Financial Planning | Organizational Development

It’s not a recovery until people are working

Help With the final notes of "Pomp and Circumstance" still ringing in their ears, a new class of graduates is invading the workforce.

It's not the workforce they envisioned invading when they enrolled in school a few years back, though, is it? Unemployment is holding steady around 10 percent and many employers are still in cost-cutting mode, leaving some graduates weighing unpleasant options just to make ends meet as their post-graduate lives begin.

It's not all bad news, though, especially for accounting majors.

In an interview with NPR's Reneee Montagne, National Association of Colleges and Employers Director Edwin Koc says accounting is one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dim job market.

"The offer rates for accounting majors are higher than for any other of the majors that we took a look at," Koc said. "It's not a great year, even for accountants, but by comparison with everybody else it's better."

According to Koc, other top majors include computer science, engineering and mathematics.

The bad news? "We ask our students how long that they've been looking (for work), and the average for those that have found a job (is) anywhere from six to nine months," he said.

Still, the accounting numbers might be good news for the economy. Steve Twedt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that accounting jobs are considered a bellwether for the economy as a whole; the number of accounting jobs increases as the economy improves.

"The emerging demand for accountants ... is an indication that orders are picking up and businesses need extra hands to process them," Twedt wrote. He then quoted Andrew Sassaman, Pittsburgh-based division director for Robert Half Management Resources, as follows: "I see we are slowly but surely coming out of this."

In my mind, it's hard to say the economy is improving when so many people are still unemployed, but what do I know? I have a job. The questions at hand are these: If you're an employer, are you hiring? If you're a graduate, are you working?

At this point, those might be the only answers that matter.

Want to learn more?
Take a refresher course in "Everyday Economics," an exploration of how economics can be used to explain everyday behavior, in a myriad of real life situations. The six-hour course will be held on Oct. 29 at the MACPA's Columbia Center. Get details and register here.


Bill Sheridan