The recent economic downturn has been hardest on young people aged 20 to 24, according to a recent U.S. Labor Department survey. Unemployment among this age bracket rose last month, bucking national trends.

Overall unemployment decreased from 9 to 8.9 percent from January to February, but unemployment among 20- to 24-year-olds rose 0.2 percentage points to 15.4 percent in this interval.

As Georgetown seniors prepare to graduate this spring, the news is a sobering reminder of the  magnitude of the current recession.

Despite national concerns, however, Career Center Executive Director Mike Schaub does not believe that these numbers will be significantly lower for Georgetown’s graduating seniors in 2011.The Career Center’s survey of graduating seniors for 2010, which will be released soon, indicates that Georgetown graduates have a competitive edge, even in a tough job market.

“Georgetown seniors who graduated in 2010 fared very well in terms of post-graduation employment despite a challenging economic climate,” Schaub said.

Schaub pointed to a decline of 4 percent in the number of students “seeking employment” from 2009 to 2010 as significant evidence that Georgetown graduates have remained relatively unaffected by the recession.

According to surveys given to graduating seniors from 2004-2009 displayed on the Career Education Center website, on average 60 percent of Georgetown graduates have found employment while about 22 percent have chosen to attend graduate school.

In 2009, investment banking companies, finance companies and the government were three of the leading employers of graduating Georgetown seniors, according to the Career Center survey for that year.

Schaub believes that Georgetown students remain a fit for government positions, but said that this sector does have the potential to cause problems for graduates seeking posts.

“There continues to be some uncertainty with federal and local government jobs due to budget challenges,” he said.

The economic news for graduating seniors nationwide is worsened by the fact that the Department of Labor has also reported the highest rate of unemployment among college graduates of all ages since 1970, according to USA Today. While the unemployment rate for college graduates is far below the rate for those who hold only a high school degree or less, the bureau reports that 5.1 percent of Americans with at least a bachelor’s degree find themselves jobless amid the current recession.

The Career Center’s preparation of Georgetown’s seniors may be the key ingredient in battling the lack of job openings permeating the current recession, according to Schaub.

“Through the Career Center’s educational efforts, we have encouraged seniors to begin looking for employment early, to network often and to take a proactive approach to their job search,” Schaub said. “I think the message has gotten across to students and that they have prepared well for their post-graduation plans.”

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