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Survey: More jobs for grads

178756

Jeff Mitchell, Ph.D. tfeld@abqjournal.com Mon Sep 22 07:26:11 -0600 2014 1411392369 FILENAME: 178756.jpg

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — After several years of lackluster growth, job prospects for college graduates is expected to take off this year, according to a survey out of Michigan State University.

The national survey, Recruiting Trends, compiled data from nearly 5,700 companies and found that hiring could jump by 16 percent in 2014-15 over the previous year.

“Employers are recruiting new college graduates at levels not seen since the dot-com frenzy of 1999-2000,” said economist Phil Gardner, director of MSU’s Collegiate Employment Research Institute. “Competition for qualified candidates is escalating to a degree rarely seen in the past 10 years.”

Leading the way are jobs in information services, expected to climb 50 percent over last year. Next comes finance and insurance, up 31 percent. Other fast-growing sectors include manufacturing, nonprofits, health services, government and professional, business and scientific services.

Now in its 44th year, Recruiting Trends had good news for college graduates across the spectrum — MBAs, doctorates, associate’s, bachelor’s and professional degrees.

But New Mexicans should not jump to conclusions, said Jeffrey Mitchell, director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of New Mexico. While the survey may sound like good news, the findings regarding the Land of Enchantment may be more nuanced.

On the positive side, for the past three years or so, job growth has been in industries that hire lower-skilled people, such as restaurants and hotels. More recently, growth has begun to include more highly skilled people, and that is consistent with the national findings, Mitchell said.

However, a less positive interpretation may not bode as well. Nowhere in the report was the anticipated job growth tied to new college graduates, Mitchell said.

“There are a lot of people in the market now with bachelor’s degrees who are unemployed or underemployed and who are looking for jobs, so it’s not necessarily a one-to-one employment picture for recent grads,” he said.

Moreover, 5,700 businesses may sound like a large number, but the results could be biased, in that businesses looking to hire may be more likely to respond to such a survey while those not considering taking on new employees may be more inclined to push it aside.

“We don’t know how many they sent out,” Mitchell said.

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