Graduates express optimism about job prospects in uncertain times

For the thousands of new graduates stepping into the labor force, experts say it is prime time to find a new job.  But will they be stepping into the water as the wave of fruitful employment opportunities begins to recede?

As a few Saint Mary’s graduates threw their caps high into the air Sunday, their confidence also ran high.  With a new master’s degree in hand, many say they are optimistic they’ll be able to land a new job.

"I’d have to say I’m a solid 8 or a 9 mostly because I have two job interviews lined up and I’m in the third round for a job interview tomorrow actually," said Karan Nijjar, who studied business administration and technology.   

Experts say the timing for new graduates is excellent, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy to get a job.

"People say this is like the perfect time to look for a job but it kind of is hard because everyone’s looking for a job and especially in social media which is what I want to do," said Ashley Timmers.

Michael Bernick, attorney for Duane Morris and former director of California’s Employment Development Department, says California’s labor market is the best he’s seen in 40 years with nearly 1.3 million new openings.

"These aren’t in just one occupation or one sector, but they are across occupation, across sectors, across geographies so this is really the best time to look for a job," said Bernick.

But as rosy as the economy may be, thorns are starting to show.

California’s unemployment claims have ticked up slightly in recent weeks, and with inflation still running over 8%, the Fed is raising rates to slow the economy.

"Certainly the inflation rate is very concerning since we don’t have it under control nationally and its impact on employment," said Bernick.

One graduate said she sees a potential downturn on the horizon, but isn’t concerned, yet.

"I would be nervous if at that time when things are on the decline and I don’t have something secure then I’d definitely panic more but I’m trying not to think that too far ahead," said Whitney Ibarra, who aims to work in advertising or PR.

It’s impossible to predict precisely when the hot job market will cool and reverse, but it will happen eventually, so Bernick offers this advice to new graduates.

"Don’t miss the opportunity.," said Bernick. "Get moving into the labor market and don’t wait because there’s a lot of indication that the economy is going to slow down, and when it does it’s going to be more difficult to get in."