IOWA CITY, Iowa – Iowa’s unemployment rate soared by a full percent as the University of Iowa conferred degrees on approximately 1,700 students yesterday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
UI President Sally Mason addressed the graduates, commending them on their hard work and observing how their lives were shaped by changes they observed while on campus.
“Positives do come from recovery and renewal,” Mason said, as she recalled the 2008 floods that devastated the university community.
But as Mason addressed the graduates, number-crunchers in Des Moines were busy trying to figure out how the state would deal with the sudden influx of residents on the unemployment rolls.
Teresa Hempstead, Director of Iowa Workforce Development, noted the state is already in a financial crisis and the anticipated new claims for unemployment benefits could further cripple the state’s fragile economy.
“These new graduates are smarter than most who apply for unemployment benefits,” said Hempstead. “With all their computer knowledge, they will be able to use word processors and Photoshop to create phony job application rejections so they can continue to receive benefits.”
Billy Barker, who received a political science degree, said he sees no jobs on the horizon whatsoever.
“Sure, it was fun discussing the election of 2008 in my classes, but I’m finding out the skills I took with me from those classes are completely useless when it comes to finding work.”
Barker said he has a few regrets from his 6 years of undergraduate classes at Iowa.
“I wish I would’ve been sober more,” Barker said with a chuckle. “Those Thirsty Thursdays and weekends of jell-o shots make for a lot of missed classes. I was basically on cruise control while I was here.”