College grads should have a relatively stress-free job search this year - but economists worry for the Class of 2019

College grads should have a relatively stress-free job search this year - but economists worry for the Class of 2019

stanford university graduation commencement

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Oh, the places you'll go.


Unemployment in the US fell below 4% in April for the first time since 2000, Business Insider's Akin Oyedele reported.

US companies also added jobs for a record-setting 91st consecutive month in April, according to Friday's monthly jobs report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The unemployment rate for college grads aged 25 and older is just 2.2%, Mark Hamrick,'s senior economic analyst, told Business Insider.


That's cheery news for everyone, especially the college graduates who are looking for their first full-time job.

"For the college class of 2018, this year's employment outlook, broadly speaking, is bright," Hamrick said.

There's plenty of room for new job seekers in the market, Ellen Zentner, chief US economist at Morgan Stanley, told The New York Times on Friday.

"I love it," Zentner told the Times. "We were able to create enough jobs to accommodate new seekers and keep the unemployment rate steady."

Some job markets are more flush than others. Hamrick pointed to the typical hubs like San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles as excellent cities for new graduates to look for jobs, as well as Washington, D.C., Seattle, Houston, and Austin.


And, not surprisingly, as LinkedIn reported in December, "tech is king."

Machine learning engineer, data scientist, sales development representative, and customer success manager were all highlighted as the top emerging jobs in LinkedIn's December report.

unemployment April 2018

Skye Gould/Business Insider; data via FRED

But the explosive job growth we've seen since the end of the Great Recession could soon wrap up, Hamrick said.

"The economic expansion is nine years old this summer," Hamrick told Business Insider. "As the expansion becomes more mature, it's a natural byproduct that the number of jobs being added is lower."


The number of jobs being added each month has been on a downward trend. The U.S. added 164,000 jobs in April, compared to an economic forecast of 193,000, according to Bloomberg. It's also the lowest April job growth seen since 2012, according to BLS data.

The median amount of jobs added per month for the first four months of 2018 was 170,000, according to the BLS dataset. That's the lowest growth over the same time period since 2010.

Hamrick said that means the Class of 2019 and beyond can't simply rely on an economic upswing for a good job - they'll need to invest in their skills.

"Beyond the classroom, most employers want prospective employees who've had work experience," Hamrick told Business Insider. "Soft skills matter, meaning possessing the ability to consistently show up to work on-time, being able to hold a constructive conversation or interaction with others and being a congenial team member or even a leader."