Graduates' Prospects

December 4, 2020 • Volume 30, Issue 43
Can job seekers navigate the pandemic-battered labor market?
By Vickie Elmer


With COVID-19 resurging, business bankruptcies rising and economic uncertainty spreading, the hiring outlook for the Class of 2021 is muted or down for the first time in almost a decade. Upbeat career prospects for last spring's college graduates suddenly turned bleak after the coronavirus shut down many sectors of the U.S. economy. And the situation this school year is not much better, with fierce competition in the sectors that are still hiring, such as technology companies and others that have adapted to pandemic-related changes in the economy. A quarter of U.S. employers are skipping the fall recruiting season, and others are undecided on how many interns or new recruits they will hire. Many of those who are hiring likely will seek experienced workers or former interns. Experts say the impact of graduating in a tough economy will probably linger for a decade or longer, reducing long-term earnings. And economists predict fewer new jobs will be created in the United States for years to come compared to previous years.

Photo of student Katherine Koeppel's sash with Zoom logo, at the University of Southern California. (Getty Images/Los Angeles Times/Mel Melcon)
A Zoom logo on Katherine Koeppel's sash draws attention to how she finished her bachelor's degree at the University of Southern California during the coronavirus pandemic. The classes of 2020 and 2021 face an uncertain job market as the coronavirus has caused a steep recession. (Getty Images/Los Angeles Times/Mel Melcon)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Colleges and Universities
May 20, 2022  Free Speech on Campus
Dec. 04, 2020  Graduates' Prospects
Sep. 11, 2020  Higher Education in the COVID Era
Oct. 26, 2018  Issues in Higher Education
Nov. 20, 2015  Greek Life on Campus
May 08, 2015  Free Speech on Campus
Jan. 02, 2015  College Rankings
Jan. 18, 2013  Future of Public Universities
Feb. 04, 2011  Crime on Campus
Jan. 07, 2011  Career Colleges
Apr. 21, 2000  Community Colleges
Feb. 16, 1996  Academic Politics
Jan. 05, 1990  What Should College Students Be Taught?
Jul. 27, 1984  Colleges in the 1980s
Jan. 23, 1981  Plight of America's Black Colleges
Apr. 11, 1980  College Admissions
Sep. 06, 1974  College Recruiting
Mar. 01, 1974  Academic Tenure
Sep. 14, 1966  Graduate School Crush
College Financing and Funding
Congress Actions
Consumer Behavior
Cost of Education and School Funding
Economic Analyses, Forecasts, and Statistics
General Employment and Labor
Infectious Diseases
Online Education
Small Business
Student Movements
Undergraduate and Graduate Education
Unemployment and Employment Programs
World War II