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Job outlook on the uptick for May graduates

While the job market remains challenging, University of South Carolina May graduates are finding a more hospitable market than last year at this time.

The university’s Career Center is seeing signs of improvement, which is encouraging news for newly minted graduates.

“Employers are following through with job offers this year,” said Tom Halasz, the center’s director. “We’ve turned a corner. Last year, employers were more cautious. This year, despite the number of on-campus interviews remaining the same and the number of companies attending career fairs being down, we’ve seen employers more active in the process, and the number of job offers is increasing.”

Preliminary surveys of students graduating from USC indicate that 26 percent have found employment, while 29 percent are actively searching. Twenty-five percent will be heading to graduate and professional schools, with another 10 percent waiting to hear from schools.

Halasz says the survey numbers don’t vary dramatically from previous years. Students have reported job offers from a range of employers, including Teach for America, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Eaton, SCANA, Deloitte, Bank of America, Northwest Mutual, Belk and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) reports hiring is up 5.3 percent nationally for the Class of 2010. The figure was included in its “Job Outlook 2010 Spring Update,” released April 15. The report highlighted accounting, engineering, retail/wholesale trade employers as topping the list of employers hiring.

Similar to many economic reports, NACE shows the Southeast experiencing a slower job recovery than some parts of the country.

“The Southeast was hit hard, but the region is recovering and will do better than most parts of the country in time,” Halasz said. He cites Boeing in Charleston, Proterra in Spartanburg and a wind turbine plant at the Charleston Naval Base as healthy indicators for South Carolina’s manufacturing sector and emerging energy industry.

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