Economy leaves young professionals in a tough spot - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Economy leaves young professionals in a tough spot

by Jamie Grey

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- The labor department says the number of people seeking first-time claims for unemployment benefits has climbed to a level similar to the recession of the early 1990s. 32,000 new unemployment claims were filed last week.

The job market is a frightening place for many young Iowans these days. Many of the 20 and 30-somethings are cautious but optimistic.

Thursday, the organization Young Professionals of Dubuque held a symposium to talk about ways the future workforce can succeed in today's market.

For young professionals like 24 year-old Natalie Sacco, starting out is a learning experience, especially now.

"Being a new graduate from school in the last few years, at first I wasn't thinking too much about it. In the job I'm in now, I've been there for a year and a half, but now as everything is starting to happen with the economy, I'm definitely thinking more about saving and what I am investing," Sacco said.

Unemployment numbers and lay-offs are big concerns for young workers.

"Anytime that we're seeing increased unemployment and a shrinking employment base and shrinking employment opportunities, I think the young professional needs to take note of that. The symposium today is a positive reflection of what individuals can do," YP Executive Committee member Todd Link said.

Here are some of Link's suggestions:

  • Get proper training for the job you want through classes, internships, or working your way up.
  • Network and meet people in your field.
  • Be an asset to your employer so if layoffs come around, you have a better chance of staying.
  • Create a budget to protect your savings and your credit score.

Sacco says her top priority is being one of her company's top employees.

"The thing with a lot of us starting out in our jobs is we're definitely at the bottom of the totem pole. I think one of the most important things is making yourself a value to your company and demonstrate you are worth your salary," Sacco said.

Sacco won the Young Professional of the Year award at the symposium.

Online Reporter:  Jamie Grey

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