EDUCATION

Graduates face job market, debt

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This year’s graduates are facing a slim job market and some of the highest college debt ever recorded.

How are new graduates dealing with the tough times?

Erin Shaw graduated from the University of Maryland Thursday. She now has a diploma, $32,000 in debt, and no job. With that, she’s slightly above the national average of $27,000 in debt for undergraduates.

“I’ve had a lot of interviews but I'm still trying to find something that will fit for me,” she said.

Shaw, an in-state student, is far from being alone in her worries. A study conducted by Twentysomething Inc., a consultant firm that specializes in young adults, reports that 85 percent of this year’s graduating students will be forced to move back home, Time reports.

In April 2011, the unemployment rate for adults 25 and older with a bachelor's degree was 4.5 percent, about half of the national average of 9 percent, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That doesn't mean it's easy for new graduates to find a job.

“It's either you take what you can get… or you hope and wait that something comes up,” said Latoya Mayne-Flood.

Graduates also have to compete with workers with more experience.

“We're definitely making it through the job market, we just need a little more experience first. It’s tough out there, though,” said Evelyn Burke.

Another option graduates mentioned was staying in school, pursuing a master’s degree. While this would help them avoid the job market, going back to school will likely put them in even greater debt.

Amanda Heilman has been searching for a job in agriculture for months.

“I'd like to be a natural resources police officer,” she said. “I just keep applying everywhere, I'm just waiting for people to call me back. It's really tough because everyone is graduating at the same time. So everyone is looking for the same jobs.”

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