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Part-time jobs harder to find
Kimberly Gerdes
Antelope Staff

He walks up to the counter and asks the same question 20 other people before him have asked,  “Can I get a job application?”  

This isn’t his first place of the day.  It’s his fifth application today. He hopes he has the right availability, the right references and experiences.  He just hopes to God that he gets a call from just one of them.  

He needs a job.  He needs the money to support not only his social life but his hungry stomach.  He is one of the many young adults fighting for a part-time job in an economic time where unemployment rates are high.

“Looking for a part-time job lately has been tough.  There are so many people looking that if you don’t meet the exact requirements, someone else who applied does,” said Cody Cole, a senior construction management major from Brule.  

Nationally there’s trouble for young adults facing an unemployment rate of 24.2 percent up from last year’s rate of 17.8 percent.

“Historically, Kearney has been a very generous area for part-time labor,” said Allan Jenkins, professor of economics. The unemployment rate for Buffalo County is currently 4 percent, it has nearly doubled since last year’s 2.6 percent.  This is nowhere near as drastic as the national unemployment rate, but it still makes a mark on the businesses in Kearney.

“I’ve noticed a change in people’s buying behaviors and the number of shoppers we get in the store.  They come in knowing what they want and only get that.  There aren’t as many casual shoppers,” said David Peterman, a senior secondary history major from Big Springs who works at Sporting Edge.

“Things are different from when I was a freshman.  I have been looking for a part-time job lately, and it seems like there are way more people looking than there are jobs available. It’s a tough fight to get one,” Cole said.  

Even though the search for a part-time job is rough, there are things that can be done to help the situation.  

“No matter what kind of job you’re looking for you need to network. You need to be in the community meeting the people. You may meet someone who knows of a business looking to hire. It’s all about connections with people,” Jenkins said.

Volunteering in the community is one of the ways Jenkins suggests for making those important connections with people. “Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity or a church service organization.  Put the effort into volunteering,” Jenkins said, “Across the nation the economy is going to start stabilizing, but it’s going to take some time.  Locally 4 percent will probably stick. There’s going to be tentative recovery right now, and it’s going to take a lot of time and effort to get things back on track.  Kearney is a good area to be in. It swims in its own current.”

The search for a part-time job for a student is not going to be fun, but there is hope.  “If you sit around waiting for the phone to ring you’re being passive in your search, and you’re not going to get anywhere.  Get out there and get involved.  Be active,” Jenkins said.

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