Weekly Industry Crib Sheet: Top Cities for Recent College Grads

Plus: Jobless Claims Increase and Label Shipments to Grow.



Top U.S. Cities for Recent College Grads
As summer draws to a close, many recent college graduates are facing the same challenges as the rest of the country: looking for jobs in an environment of high unemployment. As more people look for work among fewer available positions, job-seeking 2011 grads may choose to expand their search by considering relocation.

New findings help paint a realistic picture of the current job market and the cost of living in the most popular cities for young adults.

The fourth annual “Top 10 Best Cities for Recent College Graduates” list from Apartments.com and CareerRookie.com — CareerBuilder.com’s college job search website — is based on: the ranking of top U.S. cities with the highest concentration of young adults (aged 20-24) from the U.S. Census Bureau; CareerRookie.com’s inventory of jobs requiring less than a year of experience; and the average cost of rent for a one-bedroom apartment from Apartments.com.

The total data point to the following as the top 10 best cities for recent college grads and the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment:

  1. Hartford-New Haven, Conn. ($1,047);
  2. Cleveland, Ohio ($695);
  3. Boston, Mass. ($1,625);
  4. Denver, Colo. ($994);
  5. Minneapolis, Minn. ($941);
  6. San Francisco, Calif. ($1,560);
  7. Washington D.C. ($1,679);
  8. Philadelphia, Pa. ($1,068); and
  9. Atlanta, Ga. ($813).

CareerBuilder reports that 46 percent of employers plan to hire recent college graduates this year, up from 44 percent in 2010. Many of these job seekers may consider moving to a new city to put their new diplomas to good use.

Jobless Claims Rise Sharply
New initial jobless claims unexpectedly rose in the latest week reported, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Seasonally adjusted unemployment claims for the week ending September 10 rose to 428,000, an increase of 11,000 from the previous week and the highest level of claims since June. The four-week moving average also increased, rising 4,000 to a total of 419,500.

The increase in unemployment claims was unexpected, with economic analysts forecasting new claims to drop to 410,000 for the week, Reuters reports. Excluding a single week in August, weekly jobless claims have stayed above 400,000 since early April.

“In a healthy recovery, the U.S. typically adds more than 250,000 jobs a month and weekly claims usually fall well below 400,000 for a prolonged period,” MarketWatch explains. “Economists say the U.S. would have to add hundreds of thousands of jobs each month for several years to pull the unemployment rate, now at 9.1 percent, back down to pre-recession levels.”

The latest weekly jobless claims report included Labor Day, but federal holiday weeks typically show a decrease in claims due to there being one less day to file for benefits. The continuing rise in claims indicates challenging conditions in the job market, which is expected to remain sluggish in the near-term future.

“Bank of America Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. are among companies planning to keep trimming payrolls, raising the risk that consumer spending will stagnate,” Bloomberg News reports. “Signs the labor market is struggling to gain traction puts more pressure on President Barack Obama, lawmakers and the Federal Reserve for additional steps to spur the economy.”

U.S. Label Demand to Grow through 2015
The annual value of U.S. label shipments is expected to climb from $15.8 billion in 2010 to $20 billion in 2015, a 4.8 percent increase, according to a recent report from the Freedonia Group.

Pressure-sensitive labels will continue to dominate the market, accounting for 70 percent of total output and growing by 5.2 percent through 2015. However, they will also face mounting competition from labeling alternatives, including stretch sleeve, heat-shrink and in-mold labels. Among these alternatives, heat-shrink labels are forecast to expand at the fastest rate through 2015.

“Paper will remain by far the leading stock material in the label industry for the foreseeable future. However, it will continue to lose market share to plastic, which will account for more than one quarter of label shipments in 2015,” according to a release on the findings. “Plastic stock materials will gain popularity due to their aesthetic and performance advantages over paper, as well as a broad shift in favor of plastic packaging.”

While the majority of U.S. label shipments are printed using flexography, other printing methods, such as lithography, screen, letterpress, digital and gravure are also expected to grow in prominence in the next few years. Digital printing is forecast to make double-digit annual gains due to trends favoring shorter label runs and mass customization.

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