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Your Take: How Have You Felt The Recession?

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While the national unemployment rate is up around 9%, the unemployment rate for college graduates is much lower. At the end of last year, with national unemployment at 9.8%, it was only 5.1% for those with a bachelor’s degree. While I’ve often stated that a college degree is a defensible moat, that statistic really drives that home. I don’t know what the figures are like today but I suspect they aren’t much different.

So the question I have this week is how have you felt the recession? I’ve been fortunate in that the majority of my friends in the area have bachelor’s degrees and, to my knowledge, they’re all still gainfully employed (many are in defense and there’s still many billions available in the industry).

How have you felt it?

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27 Responses to “Your Take: How Have You Felt The Recession?”

  1. David M says:

    I also have a college degree and have been employed by the same company for over 20 years – did I feel the recession – no.

  2. Lisa C says:

    My husband and I have been very fortunate. We’ve actually doubled our household salary. I was a stay at home mom and he was a social studies teacher early last year. As of July 2010, he became a vice principal after graduating with his masters which was completely paid for other than books. He has the ability to make a much higher salary in the years to come. As of January of 2011 I started working full time from home. In March I gave birth to our 2nd child and only took a few days off of work (since working at home, I pretty much was just checking emails in between taking care of the kids) and now we are paying off debt at a high rate and saving at the same time. We just found out that we are expecting our third child but are on course to be able to pay cash for a new to us van and have an emergency fund. We are blessed and we try to be responsible with our money. Did we feel the recession…no.

  3. cubiclegeoff says:

    The pay freeze didn’t help, and with costs rising, we’ve felt it. But my wife and I have been employed the whole time and are pretty secure at this point. We both have Master’s degrees. But it also depends on the industry. For example, the architecture industry was decimated by the recession and most companies I know of lost a huge number of employees (all of which presumably have a bachelor’s).

  4. Shirley says:

    Being retired, we have not really been much affected by the recession other than to have not quite as much left over for savings at the end of each month. But we have seen some young friends have their lives turned upside-down and that makes us hurt for them.

    One without any formal education beyond high school is falling further into debt just trying to meet his rent while he works three part-time jobs. He may soon have to move back in with family.

    Another with trade school training is making ends meet but cannot seem to save anything, which will be a disaster as his children get older. Costs will continue to rise but his salary won’t keep up at nearly the same rate.

    Many are taking any part-time jobs they can get and trying to stay afloat. Some have opted to move back in with parents or siblings and share costs. Those who opted for the work force instead of education are now regretting that decision and seeing the results close up.

  5. cvargo says:

    I graduated december 2010 my wife in may 2011. I received a promotion/new position (in my field) after graduating where I was employed while in school (Tuition reimbursment). My wife got an elementary education degree and is found a job teaching in our local district. So we found jobs, but the salaries are lower than we expected, but atleast we have jobs and can sustain ourselves, and look into possibly starting a family in the next few years.

  6. Jessica says:

    My husband and I are both Aerospace Engineers and we have been employed the whole time at the same company as consultants/contractors. So far we haven’t felt the effects much at all. There was about a 6-12 month period where there weren’t many new projects starting up and there seemed to not be as much of a surplus of jobs like there usually is. Normally, our skills set (structural analysis) is in high demand and it’s hard for companies to hire enough of us (let alone people who are good at it) so it seems like the recession reduced the available jobs to pretty much match the number of qualified workers. Now we are both getting contacted by head hunters about once or a week or so, which is more like normal.

    • billsnider says:

      Took me back when I read your occupation. I have a BS and MS in Aerospace engineering. I was an air breathing propulsion engineer.

      I left the field many years ago when the economy went down and the company I was at later went out of business.

      I made my second career in business and did quite well. Analytic skills came in very handy.

      Bill snider

    • billsnider says:

      Took me back when I read your occupation. I have a BS and MS in Aerospace engineering. I was an air breathing propulsion engineer.

      I left the field many years ago when the economy went down and the company I was at later went out of business.

      I made my second career in business and did quite well. Analytic skills came in very handy.

      Bill snider

  7. Glenn Lasher says:

    On the negative: My day job attempts to adjust salaries for exempt employees in accordance with market conditions. This has usually resulted in a more-or-less stable standard of living. Thankfully, the company will only adjust up, not down, based on this criterion. There was no adjustment in two recent years. (Yes, I recognize that we are spoiled to have this at all in the first place).

    Another negative: my mother lost her job. This impacted me because I cosigned a loan with her (I know, I know, but you know, I think you would too, if it was for a medical necessity).

    A positive: my wife has become an expert in couponing. She’s not insane about it, like some of the folks you see on TV, but she repeatedly reaps benefits of around 10-20% of our grocery bill.

    Another positive: my employer has finally started to look into migrating from proprietary software to open-source, greatly reducing our licensing and support costs. This migration is not complete (and probably never will be), but it is a start.

  8. bloodbath says:

    The recession has affected most areas of my financial life but mostly my rental income. In addition to ‘free rent’ incentives I’ve had to reduce rent by 20% to fill vacancies. I’ve even had to reduced rent for lease renewals to encourage my best tenants to stay.

  9. Kara says:

    YES – I feel the recession, absolutely. My husband went to college for four years and has not had a full time, professional job since graduating for more than a year. The first professional job he had, the office was closed. Since then, he has only had very unsteady contract work.

    I served as an AmeriCorps*VISTA, and luckily was able to exit the program with a full time position – but only because a staff member fell ill. During my last few months I was looking HARD for any job I could to no avail. I have a college degree as well.

