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2011 Job Market Improves for Grads

April 22, 2011

By Marisa Kendall, USA TODAY

Rising Economy  

This year's college graduates are finding a better job market than last year's grads.

Employers plan to hire 19.3 percent more recent graduates this year, says a report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. The association surveyed 174 schools from February through April.

The increase in open positions means employers have half as many applicants per job now than at this time last year: 21.1 applicants this year vs. 40.5 in 2010.

Students are confirming the trend, says Lonnie Dunlap, director of career services at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. "What we're seeing this year is that some of our students are getting multiple offers, which we're thrilled about."

The top-paying major for the class of 2011 is chemical engineering. It has an average starting salary of $66,886, the association report says. The accounting services industry has the most projected job openings for this year: 7,244 spots.

The Midwest is seeing an increase in manufacturing, information technology and sales openings, says Kelley Bishop, executive director of career services at Michigan State University. Not only can these companies afford to hire graduates, they need to because they put it off during the recession, he says.

A Michigan State survey of 4,600 employers found that companies will hire 10 percent more graduates with bachelor's degrees this year, the first increase in two years.

Daniel Zuccari, a journalism major graduating with George Washington University's class of 2011, hunted for a year before landing a job this month. "I was just getting a little worried, and it felt great to get that offer," he says of the communications position at a consulting firm in Pennsylvania. He says his friends who graduated in 2009 had an even more difficult job search.

Students shouldn't let worries about the economy keep them from looking for jobs, says Ignacio Gallardo, associate director of career services at the University of California-Santa Barbara.

"The last two years, students had a lot of fear about the economy, and it was stunting their job search," he says.


Source: Copyright USA TODAY 2011

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