Economy not expected to impact hiring of college grads

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Employers have revised original hiring projections and now expect their college hiring to stay even with last year's levels, according to a new report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).

In light of volatile financial markets this past month, NACE recently re-polled employers that had provided hiring projections in August. The result: Compared to their earlier projections, responding employers expect to decrease their hiring levels by 1.6 percent. However, in comparison to their actual hires from the Class of 2008, respondents expect to hire about 1.3 percent more graduates from the Class of 2009.

"Overall, hiring looks flat for now and some employers are indicating some movement to cut back," says Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director. "In August, approximately one-third of employers said they were going to trim their college hiring; in our current poll, however, 52 percent said they were going to adjust their college hiring downward."

The decreased expectation for college hiring that occurred between August and October was broadly felt across industries. Only government as a sector saw a significant increase in hiring expectations, while manufacturing and professional services remain essentially flat. All other industry categories decreased their hiring expectations for the Class of 2009.

"Consequently, many of this year's graduates will find fewer openings available to them and may have to consider different types of opportunities, industries, and organizations than they planned. Most importantly, they need to use the resources available to them through their campus career center to help them identify and connect with potential employers," says Mackes.

NACE will continue to monitor the job outlook for the Class of 2009 and will report on hiring projections as they relate to changes in the economic environment. NACE's Salary Survey Winter report, scheduled for distribution in late January, will provide a first look at demand for new college graduates by specific discipline.

The NACE survey reflects responses from 146 organizations that had responded to NACE's Job Outlook Fall Preview Survey in August. At that time, respondents overall reported plans to hire 6 percent more new college graduates from the Class of 2009 than they had actually hired from the Class of 2008. The current poll, conducted October 6 through October 17, 2008, updates those hiring projections.

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