Happy New Year? Job Market Looking Up for College Grads?

BY Paul Solman  January 3, 2011 at 2:43 PM EST

Editor’s Note: A poor economy does not bode well for college grads trying to enter the job market.

“The last couple of years have been a very, very tough time to be coming out of college,” said Richard White in our second piece on malemployed grads, airing tonight on the NewsHour.

Head of career services at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, White said he’d recently seen the number of students with a job at graduation cut in half. Our piece earlier last month profiling four recent grads struggling to find paying jobs — let alone jobs in their fields of study — fits right in with what White is seeing. (That piece and a web profile of the four job hunters sparked some interesting comments and mail. The idea of getting a degree seems to have hit on a sensitive nerve.)

But things might be looking up for 2011 graduates according to “Recruiting Trends,” an annual report put out by Michigan State University (emphasis original):

“Despite the gloomy national labor market situation, the college segment of the market is poised to rebound this year. While overall hiring across all degrees is expected to increase 3%, hiring at the Bachelor’s level is expected to surge by 10%.”

From the Michigan State University study:

Over 1,600 companies indicated that they would consider any major for a position. Representing 36% of all respondents, this figure is at a historic high. For all technical and business majors, approximately one-quarter of the employers will be seeking them (a slight decrease from last year). Sixteen percent of the employers will seek all liberal arts majors, which includes the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, and will actually hire more new graduates than the other groups.

  • All Majors: increase hiring 13%, averaging 38 Bachelor graduates per company.
  • All Technical: increase hiring 19%, averaging 24 Bachelor graduates per company.
  • All Business: increase hiring 18%, averaging 34 Bachelor graduates per company.
  • All Liberal Arts: increase hiring 21%, averaging 40 Bachelor graduates per company.

Read the full report here.

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