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Archive for August, 2009

I was reading the excellent New York Times blog The Choice this morning and was happy when I read the top headline. A City Council Asks Washington to Forgive Student Loans. Jacques Steinberg explains:

In explaining its action, the council noted in its resolution that “the average debts of students graduating with loans rose from $18,796 in 2006 to $20,098 in 2007, according to the Project on Student Debt.” The Council argued that “forgiving student loan debt would have a stimulating effect on the economy.”

Specifically, the resolution imagines how “responsible people who did nothing other than pursue a higher education would have hundreds, if not thousands of extra dollars per month to spend, fueling the economy,” and that, “as a result, tax revenues would go up, the credit markets will unfreeze and jobs will be created.”

Now, you might not agree with the council, and you might have ideological problems with that kind of debt forgiveness. I think one of the best results of this issue being raised is that it brings the issue of student loans to the forefront. I talked about the issue a bit a few posts ago, and think it’s worth bringing up again.

I know my fair share of friends whose loan debt is way above $20,098. In fact, so many that I almost want to call shenanigans on that figure, but whatever. So, students, graduates, and anyone else–what do you think about this? Is a complete or partial debt forgiveness the way to go? Would it affect how you looked for a job? For example, if you suddenly had no loan debt, would  you be willing to take a job that paid less? I’m curious to hear your thoughts!

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As you get near the professional world and hear news of how gloomy the job market is, I’m sure you’re panicky. Don’t fret-there is some good news!

A new CareerBuilder survey completed in June finds that 48 percent of workers who were laid off from full-time jobs in the last three months have found new full-time positions, an increase from 41 percent in March. An additional 3 percent found part-time positions; down from 8 percent in the previous survey.

“Despite a challenging job market, workers have been able to find employment opportunities in a variety of fields,” said Brent Rasmussen, President of CareerBuilder North America. “Even though the number of workers who took part-time positions is tracking below last quarter, the number who found full-time jobs is notably higher. This is a positive indication that more workers who were laid off from full-time jobs were able to replace them with new full-time positions instead of taking part-time work as an interim measure to generate income. Part of this job search success is related to workers expanding career options to new industries and locations.”

Changes in Pay
Looking at workers who were laid off in the last 12 months and found new jobs, more than half (56 percent) reported they were able to negotiate comparable or higher pay for their new positions. Forty-four percent of workers took a pay cut, down from 49 percent in March.

Transferring Skills to Other Industries and Fields
Workers reported they are applying their skills to new areas. Similar to the last survey, 38 percent of workers who were laid off in the last 12 months and landed new jobs said they found work in a different field than where they were previously employed. Of those workers, the majority said they really enjoy their new positions.

Relocation
Workers are no longer just looking for positions in their own backyards. One-in-five workers (20 percent) who were laid off in the last 12 months and found jobs relocated to a new city or state; up from 13 percent in March. Of those who are still looking for employment, 44 percent reported they would consider relocating for a job opportunity; up from 39 percent in March.

Starting a Business
An increased number of job seekers have adopted an “if you can’t find a job, create one” way of thinking. Nearly three-in-ten workers (29 percent) who have not found jobs are considering starting their own business; up from 25 percent in March.

Altering Appearance
The competition for a smaller number of jobs is driving some workers to alter their everyday appearances in hopes of making a stronger impression. More than a quarter (28 percent) of workers who were laid off in the last 12 months said they have changed their appearance to make themselves more attractive to potential employers. Fourteen percent said they have lost weight, 8 percent have changed their hair color or hairstyle and 5 percent are dressing to appear younger. Teeth whitening, enhanced makeup and cosmetic procedures were also cited.

Comparing genders, both men and women indicated making changes to their appearances in hopes of appealing to potential employers, at 26 percent and 30 percent, respectively.

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