CAFNR students discover low rates of unemployment

Agricultural economics and atmospheric science students and teachers react to their placement on the top ten lowest rates of unemployment.
David Wettroth / Graphic Designer

Recent graduates majoring in agricultural economics and atmospheric sciences have a distinctly better than average shot at getting a job than many other majors, according to a study released by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce.

Both majors are a part of the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.

Agricultural economics majors came in seventh with an unemployment rate of 1.3 percent and atmospheric sciences came in ninth with an unemployment rate of 1.6 percent. Last month, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics put the unemployment rate of college graduates at 4.4 percent.

Atmospheric Sciences Department Chairman Anthony Lupo was surprised, but happy about the news.

“Between 1995 and 2005 we saw a rise in interest because of climate issues and movies,” Lupo said. “Since then admissions has been steady for the last few years.”

Director of Undergraduate Studies for Agricultural Economics Jan Dauve said they had similarly steady figures in his department.

“Our program at MU has been steady for nearly a decade,” Dauve said. “Our graduates have a basic business background with a stronger economic foundation and more application. This makes our graduates competitive with business majors as well as the agriculture major in the most demand.”

Junior atmospheric science major Brian Crow said the release of the new study is exciting.

“It’s good to know there are so many opportunities,” Crow said. “It’s a small field but it’s expanding thanks a lot to things like the private sector and tornado research.”

Although Crow doesn’t know exactly what area within atmospheric science he wants to study, he said research or climatology are potential career paths after graduate school for him.

Freshman agricultural economics major Lauren Sedlacek said the news is encouraging.

“(The low unemployment rate) makes sense,” Sedlacek said. “This industry will always be here thanks to food.”

For the majority of atmospheric science and agricultural economics students, job security isn’t the main reason they’re studying their chosen subject.

“A lot of us will answer the same way, 'I had an interest at a young age,'” Crow said. “I thought a thunderstorm was the coolest thing ever.”

Dauve said the global economy helps keep the unemployment rate low for agricultural economics and atmospheric science majors.

“The current demand for basic commodities in the U.S. and abroad has increased the demand for students who understand production and have enough of a business background to plug into the food and other supply chains easily,” he said.

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