Keeping Realistic Expectations in Austin's Job Market, especially for new college grads

I got my first "dislike" mail the other day from a guy who graduated from college 3 years ago and has not been able to find a job in Austin. He believes this website and blog is misleading about the job market in Austin.
Hey, just wondering where you got your job data from? Been living in Austin 3 years, since the day I graduated college, and still haven't found a job making more than $12/hr. Inquiring minds want to know.
I responded that I get my information from the Texas Workforce Commission and online Business Journals, such as Austin Business Journal and Forbes. His reply:
Oh OK, thanks! I guess their information must be inaccurate, as I know a number of people with Bachelor's/Master's and even higher degrees who have difficulty finding jobs here. To be perfectly honest, I think your site is misleading as a guide for people moving to Austin,because I don't know anyone who's just moved here and gotten a job in any short period of time.
I do agree that I am pretty upbeat about a person's chances of making it here, and perhaps I'm not giving out the whole picture. Things are tougher now in Austin than they were last year, and are probably going to get worse before they get better. New unemployment numbers are due out next week, and I'm betting that Austin is going to be around 6.4 - 6.6%. We'll see.

But I do think that this poster has some very lofty expectations about finding a job in Austin. Anyone moving here needs to know the following:
  1. Please don't move here as a new graduate and expect to find a job that pays $60,000 a year. Look at these income statistics for Austin. (Let's not forget to mention that marketing is a notoriously low-paying industry). The upside to this is that living expenses are still somewhat affordable when compared to other more expensive parts of the country, so you'll be able to stretch your dollar more.
  2. There are a lot of college grads in Austin, and therefore there is a lot of competition for entry level jobs. This is even in boom times, like we had 3 years ago when this guy started looking for a job. Sometimes you have to take the $12/hr entry job to get experience. My first job after college paid $10/hr, and my main task was getting Starbucks for my boss -- but it looks dynamite on my resume and helped me get a much better 2nd job, making ... $12/hr. Suck it up and get your foot in the door, and work your way up the old fashioned way.
  3. Anyone who is moving here and expects to find a job quickly is in for a reality check. Even when you live in a town and have connections, it still takes time. However, if it's been 3 years and you haven't found something yet, it ain't Austin, it's you. You're either being too picky or your interview skills need help. Get someone to go over your resume and interview tactics (preferably a mentor), gain more skills (take classes at ACC, do some pro bono freelance work or internship), and network more. Or see #2.
  4. In a recession know that you are not going to find your dream job, regardless of your level of experience. You may have to park it in a job that is less than ideal and ride out this storm. Economist Nouriel Roubini, who is one of the most conservative estimators out there, thinks things will be improving in 2010. The Austin market may take some time to adjust to all the incoming traffic we're getting as well.
  5. The whole country, nay, the whole developed world, is experiencing a recession right now. Our employment figures are better than most parts of the country. It is not a stretch to think that your chances are better here than in Detroit. You'll have to weigh the odds yourself.

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