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Letter to the Editor: Don’t cry wolf, be optimistic

Dear editor,

In his Oct. 29 Opinions column entitled “Employment isn’t working for students,” Jamal Lemond makes the unsubstantiated claim that “employment for students is becoming nearly impossible.” In a vague attempt to perform some sort of macroeconomic analysis, Lemond posits that record-low unemployment rates have caused work conditions to drop to “an all-time low.” He concludes from this shallow examination that “employees are asked to do more work for proportionally less pay and benefits.” It’s unsurprising that this non-sequitur was drawn, because no attempt was made to corroborate these claims with anything other than anecdotal evidence. Economists have known for centuries that a leftward shift in the aggregate supply of a good, ceteris paribus, results in a higher equilibrium price for that good. This fact is representative in economic statistics. In October of last year, the Washington Post reported that U.S. workers are seeing “the fastest wage growth in a decade.” This growth can be attributed, at least partially, to the tight labor market that the country as a whole is experiencing.

Lemond may be right to assume that students are at a disadvantage compared to non-student workers because of their inflexible schedules, but his piece better serves as one aspiring scholar’s quixotic critique of the corporate establishment — not as a representation of the employment situation for all students and especially not all Americans. It’s a cry of wolf for workers at a time when the general outlook should be optimistic. To be sure, there are valid criticisms to be made of systemic discrimination in the hiring process. Every student must make a decision as an individual regarding whether employment in college is right for them. In the opinion of this working student, however, it’s safe to say that 3.6% unemployment (per the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ October report) and rising wages are beneficial for most employees, even those who should be studying for midterms.

Bronson Tharpe

Freshman

Computer Science Major