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Major Matters for U.S. College Graduates Seeking Jobs

Bloomberg (05/15/12) Sandrine Rastello

As this year’s college graduating class enters the strongest job market for graduates since 2008, students with backgrounds in computer science, engineering, and accounting are in high demand, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. The group’s latest survey shows a 10.2% increase in hiring plans from 2011, but the improvement is not benefiting all majors the same way, says Edwin Koc, who heads research at NACE. “It’s a much more split market,” Koc notes. Graduates “with certain skill sets are doing quite well,” while things are tougher for others, such as liberal arts, humanities, and education majors, he says.

The increase in hiring for college graduates that NACE predicts is one of the signs of a slowly improving labor market, states Jesse Rothstein, associate professor of economics and public policy at the University of California, Berkeley. There are more opportunities than two years ago, though not as many as five years ago, he says. “There’s still a very limited number of jobs and a lot of competition,” he says. “When the labor market recovers quite a bit more than it has, then there will be jobs for the nontechnical majors as well.”