Job seekers: New report offers hope

Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 1:53 PM

Ron Campbell

Arecent U.S. Department of Commerce report of an increase in new home sales offers additional hope for a slowly recovering economy and, specifically, for more jobs down the road. With May coming in at a 7.6 percent increase from the previous month and a 19.8 percent increase over May 2011, the news is encouraging.

As economists track the health of the economy, new home sales, along with existing home sales, are part of the all-important “housing market” economic indicator. While existing home sales declined slightly at 1.5 percent from the previous month, they are up a healthy 9.6 percent from May 2011.

Additionally, the median sales price for existing homes is now at $182,600, up 7.9 percent from a year ago.

This all translates to an improving housing market and more jobs ahead.

The Utah Department of Workforce Services reports that the National Association of Colleges and Employers conducts an annual survey of employers that requests information about hiring prospects for the coming year. This year’s report stated employers plan to increase hiring activity by 9.5 percent over the class of 2011.

As an economic indicator, the only downside to this report is that the increase was more a result of filling vacancies consequential to attrition, and not as a result of planned expansion in employers’ workforces. However, if you are a recent graduate, or currently unemployed or underemployed and looking for work, the reason that the job is open is of little or no significance.

Starting salaries for graduates with a bachelor’s degree are also improving. With each area of discipline showing an increase, the smallest increases were in Math and Science and Health Science, each coming in at a 1.1 percent increase. Business came in at a 3.8 percent increase, and Computer Science came in at a healthy 4.1 percent increase from a year ago.

The Workforce Services report also adds some words of advice for the recent college graduate:

• Be realistic about your opportunities in a recovering job market. It will be challenging.

• Use all the resources you can to help locate opportunities. Start with friends and family, the career services placement division at your college or university, the alumni association at your school (like the business school, engineering school, etc.), and online job search resources including the Department of Workforce Services at

• Network. In addition to friends and family, identify professional and trade groups in your major. Use search engines on the Internet.

• Consider accepting a position that might not be exactly what you are seeking. It will enable you to get experience and get your “foot in the door.” The internal job market with an organization is sweeter than the one you just left, i.e., access to better jobs rather than the ports-of-entry positions.

Above all, do not get discouraged. Remember, even with the Utah unemployment rate at about 6 percent (2.2 percentage points better than the rest of the nation), 94 percent of the workforce found work; so can you.

For additional helpful information about the job market, go to

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