National unemployment numbers paint a grim picture for a lot of graduates who crossed the stage this spring.

National unemployment numbers paint a grim picture for a lot of graduates who crossed the stage this spring.

According to the most recent data available from the U.S. Department of Labor, the national unemployment rate throughout May was 7.6 percent with 11.8 million unemployed persons, a one-tenth of a percent increase from the month before.

Jim Butkiewicz, an economics professor at the University of Delaware, said as it stands the economic recovery is not going well.

“The one good thing about this most recent labor market report is the one-tenth of a percent increase is due largely to an increase in labor force participation,” Butkiewicz said. “People who stopped looking for work are starting to look again. That’s a good sign. They think there are opportunities out there.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Delaware’s 7.2 percent unemployment rate ranks 31st among the 50 states and District of Columbia. That list begins with the lowest rate and ends with the highest. Neighboring Maryland is ranked 19th with a 6.5 percent unemployment rate. North Dakota is ranked first with a 3.3 percent rate and Nevada is ranked 51st with a 9.6 percent rate.

For the roughly 1,900 people who graduated from Del Tech statewide, as well as the roughly 3,600 who graduated from the University of Delaware this spring, finding a job will boil down to whether they have the skills currently in demand by employers.

“If you have a degree in the right field, there are good job opportunities right now,” Butkiewicz said. “If you have a degree that’s not so technical, you’re going to have a difficult time in the job market.”

Butkiewicz said the realization of an economic recovery may depend on increased awareness that finding a job in the U.S. is going to require having the skills that are currently in demand.

“You can major in subjects you love, but your love doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a good life,” he said.

According to U.S. News & World Report, the top 10 jobs for 2013 are dentist, registered nurse, pharmacist, computer systems analyst, physician, database administrator, software developer, physical therapist, web developer and dental hygienist. The publication bases its yearly list of the top 10 jobs on the U.S. Department of Labor’s predictions of the occupations that should hire abundantly for the next several years.

For students who specialize in fields related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, finding a job can be a great deal easier than it is for those who graduate from a four-year university with a liberal arts degree.

Mary “Mimi” Dupont, academic counselor and career development coordinator at Del Tech, said almost all of the college’s programs are geared toward going to work immediately after graduation.

“It varies by department, but by and large most of our graduate employment rates are at least as high or many of them higher than the national average,” Dupont said. “I think that’s partially due to the quality of the education we provide, but also to the relationships we have with employers who seek our students out.”

The graduate employment rate is the percentage of students leaving school with a job.

Dupont said Del Tech hosts an advisory committee of employers that help the college determine what its students need to get hired.

“We listen to what [the committee] says about employment, what they’re looking for in a graduate and what they’d like to see us have in our programs,” she said. “Because we’re a technical community college, our programs are much more employer-driven than your typical college or university bachelor’s program.”