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The New Lure of Government Jobs

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Originally published on Youthradio.org, the premier source for youth generated news throughout the globe.

The latest Labor Department report released Friday shows unemployment at its highest level in 25 years. According to the report, US employers shed 651,000 jobs in February, and among the hardest hit sectors were professional and business services, construction, and banking. Government is one of the few areas showing any type of growth, and that means there's growing interest in government jobs from college students who once coveted corporate cubicles.

By: Lauren Silverman

It used to be when I asked my friends about where they wanted to work after graduation, I got the typical responses: an investment firm, a hospital, a university, a small business. Only a few said they wanted to be politicians, and even fewer said they wanted to be government employees. Just like my friends, I ran from government as if it were a toxic asset.

But things have changed since President Barack Obama's election and the financial meltdown. Now, it's private jobs that look poisonous and public employment that smells sweet.

I'm finding myself scheduling informational interviews with people at the Department of Justice and the Office of Management and Budget. I even know the pay grades for government employees. Last year, I didn't know about any of these things and fantasized about writing for Slate magazine or working in a law firm.

The onslaught of applications for government work indicates that the Obama administration is offering two things: hope for change, and also hope for job security even if it only lasts for the next four years. You can see that the federal government is growing by taking a look at the size of the Plum Book, an inventory of positions open for hire. This year, it is a lot bigger than it was in 2004.

My friend Matt told me recently that he wants to start a facebook group called "Young People for Government." I would join it. Not only that, friending someone who used to be at Goldman Sachs sounds like a waste of time whereas inviting a Capital Hill intern to join my network seems like a smart move. For my circle of friends right now, government connections are a hot commodity. And those with Wall Street connections are embarrassed and desperate for new contacts.

Youth Radio/Youth Media International (YMI) is a youth-driven converged media production company that delivers the best youth news, culture and undiscovered talent to a cross section of audiences. To read more youth news from around the globe and explore high quality audio and video features, visit Youthradio.org