Job Market Turnaround For New College Graduates?

Posted by: Louis Lavelle on January 06, 2010

This really has nothing to do with business school or MBA programs, but good news being in such short supply these days I couldn’t resist.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) is reporting what appears to be a turnaround in the job market for new college graduates.

NACE’s most recent survey of employers (in December) found that a third expected to increase college hiring in the first quarter of 2010, while 26.7% expected a decrease—the first time since August 2008 that the optimists outnumbered the pessimists. The new survey pegs the NACE hiring index at 98.2, up from 87.2 in November.

In a statement, Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director, put the results in context:

The college Class of 2010 is facing a tough job market, but there are signs that college hiring has turned the corner and has stopped receding, as we’ve seen improvement in the hiring index for the third consecutive month. This suggests that we may have hit bottom and are now slowly starting to rebuild.

After the worst job market for new college graduates since the 2001 recession, all this is good news indeed. Last October, when my colleague Peter Coy examined the “Lost Generation” of unemployed college graduates, his analysis found that those aged 22 to 27 were among the hardest hit by the downturn. Two years ago, 84.4% of young grads had jobs, only somewhat lower than the 86.8% figure for college graduates aged 28 to 50. Since then, the employment gap between the two groups has almost doubled.

Given just how brutal the job market has been for young grads, is optimism misplaced, or perhaps a little early? What’s everybody think? Is the Great Recession finally giving way to the Great Recovery? Will the job search be easier for the Class of 2010?

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Reader Comments


January 6, 2010 03:15 PM

I love it when news magazines quote these statistics, but conveniently leave out that the same survey found that over 25% of employers also said they would let go workers to rehire new workers for the same positions. Assuming the same employers planning to hire are also included in the employers who said they plan to fire, we are looking at zero gain, or maybe a negative number in the aggregate. Well, I guess a positive spin on the data is what the news is supposed to do....though it does sometimes seem to me like Im reading Pravda and not an american independent paper.

BW's Louis Lavelle

January 6, 2010 03:39 PM

That wasn't in the version of the report available on the NACE web site, but if you have another version that includes that passage, please post. To keep things in context...if Pravda were writing this post, it probably wouldn't have bothered with the question mark in the headline and that bit about misplaced optimism. Thanks for reading, Susceptor.
Louis Lavelle, Associate Editor, Bloomberg BusinessWeek

Miguel A. Corona

January 6, 2010 07:22 PM

A good set of questions considering many budget strapped colleges and universities are also reallocating resources away from Liberal Arts toward more in demand degrees. Certainly there are optimistic signs for specific industries such as technology, environmental science, health care, and accounting. Results from a recent MSU survey of employers indicate that while larger organizations may not be hiring, smaller companies are increasing their college recruitment efforts. I would say signs are mixed but certainly hopeful at best.

Future company

January 8, 2010 08:21 AM

Hey im in college and I have a start up. When I hire accountants im looking a india and malaysia. Don't major in accounting. warning.


January 25, 2010 08:55 PM

I agree future co. Im also starting a company and will not be paying american accountants. I will outsource to asia or africa.

Young Accountant

January 26, 2010 02:50 PM

Are you hiring accountants or bookkeepers?

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