For some El Pasoans, graduation weekend marks a bright milestone with bleak undertones.
A Pew Research Center Study released Thursday said only 54 percent of Americans ages 18-24 have jobs. That's an all-time low for the age group, according to the study.
On Friday evening, El Paso Community College graduates received their diplomas and talked to ABC-7 about going into a tough job market.
"I'm nervous. There aren't a lot of job opportunities," said one woman.
Nerves among graduates abound even though El Paso appears to have a desirable workforce according to statistics from the University of Texas at El Paso. The data shows El Paso beats out major Texas cities in the percentage of high school graduates completing recommended & advanced programs, also exceeding or matching those cities in the percentage of public high school graduates enrolling in public higher education the following fall.
Despite that data, El Paso has a higher unemployment rate than the state of Texas. Unemployment is at 9.5 percent in El Paso compared to 7 percent in Texas at large.
Richard Dayoub, head of the Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce, said El Paso is not a "headquarters marketplace," meaning big companies that want highly educated employees like ones found in El Paso don't immediately think of the city as a good place to set up headquarters.
Dayoub said that's a problem partly due to the misconception that El Paso is directly affected by the drug violence in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. He added El Paso leaders are working to create a more accurate image of El Paso to help attract more businesses to the borderland.