College Hiring Improves Slightly

Compiled By Staff
December 7, 2009

The National Association of Colleges and Employers reported last week that college hiring has improved a bit: NACE's college hiring index rose to 87.2 in November, a slight increase from 86.8 in October.

"The uptick is small, but when coupled with other signs, suggests improvement in the outlook for college hiring," said Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director, in a news release. "Currently, 28 percent of employers report plans to increase their college hiring, compared to approximately 26 percent in our October poll, and just 17 percent when we polled employers in August."

Unfortunately, recruiting declined to an index of 89.8, down from 92.6 in October. However, Mackes attributed the drop to timing.

"Most organizations focus recruiting activity in the fall, and many return to campus for the spring," she noted. "The December to February period is generally slower in terms of recruiting activity, and the index may simply reflect that."

NACE's heartening news may offer some hope to graduates, particularly after last week's release of a survey conducted by The Project on Student Debt, which indicated that student debt is growing while the job market is worsening.

The Flint Journal in Michigan reports on other hopeful signs: According to a recent study by Michigan State University, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, electronic commerce providers and other small businesses are likely to provide more job opportunities for college graduates.

The survey, which was conducted by MSU's College Employment Institute, had indicated a brutal job market for college graduates overall, but nevertheless offered a ray of hope. Phil Gardner, director of the institute, noted that small companies with less than 500 employees expected to increase hiring by 15 percent in the next year.

"The message for Michigan is small companies do create jobs and we need to encourage all kinds of small companies," he noted in the Flint Journal. "They're coming in all shapes and sizes and if we only pay attention to a few, we're going to miss a lot of opportunities to reestablish the economy. We have this idea that big companies have all the jobs and it's hard to connect students with small employers."

The Wall Street Journal notes that the Labor Department's recent employment report also offered some good news for college graduates: The unemployment rate for college grads between 20- and 24-year-olds dropped to 7.5 percent, compared to 8.7 percent in October.

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