It's a great time to be a recent college grad looking for work

The job market for recent college graduates is predicted to be great for the third year in a row, according to a Michigan State University study. But the wages and salaries for all those available jobs still look like they're from harder economic times. 

Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor/File
Boston College senior Kristen Grieco - with a photo of herself, on left, graduating from pre-school - has joined the annual job search for graduating seniors. She wrote a blog on the web as part of a program at BC that encourages students to think about their careers in a broader way.

2015 is a good year to graduate college.

According to a new study out today from Michigan State University, “the slogan ‘recruit like it’s 1999’ accurately describes the explosive growth in the college labor market over the past two years.” Despite lackluster hiring reports from the Federal Reserve in July, August, and September, the study predicts a strong year of job prospects for recent college graduates.

“Most signs point to another explosive year,”  Phil Gardner, the professor who wrote the report, told Bloomberg.

Sizable job growth in the 2013-2014 and the 2014-2015 markets support Gardner’s hypothesis. His study, which polled over 4,730 employers, found that total hires across all degree levels would be up 15 percent in 2015-2016.

The employers that provided full, detailed hiring data (1,720 of the 4,730) planned on hiring 115,000 new graduates in total. 74 percent of those new hires would be for candidates with bachelor’s degrees. However, all degree levels will have growth in hiring, with the Master’s degree range experiencing a 10 percent increase and MBA hiring a 16 percent increase, according to the study.

The causes behind job growth are not the usual culprits. Growth in the job market is still a major factor, as is the increasing rate of retirement among baby boomers. However, the study also reports that job turnover, or employees leaving their jobs for new ones,  has increased enough to become a major factor in hiring this year. Fifty-six percent of employers surveyed said they were concerned about the turnover rate.

“[Eighty] percent described the overall new college labor market as good to excellent,” Mr. Gardner wrote in his study.

However, while the job market might resemble the boom years of the late 1990s for recent college graduates, the wages and raises for most middle-class households still feel more like 2009. According to the US Census Bureau, median household incomes have been decreasing as incomes stagnate.

"Stagnant incomes were a problem in 2013," Neil Irwin wrote last month in a New York Times piece with the headline, "Why Americans Still Think the Economy is Terrible". "They remained so in 2014. The evidence we have so far suggests nothing about that is changing in 2015.”

However, Michigan State's study noted that despite the negative rate of middle-class incomes, large starting salaries in technology industries “may be enough to trigger higher salaries for all new graduates… higher starting salaries will give new graduates a better income level at which to begin their careers.”

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