Find a Student Angle on Unemployment

With unemployment at 6.5 percent and predicted to rise to 8 percent by mid-2009, the impact will be far-reaching. Even to teens. Perhaps especially to teens, whose families could be affected and whose own job prospects diminished.

Poynter’s Al Tompkins suggests ways to cover this story and offers links to helpful background information in his Morning Meeting column today.

Tompkins reports:

Now, just more than 10.1 million people are unemployed. It is a number that is too big to really understand, which is why we need to put faces on the stories we report. Here are some ideas to help you get started:
  • The college student. In four weeks or so, winter graduation will occur, and a whole new generation of freshly-minted graduates will be looking for work. Graduation is often preceded by a job fair. When is the job fair, and what are recruiters hearing? There are also “virtual” job fairs. Do these fairs work?
  • The military recruiter. When people get hard-up for work, the military might become a more attractive option, even in wartime. Are recruiters seeing more interest in this? Is a steady job a motivation? The Huffington Post raised the question of whether the military might be a more attractive option now that Obama has been elected and promises to get America out of Iraq.
  • Holiday Helpers. Just about anyone who wanted a job used to be able to find one during the Christmas season, when retailers would hire seasonal help. Not this year, though.  
Consumer electronics chain Best Buy Inc. said last month that it would hire fewer seasonal workers this year. The Minneapolis-based company said it anticipates hiring 16,000 to 20,000 employees for this holiday season, compared with the roughly 26,000 people it hired for the season last year. The company is also leaving the decision up to the stores as to how many staff to hire, rather than the corporation setting the staffing levels.

This year’s holiday hiring levels are also being depressed by the rash of store closings and liquidations that have picked up in recent weeks.

Find the people in your community who are affected. Talk with them. Spend time with them. Tel their stories.

Wendy Wallace


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