June 29, 2020
As coronavirus continues to affect people’s school, work and daily activities, many are concerned with the future implications the virus will bring. The threat of recession, economic setbacks and even higher unemployment rates are just some of the issues that many fear will soon become a reality. As people are struggling to adjust to life amidst a global pandemic, one group that is particularly vulnerable to unemployment and financial struggles is the class of 2020. Students who graduated this past spring not only had their final semester cut short and an in-person graduation delayed, but they are now facing difficulties finding employment during the pandemic.
In past years, fresh out-of-college graduates have lined up jobs to begin after graduation, that would allow them to enter the workforce and achieve another adulthood milestone. Many times, internships students complete during their schooling aid them in getting job offers for after college. However, as coronavirus has financially impacted countless workplaces across the country, college graduates everywhere have experienced difficulty finding job opportunities in their areas of study and internships that often lead into full time jobs have been cancelled or cut short. Despite applying for jobs all over the country, graduates are continually receiving the same message: the company they are interested in is not hiring at this time. The inability of finding employment, coupled with the anxiety that comes with entering the workforce for the first time has plagued recent graduates with concerns for their futures.
After cases of coronavirus began spreading throughout the nation, almost every job that was deemed non-essential transitioned to remote work. Americans everywhere faced reduced hours, decreased pay and unemployment. Michigan, like many other states, has experienced much economic struggle since the outbreak. As businesses closed their doors indefinitely, unemployment in Michigan soared. In April, the pandemic caused Michigan to become one of only three states to have an unemployment rate reach over 20 percent. Most recently, it was reported that May’s unemployment rate totaled to 21.2 percent. At the end of May, it was reported that nearly 30 million Americans were receiving benefits from all governmental programs. The economic unpredictability that coronavirus has wrought has led many businesses to pause their hiring process until they can afford to employ more people. So how are recent graduates truly dealing with this setback in finding jobs?
Alexander Bahorski finished his last semester at Michigan State University in May like almost every other senior in the country: at home and online. After four years of intense work and late nights, this ending seemed incredibly anticlimactic.
“I felt upset because I feel that an in-person college graduation is a right of passage to transition from a student to a member of the workforce,” Bahorski says. Majoring in urban and regional planning with a minor in the city: environment, design and society, Bahorski’s future job entails him being able to help cities be developed properly and to implement planning techniques that makes them more sustainable, socially equitable and livable.
As most major cities have economically come to a standstill, Bahorski is experiencing hardship with finding employment and living independently. He is not alone, as graduates everywhere are attempting to enter a workforce amid a crumbling economy. “It has been a frustrating and slow process as COVID-19 has placed the hiring process of several positions on hold. In general, it seems that entry-level positions have also been more difficult to come by as employers may be currently lacking funds to hire more positions, again due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the negative economic toll it has had,” he says.
It is not just Michigan businesses invoking hiring freezes either. In addition to jobs in Michigan, Bahorski has sent over 20 job applications to workplaces in Indiana, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, California, Illinois and Texas and has received nearly the same answer every time. “I have not had any offers of employment yet, but in terms of feedback several places I have applied to have stated their hiring process is frozen and they are unsure when it will resume or if this position is going to ever be filled in the near future. I have also applied to several job postings and never received a response.”
Despite receiving little to no feedback from job postings, Bahorski tries to remain optimistic as he continues to send out his resume to different places. “I hope that I can find a place of employment relatively soon since staying out of a job for an extended period of time can be stressful.” He plans to continue his job hunt and is trying to not get discouraged by current unemployed status. “Everyday I check for new listings and I am trying to apply to as many jobs as I am qualified for. I am looking forward to hopefully hearing back soon,” he says.
Continuous rejection can take a toll on anyone, especially on those who do not come from financially stable backgrounds or whose families are reliant on them to provide income. This contributes to a vicious cycle of financial struggle that Americans everywhere experience. People of all different backgrounds are now struggling with the same inability of becoming employed and obtaining a steady income. As people are beginning to return to work, businesses are slowly beginning to adjust to the new normal. Hopefully, hiring freezes will soon end and graduates’ job search may commence. The class of 2020 has already experienced much letdown, and it is vital that they find work soon to support themselves, and achieve the future that they have worked so hard to obtain.
Claire Bahorski (@clairebahorski) is a junior at Michigan State University studying Human Capital and Society and Humanities Pre-Law, with concentrations in Public and Professional Writing and History. In her free time, she loves spending time with her friends and family and watching movies. She hopes to always continue writing, along with her aspirations of becoming an attorney.