Millions of college students are donning their caps and gowns this week to walk the stage and earn their hard-earned diplomas.

They will also enter a job market that is constantly changing, with some bright spots for employment opportunities along with some exceeded expectations.

Job growth last month beat analysts’ expectations in figures released on Friday. Nonfarm payrolls increased 253,000 in April, more than estimated growth of 180,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The low unemployment rate fell further, from 3.6% to 3.4%.

But the report was the latest in a series of mixed signals about the health of the job market that awaits new graduates. Earlier this week, the last Survey of Job Offers and Job Rotation March showed that new positions in the US fell for the third month in a row. Openings fell 384,000, the lowest level since April 2021.

in a april survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, an industry group for recruiters and higher education professionals, companies said they expected to hire 4% more graduates from the class of 2023 than from the class of 2022. But that was a drastic decline from the group’s December projection of around 15%.

So he ADP Payroll Report It said private companies added 296,000 jobs in April, more than double the previous month.

The experts said a combination of factors brought us here. Some industries, such as the technology sector, have suffered the brunt of the 10 interest rate hikes the Federal Reserve has implemented since March of last year. In other areas, while the economy has generally recovered from the disruption of the pandemic, employers are unable to find enough workers.

“There are still industries and companies that are having trouble getting the workers they need, and all you have to do is travel to the United States to experience that,” said Mark Hamrick, a senior economic analyst at Bankrate.

Those sectors include health care and leisure and hospitality, which posted gains in Friday’s jobs report of around 40,000 and 31,000 openings, respectively.

Gabbie Ferron, 22, will have a position waiting for her when she graduates Sunday from the University of Portland in Oregon with her nursing degree. Ferron applied for the resident nurse vacancy at nearby Legacy Emanuel Medical Center one day in mid-April, she received a call to interview for the position and was hired the day after her interview. The process lasted two weeks.

“It’s shocking,” said Ferron, who will participate in an 18-week apprenticeship at the hospital before becoming a registered nurse. It was the only job application she completed and she agreed to take the night shift for an additional $6 an hour.

Gabbie Ferron.Courtesy Gabbie Ferrón

TO report released Tuesday by recruiting software company iCIMS found that the class of 2023 expected a median salary of about $66,500, more than $8,000 more than employers expected to pay entry-level employees, but less than the expected salary. prior year of $70,000.

Ferron declined to say what his total pay rate will be, but said it was «more than I expected» and «very comparable to all the other hospitals here.»

“I was stressed because every week in class, my nursing professors would say, ‘OK, who’s got a job?’” Ferron said. «And even in February, March, like half the class already had jobs.»

A recent commissioned by the state study It showed that Oregon, like much of the country, is dealing with a shortage of registered nurses. It would need to fill at least 13,500 positions to fill the need, according to the report.

Figures ZipRecruiter shared with NBC News showed high demand for jobs in healthcare and education. