Job outlook improving for college graduates - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Job outlook improving for college graduates

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WAVERLY (KWWL) -

Of course jobs and the economy took center stage during the presidential debate Wednesday, and will continue to remain hot topics on the campaign trail.

But a new report suggests it's getting easier for young people, in particular college graduates, to find work.  The National Association of Colleges and Employers predicts a brighter outlook for the Class of 2013.  In fact, companies polled suggest they'll hire up to 13 percent more college grads this coming year.

It's good news for students about to finish school, who are often saddled with loan debt.

Taylor Yezek is a senior communications major at Wartburg College in Waverly.  She's set to graduate in December.

"I've been talking with a lot of my professors, my advisors, and just anyone I can get tips from.  And I'm constantly, constantly updating my resume and searching for and writing down possibilities," Yezek said.

Yezek and dozens of fellow students attended a job fair at Wartburg Thursday.  They see it as a critical chance to get career advice, and put their resume in the hands of potential employers.

"Internships, careers fairs, you really have to do whatever you can because of the economy.  It is still tough to get a job, and the more marketable you are, the better," said Yezek.

The good news--these students are hitting the job market at a promising time. 

Steven Black is a senior history and political science major, graduating in May.  He's not sure of what kind of job he'd like, but is encouraged by the number of available positions.

"There's a lot of postings on our website and other websites, and hopefully that's a good sign.  And just today, talking to people has been a positive thing and has kind of helped calm my nerves some anyway," said Black.

Hormel Foods says the business climate is leaps and bounds better now than a few years ago. The company's had great success training college juniors as interns, and hiring them on into full-time positions.  And Hormel says the future looks bright, too.

"I'd say, yes, we're hiring more and we're seeing other companies in our field that are hiring more.  We're seeing more turnover as people are willing to expand their careers in other directions as well, but that comes with a strong economy I think," said Barry Folkens, Hormel Foods Accounting Share Services Manager at the corporate office in Austin, Minnesota.

It's certainly good news as students look to step out on their own, with a good job and financial security to pay off education loans.

A college degree certainly helps job prospects.  As of August, high school graduates 25 and older had an 8.8 percent unemployment rate, compared to just four percent unemployment for those with a bachelor's degree or higher.

The next US jobs report is due out Friday.  It's expected to show modest growth.

But some experts already report that many fields are seeing salary growth, with earnings up to five percent more in fields like technology and finance.

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