Difficult Internship and Job Market for Students



By Stuart Esrock, Ph.D.

U.S. employers increased hiring in August but the pace has slowed and it could be a sign of a difficult economic recovery from the pandemic.  It also portends a tough job and internship search for students, certainly into the spring. 

The U.S. Labor Department reports unemployment fell to 8.2% in August from 10.4% in July.   Employers added 1.4 million jobs in August, but that number was boosted by temporary hires to complete the U.S. Census, and the increase was down from 1.7 million positions added in July.  

Some of the job recovery occurred in the manufacturing and service sectors according to the Labor Department. Despite the hiring, the U.S. economy has recovered less than half of the 22 million jobs that were lost this spring as the pandemic worsened.  

The director of the University Career Center, Bill Fletcher, said students need to be aware of the situation since it is more important than ever to prepare in advance for the internship and job markets. “We always advise students to network, update their resume and LinkedIn profiles, practice interviewing, explore all job/internship sources and listings, send out applications, and follow-up.  But now more than ever, being proactive and assertive is crucial.  Students who sit back and wait for things to happen for them in terms of internships and entry-level jobs are going to have big problems in this economy.”

The Labor Department also reported that about 25% of people with jobs in August were working virtually/remotely.   Fletcher believes the trend will continue in the future and students need to be prepared for that.  “Many employers have made a smooth transition to virtual work without any reduction in productivity.   Given the likelihood the pandemic will not end soon and also the fact that remote work has the potential to reduce overhead costs for companies, I think many of our students who enter the job market in the next two years will be working remotely.”