April 22, 2019 | 59° F

As NJ unemployment rates rise, Rutgers student employment remains steady

Photo by Rutgers.edu |

Melissa Blake, associate director of Strategic Communication & Marketing of Career Services, advises that students utilize the many resources Career Services has to offer if they cannot make it to an in-person event, as a way to jump-start their careers. 

New Jersey's unemployment rate has spiked, surpassing the national average nearly an entire percent. 

Over the last month, unemployment in the Garden State has seen a steady increase, nearly passing the national unemployment rate by 1 full percent — the first time a split of this size has been seen since 2015, according to an article from NJ Advance Media

Despite lagging behind the national average for some time, New Jersey saw hope for a turn around in 2015. At the time, former Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) corrected reports that placed New Jersey above the national unemployment average — citing its decrease to 4.6 percent in 2017, according to a previous article by NJ Advance Media

"That means our job growth in New Jersey, is four times higher than previously estimated for 2016," Christie said. "So all of this previous reporting about New Jersey lagging the rest of the country turns out to be incorrect."

Christie praised the one-tenth of a point that separated New Jersey’s unemployment rate from the national average — a number that is now approximately 10 times that amount, according to the article. 

Since last summer, New Jersey’s rate began to increase once more and maintained a steady incline until it tapered off in January, according to the article.

New Jersey’s rate currently sits at 5.0 with the national average at 4.1.

Away from suggesting an increased rate is indicative of a poor economy, the national unemployment rate only accounts for prospective employees who have yet to find work. If an individual is without work and has given up in his pursuits, the government does not factor them into the overall number, according to the article. 

Despite this, Rutgers students seem to be unphased by high unemployment rates. 

Earlier this year, The Daily Targum reported that amid increases to the national average, 86 percent of Rutgers students who graduated with a Bachelor's degree either enrolled in graduate school or found work after graduation. That is 5 percent higher than the national average, according to The Rutgers University Career Services post-graduate survey. 

Career fairs, “Road to Industry” programs and drop-in sessions at Career Services are some of the ways Rutgers brings its students resources that jumpstart post-graduation activity, said Melissa Blake, associate director of Strategic Communication & Marketing of Career Services. 

“Just because you couldn’t make it here in person today, doesn’t mean that you can’t pursue an opportunity with an employer in our office anytime because that’s what we do all year round for students,” she said. 

Forty-one percent of graduates reported that campus recruiting services facilitated their activities after graduation, Blake said. 

Janet Jones, the director of Employer Relations at Career Services, said having Rutgers on any resume or diploma has a prodigious effect.

“Often times, when I’m trying to describe Rutgers' brand to employers, besides intelligent and academically focused, they’re leaders, they’ve gained experience through internships ... They’re scrappy, and they’re ready to work ... They’re persistent ... It’s the work ethic. It’s not feeling entitled," Jones said.

Christian Zapata

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