    We are just getting by. We live on our needs and try to ignore the wants as much as possible. We are avid coupon users, make the vast majority of meals at home and know how to shop smart to cut expenses. I price shop services like internet (a mere $40 that is our largest monthly splurge) and car insurance. We’re trying to pay off college debt, keep up with bills and not accrue even more debt on credit. It’s a constant, worrisome struggle that we were not in until AFTER the recession hit.

  10. Ben says:

    We experienced solid growth until the 3rd quarter of 2008. Since then we have been somewhat flat but haven’t lost any ground. Infact we have experienced some increase but nothing like before. Diversification has helped our company. When one sector begins to lag others seem to pick up. It also helps that we are in Texas.

  11. Husker Avid says:

    As a senior couple we are most hit by the FED policy of low interest. A good deal of our savings are in money markets which pay next to nothing now. Our retirement stock funds are invested in money markets so those funds’ value has decreased.

    We are blessed with plenty but are concerned for the future. How long can the government keep its policy of low interest?

    • billsnider says:

      I am being hit the same way.

      I would suggest to check to see if your money market funds are FDIC insured. If not, GET OUT FAST.

      Bill Snider

  12. Eddie says:

    I’m working, thank goodness, but the lack of options has definitely hit my morale.4-5 years ago, it was realistic to say “well, worst comes to worst, I find a different job”, and just having that exit smoothed out the roughest days nicely.

  13. Hannah says:

    I graduated in 2008, so I thought I was going to be unemployed for awhile! Luckily my boss from my internship gave me a lead on a job opening and I got a job straight out of school.

    I’m still here today 3 years later. I didn’t feel the recession, but because of it I’m smarter with money and I know there are no guarantees.

    I feel for the people who are hurting financially right now, my heart goes out to them.

  14. Steve says:

    I didn’t feel it. The company I am currently working for had a hiring and pay increase freeze. But, they got approval to hire me despite the hiring freeze; and since I was new my pay was not “frozen” to any two-year-old salary.

  15. daenyll says:

    Graduated from undergrad and was job searching when recession started, couldn’t find a position really in my field, so went back to grad school for masters. Found a PT intern/tech position in a research start-up company in the same town as the school and worked thru degree. Was eventually offered full time position with the company and have steadily been paying down both graduate and undergraduate loans down much ahead of schedule, and have a decent start on an IRA. It’s been a bit stressful, but I’ve done ok. My dad has been out of steady work for well over a year now and I’ve had to bail him out on a few emergency house repairs recently that have set my personal plans back some, but I’m grateful for what I have.

  16. govenar says:

    There’s a recession?
    (actually I have felt it in my stock investments going down)

  17. Katherine says:

    Graduated college with Bachelor’s degree in 2005. Been employed with same company for 5 1/2 years, including one promotion. Biggest issue for me has been the housing bubble … learned the hard way that prices come can come crashing down … set my plans way back and unable to refinance because now it’s an investment property that’s too underwater with loan not owned by Fannie/Freddie.

    I also think that true charity cases have been hit the hardest … people don’t have as much to give … and those hit by all of the natural disasters in the past couple of years have had the double whammy to deal with.

  18. echidnina says:

    Have I felt the recession? Sure have… My partner graduated in 2009 and I just graduated. He got a 1-year contract job, and now we’re both looking for work. Positions are scarce, especially for applicants with little to no experience in less than high-demand fields.

  19. kate says:

    My soon to be x husband who is a dentist claims he pays over $91,620 in taxes annually. My lawyer says no way is this possible?

  20. Wilma says:

    I have always been frugal with my money, used coupons, carry a list and calculator in the grocery store, watch my utility usage, reuse reuse reuse reuse and then reuse one last time, never had cable or a dish, shop at consignment and thrift stores and just plain keep an eye on all things frugality in general. Yes I’ve felt it but not as bad as others. When frugality is etched on the brain your half way there.

    • Shirley says:

      I believe that when we grow up with parents who were naturally frugal (not stingy, mind you) and saw it work for them, we take on that nature also. It certainly worked well for us and we have never gone without anything we truly needed although wants were often put on hold. I shudder when I see people spending beyond their means unnecessarily.

  21. Lynn B says:

    I haven’t had a fulltime job since January 2009 since I was laid off from a trade magazine. I was a senior news editor. I was rehired six weeks later as a partime freelancer. I’m now 57 and don’t know if I’ll ever hold another professional fulltime job. I had to sell my NYC coop apt. Luckily, I had lots of equity; I’m now relocated in a college town in a western state and have a roommate–my 89 year old father. It’s a good move for both of us in lots of ways. I live in a mobile home community for seniors–I now qualify, and continue to write for my previous employer.

  22. Goner says:

    Yes — watching my investment balances gyrate by thousands in one day and tens of thousands in a week — the first few times was quite shocking, especially when in the down direction, but eventually I got used to it. I have a small business — just a few people doing highly specialized work for mostly overseas clients so income has been steady. I live very frugally so cash flow is ok. Main effect has been the crazy swings in investments.

  23. Kathryn says:

    Pretty much everyone I know, including myself has been hit hard. I have a bachelor’s degree with a background in banking and have had three jobs in past 7 years and now currently unemployed again and trying to yet another job and very concerned for my future as jobs are scarce and with being older with experience find that employers prefer younger people with only a few years of experience as they can pay them less.

    One job I took was in a call center for near minimum wage pay as it was all I could find and that job ended up being outsourced to another country and the few jobs left in the states were moved out state. It was harder on others as some had been there for 20 or more years and had never worked any place else.

    The last job had over 100% turnover rate in a period of a few months and management’s expectations were impossible to meet. Even then, they were trending on hiring people to work 32 hour weeks so they would not pay them any benefits.


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