Pitt seniors express concern about graduating into a potential recession


TPN File Photo

A pile of cash.

By Elle Kenney, Staff Writer

As more and more people increasingly signal that a recession is going to hit the United States, Pitt seniors are preparing for the job market they are entering into.

Frances Troiano, a senior political science and French major, said she is growing more worried about the upcoming recession as graduation gets nearer. 

“I have a little bit of time before I enter the actual workforce, but I’m going to have to work to pay for that and then deal with student loans, and then go into buying a house, getting a job and that’s pretty worrying,” Troiano said. 

PNC released a statement regarding the economic outlook of 2023 on Jan. 24. Augustine Faucher, senior vice president and chief economist of the PNC Financial Services Group, said a mild recession is expected to occur later in 2023. 

“Giving rising interest rates to cool off inflation, PNC’s baseline economic outlook is for a mild recession starting in the second quarter of 2023 and lasting roughly through the end of next year,” Faucher said.

According to Faucher, while it will affect the labor market, unemployment rates are expected to increase throughout 2023. Still, he says this recession will likely not be as intense as the ones the world has seen in recent history.

“Real GDP should contract by about 1%,” Faucher said. “The unemployment rate, which was near a 50-year low at the end of 2022 at around 3.7%, is expected to move up above 5% by late 2023 or early 2024. However, this recession will be much milder than the Great Recession in 2007 through 2009 or the coronavirus recession.”

Although Troiano is going to graduate school after graduation, she remains worried about finding a stable job to pay for student loans and housing. 

“I did an internship before and some job searching, and it’s really difficult honestly,” Troiano said. “Even if you have all the qualifications, sometimes the pay is just not good. Not saying that I wouldn’t be happy to have a job, but I also have to pay rent.” 

Jennifer Kueppers, an epidemiology graduate student, said while she has concerns about finding a job after she graduates, she also feels like it is a general insecurity people have. 

“I think it’s this fear of everybody else … you know, is it going to be secure when many other people are looking for jobs in the same fields? That’s just all insecurities,” Kueppers said. 

Kueppers also said the housing inflation and difficulties securing a mortgage do not concern her at this time, as she does not plan on buying a house anytime soon and plans to continue renting. 

“I’m probably going to end up renting for a while unless I decide to settle down with a family, and even then that’s going to be a whole new thing I’ll have to look into,” Kueppers said. “I won’t even think about looking into those options until I have a family.” 

Erin Brennan, a senior rehabilitation science major, said she is not concerned about the upcoming recession, although she states she is not familiar with the current economic crisis. According to Brennan, hospitals and health centers are incredibly understaffed currently, so finding jobs in the health field is relatively easy. 

“Unfortunately, the health community is pretty underserved. So finding positions normally isn’t too hard. Sometimes you have to be willing to move anywhere that has some positions available, but hospitals are pretty understaffed right now,” Brennan said. “The one I used to work at in McCandless closed an entire unit because they didn’t have enough nurses to cover the floor.” 

According to Brennan, the biggest issue for physical therapy students isn’t finding jobs, but paying back student loans. 

“Most of my friends who have graduated and are graduating have easily found jobs,” Brennan said. “The biggest concern among the PT community is paying for grad school and debt and stuff, but that’s how it’s been for the past how many years, not really a new thing going on. I’ve been making sure that I don’t take out too much so that I’m not paying loans back forever. I’ve been pretty specific about how much I take a year to keep it under a certain amount.” 

Troiano said she remembered how badly the 2008 recession affected her family and worries about her future and how she will pay back her student loans.

“I remember my parents dealing with struggles in 2008,” Troiano said. ”So I worry, because what am I going to do with my student loans? How am I going to pay for grad school? For what I want to do, I have to go to grad school — there’s no choice. So I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place.”