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Graduating students optimistic of professional futures

Associated Press

Employers are antsy this year. Graduating students, however, remain optimistic.

Employment data nationwide may be flagging, but 73 percent of job-seeking students expect two or more job offers after finishing school, according to a recent survey by MonsterTRAK, a subsidiary of job search company Monster Worldwide Inc.

As of early spring, 59 percent of employers said they would be hiring, 17 percent less than in 2007.

"It’s a little bit more of an employer’s market — 29 percent of folks are still unsure" whether they will hire recent grads, said Mark Charnock, MonsterTRAK vice president. That is twice as many uncertain employers as in last year’s survey.

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"(Employment) growth rates are pretty solid if you look at it over a longer horizon," said Charnock. While employers may be planning to hire less than last year, he said, in 2003, only one-third of those surveyed planned to take on graduating seniors.

"There are a lot of salary bumps (this year)," he said, because many aging employees are leaving the work force and companies are eager to hire.

The expected average salary for ’08 graduates has grown almost 10 percent, to $39,500 from $36,000 for grads last year, in line with increases over the past couple of years, he said.

The MonsterTRAK Entry Level Job Outlook polled 4,720 employers, students and recent alumni online from Feb. 12-22.

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