Joe Williams graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in 2011 with three internships and a good GPA under his belt. He didn't expect his first job would be an internship making $100 a week.
Williams left the internship after eight months, with no advancement in sight and mounting student loan bills. A friend set him up with a contract job at an insurance firm in Virginia.
"It's a great job and it pays more than the internship, but it's still a contract role," he said. "They don't have to pay me benefits and who knows? Tomorrow I could walk in and they could say they don't need me anymore and then I'm back in the same boat as before."
So Williams, who still applies to regular full-time positions, is pinching pennies. "I have all these bills -- student loans, rent -- and the company can only keep me on so long as a contractor. I keep wondering when that day's going to come," he said. Since graduation, he has applied for nearly 100 jobs.
"I never imagined I would be in this situation. My little brother is now going to college next year, and I don't see how it is going to get any better for him."
Jobs have almost climbed back to the level of when Obama took office, while Bush was more than 800,000 jobs below his starting point at this point in his first term.
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