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Job prospects looking good for Central Georgia's graduating seniors amid recession concerns

Greg George, an economist at the school, says instability in the economy makes it hard to predict how long all the jobs will stick around.

MACON, Ga. — Graduation season brings excitement for the possibilities of the next chapter, but for seniors on the job hunt, it can also bring stress.

With worries of a possible recession, some may wonder how the job situation looks for the Class of 2023. We asked a Central Georgia economics expert.

"Ever since COVID, a lot of people have left the labor force," explained Greg George, an economist at Middle Georgia State University.

That's where the economic woes started. Employers struggled to keep up with hiring, leaving more positions open for graduates.

"It's been a very good job market for new graduates the past couple of years. And that seems to be continuing, at least for the high-skilled jobs," George said.

He says those are usually jobs that require a college degree. The industries with the most openings right now are accounting, engineering and law. Last month, there were around 235,000 jobs created.

"About 165,000 of them were in professional and business services, so higher skilled jobs," George added.

According to a study from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, hiring projections are up 3.9%. That statistic is down from the fall, where employers projected a nearly 14.7% increase in hiring.

"Last fall was an exceptionally severe labor shortage, so to compare it being not as bad, or a little bit worse rather than last year, that's OK," he said.

That's because you never want too low of an unemployment rate. George says there always needs to be a pool of available workers to fill gaps. He says it could be a sign of things leveling off, but warns there could be more uncertainty to come.

"We've never had a pandemic that's shut down the global economy for a couple years, and then come out of it with a labor shortage, so everything's just kind of wacky right now," George said.

He says he can't say what's going to happen in the future because of how uncertain things are, but hopes things level out soon.

George says those graduating high school may have a bit harder time finding a job, but the outlook is still good.

The unemployment rate in Central Georgia sits at around 4.1%, and the national unemployment rate is 3.4%.

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