Finding a job will be work for college grads

Here's the good news, college grads: There are jobs to be had.

The bad news?

Unlike the good old days, say last year, a decent grade-point average and some previous experience isn't a practically guaranteed ticket to a steady paycheck.

"It's the most undesirable job market I've seen in my tenure of 20 years," said Francene Gilmer, director of the James Stuckert Career Center at the University of Kentucky.

About half of four-year grads had a job before they left school last year, according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Some 75 percent were employed within six months.

It's too early to tell exactly how those numbers might change come May, but it's clear it will be a different world now that the word "stimulus" has become a regular part of dinner table conversation.

"Tight and contracting but not impossible," is how the market is described by Carla Ockerman-Hunter, owner of CareerSpan, a Lexington career counseling service.

First, having a degree does increase your chances of finding work. In Kentucky, the overall unemployment rate is at 7.8 percent for December, the most recent month available. But, according to statistics collected by the Census Bureau, in 2008 the unemployment rate for those without a high school diploma was 9 percent. The unemployment rate among people with a bachelor's degree or additional higher education was comparatively low 2.6 percent.

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