North Dakota Boasts Lowest Unemplyment Rate in the Nation
Students still unsure of post-graduate job oppurtunities
Published: Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 17:10
From a young age, people pose the stereotypical question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Answers tend to consist of things like: astronaut, firefighter, soldier, doctor and rock star.
As one gains in experience and years, those answers may change. Rarely does the student consider future job placement. Rather, it is assumed the coveted bachelors’, master’s or doctorate degree will result in gainful employment.
According to Michael Ziesch of Job Service North Dakota, unemployment in North Dakota is at a record-setting rate compared to that of other states. At 2.7 percent versus a 7.3 percent national average, it is clear that the state’s economy is strong. The question becomes, “How does that impact the student, lecturer or graduate?”
Building a resume may be at its prime right now in the state of North Dakota. Along with the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, Forbes named it this year’s second best state for business and careers, bringing North Dakota up one spot from last year. However, some are skeptical.
Ranae Arneson of the Fargo Moorhead Human Resources Association stated, “Low unemployment rates, while a significant measuring stick of a healthy economy, cause problems in that it becomes harder to fill entry-level jobs. As growth occurs, it becomes an issue of supply and demand.”
Of the 500 NDSU students polled by Hospitality Management students at random in the Memorial Union, 86 percent indicated that they hoped they would be able to obtain jobs in their field after graduation. Meanwhile, 34 percent of the respondents indicated they were becoming aware their employment opportunities were not disclosed upon selecting a major.
Jeff Roy, a 2010 NDSU alumnus (M.S. Natural Resources Management), confirmed that while the low unemployment rate has not directly affected his post-graduate employment status, he believes there is oversaturation in the job market.
“Graduates compromise a lot,” he said. “I was always told that you were able to select your job when you graduated. What I found is that you accept positions that are available, regardless of job function, standard hours or benefits.”
Samantha Eidenschink, a junior in public relations and advertising, said she believes almost all the graduates she has spoken with are still looking for jobs.
“It gives false hope to the students still enrolled,” she explained.
Trailing right behind the state of Virginia, NDSU’s home state boasts a 3.7 percent job growth rate as well as the third best economic growth rate in the nation. Forbes credited the booming oil industry to North Dakota’s strong economy.
The Bakken shale formation is where the oil is produced. It sits mostly in western North Dakota and has led to strong growth in employment and record low unemployment in its core area. Called the “Bakken Effect,” it has resulted in low unemployment rates in counties more than 100 miles away from the oil producing area, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
Allison Pillar, a junior in new media and web design, advises caution.
“I also think it’s a distraction from the fact that the oil won’t last forever and people may have jobs, but maybe not sustaining ones,” she said.
One thing remains clear. It is important students understand they must do their homework and research opportunities as well as the risks associated with their chosen fields.
With student loan debt skyrocketing, post-graduate employment will become increasingly important. According to Arneson, it is not unusual for students to develop relationships with companies early through employment or internships and carry those on through graduation and beyond. She believes the focus will shift over time.
“The bachelor’s degree is the new high school diploma,” she said. “Students will find that in order to advance, they will either need to put more time and energy into building work skills or building that academic resume.”