Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Job market loosens up slightly for college grads

Does the class of 2010 have it better than the class of 2009?

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BLOOMINGTON -- Class of 2010 college graduates face a tough job market, but at least they've got it better than the Class of 2009.

Employers said they expect to hire 5.3 percent more new 2010 grads versus last year's class, a new National Association of Colleges and Employers job outlook survey shows. At this time last year, the firms anticipated hiring 22 percent fewer new grads than in 2008.

"This is the first positive news that we've had in hiring projection since October 2008," said NACE executive director Marilyn Mackes.

In Central Illinois, new teachers in particular face a crowded market, with hundreds of certified teachers and uncertified school employees being laid off due to the state budget, said Mark Jontry, regional superintendent for McLean, DeWitt and Livingston counties.

Illinois State University alone expects around 1,000 students to complete their teacher-education programs this year, among the state's top producers. Jontry said there are still some content areas with a shortage -- special education and English as a Second Language, namely.

But job security is limited.

"In our districts, a lot of them have pretty much (laid off) pretty much all of our non-tenured teachers until they have a better idea of what their financial picture will be," Jontry said. Some teachers may be called back in August when final budgets are fleshed out.

Health care, meanwhile, remains relatively healthy. At Advocate BroMenn Medical Center, Normal, there are about 70 job openings, up from about half that during the recession's darkest hour, said human resources director Diane Crutcher. Employees now feel more comfortable retiring, or seeking other opportunities, freeing up jobs for grads, she said.

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