Students work over holiday with the future in mind

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    Despite reports of a growing economy, junior nursing major Katelyn Marsh, along with many other TCU students, is still experiencing consequences of the recession by spending time during winter break at work.

    Marsh’s employer, Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, has required longer working hours instead of hiring additional employees due to the recovering economy, she said.

    “They want everyone to work more hours because it costs a lot to train more people,” Marsh said.

    According to an MSNBC article, a total of 151,000 jobs were added by employers in October, the first monthly increase since May, but falling short of the 200,000 needed to start returning the 15 million unemployed Americans to work.

    Dean Homer Erekson of the Neeley Business School said the unemployment rate often can reflect inaccurately those who have been out of work.

    He said the unemployment rate consisted of those who were out of work and actively looking for work. This does not include those unemployed workers who have become discouraged and stopped looking for work.

    “They stop looking for work so that the unemployment rate actually looks better,” Erekson said. “It is a complex variable.”

    Senior environmental earth resources major Ryan Forrest will be working at Norwood Land Services LLC over the holiday break for the first time.

    Although it was a personal decision to work over the break, concerns of obtaining a future career helped make that decision, he said.

    “I think that if I have a job now, maybe they’ll offer me a full-time position after school and [I] won’t have to worry about finding a job,” Forrest said. “I know that’s a big factor.”

    According to the MSNBC article, the job increase did not affect the unemployment rate, which remained at 9.6 percent for the third consecutive month.

    Junior nursing major Jenna Jacobsen said that although she would be working as a sales associate at Victoria’s Secret for the third holiday season regardless of the economy, she has seen stores and other prospective workers affected by the economy.

    “I think it’s affected stores on hiring people,” Jacobsen said. “During the summer it was really hard for me to find a job as opposed to in the past.”

    Erekson said the Neeley Business School and the university as a whole have seen an increase in the number of students who have acquired internships and careers in the last year. Both have been looking at ways to expand and improve career services, he said.

    “That includes not only preparing students for interviews and trying to attract more companies to come to campus, but it’s also [a] continuous effort to establish the national brand of the Neeley School and TCU,” Erekson said.

    Whether students were facing longer work hours, hoping to acquire a permanent job or just looking for another way to earn some spending money, Jacobsen said she has experienced some economic improvement. This could be due partially to the holiday season, she said.

    “I think [the] holiday season is very good for our economy,” Jacobsen said. “Retail sales go way up, and I’m sure it causes an increase in everything.”

    Forrest agreed that after a period of stagnancy, the economy has been slowly recovering. Regardless of what the future may hold, working over winter break will help him save money for the future, which has always been a priority.

    Bureau of Labor Statistics from September-October 2010 [numbers in thousands]

    September 2010 October 2010

    • Employed 139,391 139,061
    • Unemployed 14,767 14,843
    • Unemployment Rate 9.6 percent 9.6 percent
    • Not in Labor Force 84,164 84,626
    • People who currently want a job 6,202 6,255

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