Data released Friday placed the nation's unemployment rate at 4.9 percent for August 2001, marking a half percentage point jump in the last month and a nearly four-year high, but on-campus recruiting remains consistent, according to a UW-Madison career planning official.
Wisconsin's unemployment levels have appeared to follow the national trend, with a 4.4 percent rate for July 2001 and estimates of a .7 percent jump for 2002. State unemployment data for August will be released later this month.
Ann Groves Lloyd, UW-Madison College of Letters and Sciences director of career planning and placement, said despite rising national and state unemployment figures, recruitment for the university's career fairs currently remains solid.
'Last year we had about 55 companies at our career fair, and we're about the same number this year,' she said.
However, Groves Lloyd cautioned that the office's fair participant numbers cannot completely measure the economy's effect on company recruitment.
'Our office is fairly new and we've been realigned under Letters and Science only three years now,' Groves Lloyd said. 'We're not seeing a real dramatic dip in our office.'
UW-Madison philosophy Professor Daniel Hausman, whose area of expertise is reliability of economic trends, said it is unclear what kind of impact graduates can expect a slumping economy to have on hiring trends.
'It's difficult to say. The graduates in December should have difficulties,' Hausman said. 'I think it's difficult to predict how things will be in May. It's extremely uncertain and I don't have a crystal ball.
'I understand that what's keeping the country from going into a deep depression is that consumer spending has remained strong,' he added. 'The question is whether consumer spending will collapse.'
Groves Lloyd also said she was concerned about current economic trends, but remains optimistic.
'We're concerned with the economy being where it is, but we're happy where we are right now,' she said. 'We're rather pleased considering the dire economic news we've heard.'