Employers across Ohio and the country are expected to hire more paid interns and college graduates this year as economic uncertainty eases, consumer spending picks up and the economy continues to show signs of recovery, according to various studies and experts.
Area universities have seen double-digit increases in both the number of jobs posted and companies coming to campus to meet students. Employers have also signaled they intend to hire more paid interns this year, and online postings for new intern opportunities have skyrocketed.
"There are many signs of hope for this year's graduating class," said Jason Eckert, director of career services at the University of Dayton.
The recession and its aftermath has been particularly harsh on young people. College graduates have faced one of the toughest job markets in decades, and nearly 9 percent of recent graduates are unemployed, according to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce.
Since the start of the recession in December 2007, young people have been forced to compete for open entry-level positions with older workers with more experience who were laid off when the economy soured. High unemployment made it difficult for new graduates to find work linked to their fields of study.
But unemployment continues to drop, and employers are expected to hire about 10.2 percent more new college graduates this summer, compared to 2011, according to a March survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
Additionally, a report released last fall by the Career Services and Collegiate Employment Research Institute at Michigan State University similarly found that hiring of graduates with bachelor's degrees is expected to increase by 7 percent this year.
Hiring up locally
Employers are more optimistic now about the college labor market than any time since 2007, and this has led employers to increase their hiring targets, the report said.
Despite this, employer labor demands will fall short of the supply of graduating students.
Smaller companies are often hiring because they are expanding and creating new positions, while larger companies are starting to fill positions that have sat vacant for some time, the report said. Baby boomers are finally beginning to retire, and some employers can no longer delay filling those positions.
"Some employers are gearing up hiring younger people in preparation of retirements we know are coming down the road," Eckert said.
Locally, employers are stepping up efforts to connect with college students who are entering the labor force.
Nearly 33 percent more organizations participated in UD's spring career and graduate school fair. Wright State University's recruiting days had 20 percent more companies -- and even a waiting list for events aimed at business and science, math, science and technology majors.
Miami University's career fair had the second highest number of participating employers ever, with 150 companies, according to Cathy Moore, associate director of career services.
Sinclair Community College has already seen a 16 percent bump in jobs posted by employers compared to last year, and there are still three months left in this year's count. Since last July, 1,850 positions have been posted,
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