FORT WORTH — The unemployment rate is right at 8 percent; 12.5 million Americans were searching for work in April, and that number is about to grow much larger as new college graduates enter the market.
Graduation is a time for celebration, but it is tinged with uncertainty for scores of students worried about finding work.
Several schools in our area held commencement ceremonies this weekend, including TCU, where nearly 1,500 graduates received their diplomas.
"It's exciting, it's kind of nerve-racking at the same time," said TCU grad Brett Musselwhite. "Just getting ready for the real work, it hits you just like that."
Some are already meeting stiff competition for good jobs. A recent Associated Press study suggested that college graduates have a 50 percent shot at finding work after graduation.
Denise Rodgriquez is one among many graduates who has felt some unease about the future. "What are we going to do after we graduate? The job market is so bad," she said. "Finding a job is really hard."
But Rodriguez understands that finding work can be a job in itself. "Knowing that it was going to be very hard to find employment, I started interning in February," she said.
Just this week, Olivia Stribling, another TCU grad, received a job offer from a Dallas-based advertising agency. And according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the job outlook may be improving. It says employers plan to hire about 10 percent more new graduates in 2012 compared to last year.
Still, Rodriguez plans to continue her education before entering the market, but believes she'll have a bright future. "It's difficult, but with TCU's help, you can get through it," she said.
A majority of the graduates we talked with on Saturday were planning to continue their education for various reasons.
Every one of them was optimistic about the job outlook.
When I asked one TCU grad how she landed her job, she said it came down to networking.