerned about the future.

“With the economy the way it is now, there are going to be people to have more experience than a recent grad,” Wooden said.

“I’m sure an employee would take advantage of that.”

Some Troy University students preparing to graduate said the economic situation is something that weighs heavy on their minds.

“I think it really puts a strain on people who graduate with no experience at all,” said Andy Seiler. “Luckily I have worked, but I think it will be tougher for me still.”

Jake Blocker, another senior at Troy, shared Seiler’s concern.

“The only reason I’m worried is with the current situation in the economy, I’m concerned about hiring freezes,” Blocker said.

In Pike County, according to the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations, unemployment has climbed from 3.8 to 4.5 percent in a year, with 713 people without jobs as of Aug. 2008. Compared to last year’s 596 unemployed residents, 117 more people are without work.

Still, however, there are some college students who think the economic situation will work itself out before they have to enter the “real world.”

“It probably will be harder, but it might get better before then,” said Ronnie Crews, a Troy University senior.