Cal State Fullerton's Career Center, which aims to help future graduates, resides inside of Langsdorf Hall on campus. (Eliza Green / Daily Titan)

Last month’s unemployment fell 0.5% and left 12.6 million people with no job, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics report for September, showcasing that future Cal State Fullerton students may struggle with a sluggish job market upon graduating.

While the rate is improving, it is still much higher than before the pandemic. 

About 661,000 jobs were added during September, with significant job gain in the sectors of leisure, hospitality, retail and social assistance. 

“I don't know if it'll be harder to find a job if I even can, but that's one of my main concerns,” said Destiny Lalonde, a communications major expected to graduate in spring 2021.  

While Lalonde said she has been looking for jobs and internships during the past few months, she remarked upon the unique challenges the pandemic has brought concerning her major.

“Communications is built upon being able to engage with others face to face or through viable mediums, but when that becomes restricted due to the pandemic, it makes anyone's job a lot harder to perform effectively,” Lalonde said.

Isa Ruiz, a graphic design major, is also expected to graduate in the spring. She said it has been difficult imagining what a typical job for her major would be like with virtual classes. Instead of interacting with other students, her classes consist of sending in and viewing assignments online.

Ruiz has expressed concerns over how her career aspirations will be impacted by the pandemic.

“I’m hoping for a career in the music industry working closely with management teams for festivals and concerts, but since the pandemic began, we’ve seen a drastic number of these events be completely canceled,” Ruiz said . “I’m just interested how public health will change events like these for the future and how I can still keep my options open to whatever may pop up.”

Industries like entertainment and travel have faced many financial difficulties, but are beginning to hire again as the country continues to slowly reopen.

As of Sept. 8, Orange County moved into the state’s red tier, allowing businesses like gyms, museums and movie theaters to open with limited capacity. 

Despite the steady increase of employment, according to The Wall Street Journal survey of more than 60 economists, it shows that the majority forecasted that payrolls are not expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels until 2023. 

Although the job market continues to struggle, some fields of work are doing far better like technology-based jobs, said Susan Barua, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, in an email to the Daily Titan.

Barua said technology companies like Google, Amazon and Microsoft continue hiring new talent and remain vital industries as the reliance on technology over the past few months has skyrocketed. 

With the transition from an in-person to virtual atmosphere, many computer science and engineering employers continue with planned jobs and internships for graduates, Barua said.

“However, most of them are offering only those positions that can be done online, or deferring start dates or even waiting to see what the situation will be in the next three to six months,” she said.

Stephanie Reyes,  senior associate director of the Career Center said in an email to the Daily Titan that only essential businesses like healthcare and retail were hiring during the beginning of the pandemic. 

Reyes said she estimates that by the spring of 2021, graduating students will have better job outlooks as companies begin reopening. 

“Come graduation time companies will have a better idea of their job outlook and how many they can realistically re-hire again,” Reyes said. “Keep in mind there is still a large population of the workforce that are retiring or have decided to retire early due to COVID. This trend will also lead to opportunities opening again.”

Students can sign up for virtual drop-ins or scheduled appointments through Titan Connection. More resources will continue to be online and can be found on the Career Center website.

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