Job market promising for recent graduates

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tom O’Dea dressed for the hunt. His tie, perfectly knotted, lay neatly over the buttons on his pressed white shirt. His buffed black shoes complemented his charcoal-gray suit.

The 22-year-old Overland Park, Kan., resident had gone to the University of Kansas Career Center in April seeking something college career counseling specialists say is plentiful this year – employment.

“I hear there are a lot of available jobs out there,” said O’Dea, a marketing major.

In fact, the National Association of Colleges and Employers, which has monitored employment availability for college graduates for half a century, reports that the class of 2006 will graduate into the best job market in six years.

With a flood of baby boomers retiring, an economy on the rebound from the post-Sept. 11 slump and a technology upturn after the 2000 dot-com bust, employers nationwide project they will hire nearly 15 percent more college graduates this year than a year ago. And many of this year’s hires will be paid more, too.

Major employers of new college graduates, such as Enterprise Rent-A-Car and Lockheed Martin, project they will fill, respectively, 7,000 and 4,400 entry-level positions with new graduates this year.