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Job Hunt Frustrates Recent College Graduates

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Nearly half of recent college graduates say they can't find jobs that require degrees, according to a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics study.

David Oscos, a 24-year-old college grad, said he's been looking for a year and a half for a public-service job that puts his degree to work. To make ends meet in the meantime, he's working in retail, which he said has only hampered his search.

"The time and money constraints keep you from looking for other things," Oscos told CBS 2's Don Champion.

Sheldon Danzinger, president of the Russell Sage Foundation, a nonpartisan economic think tank, blames the trend on Washington. He said lawmakers have given employers little reason to add high-end jobs by failing to invest in things such as infrastructure and education.

"It's been a very difficult situation for fiscal policy," Danzinger said.

"Firms have been able to increase productivity and often expand without adding new jobs."

So what's a grad to do?

Kelly Ahn, director of career services at Manhattan College, said in the highly competitive market, grads have to stand out from the pack and network early.

"You cannot really build relationships overnight," she said. "That will take years."

When asked if Oscos believed college was worth the investment, he answered: "If maybe something gets better two years down the line and I find a job that I need the degree for, yeah. But at the moment, it's not looking that way."

There is one bright spot for recent college graduates: A new survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found the average starting salary for new college graduates has surpassed $45,000 -- up more than $1,000 from 2012.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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