WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. college graduates are facing the best job market since 2001, with business, computer, engineering, education and health care grads in highest demand, a report by an employment consulting firm showed on Monday.
"We are approaching full employment and some employers are already dreaming up perks to attract the best talent," said John Challenger, chief executive of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
In its annual outlook of entry-level jobs, Challenger, Gray & Christmas said strong job growth and falling unemployment makes this spring the hottest job market for America's 1.4 million college graduates since the dot-com collapse in 2001.
The firm pointed to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers which showed employers plan to hire 14.5 percent more new college graduates than a year ago.
The survey also found higher starting salaries this year. Graduates with economic or finance degrees will see the biggest gain with starting salaries up 11 percent to $45,191, while accounting salaries are up 6.2 percent, business management salaries up 3.9 percent and pay for civil engineers 4.3 percent higher.
But Challenger said graduates should not assume the improved labor market will guarantee everyone a job.
"Even as demand and salaries rise, college students should not be lulled into thinking that the job search will be easy or that jobs will be handed to anyone with a degree," he warned.
The U.S. unemployment rate rose to 4.8 percent in February from a 4-1/2-year low 4.7 percent in January, according to the U.S. Labor Department. Employers added 243,000 new payroll jobs in the month.
That's a good forecast!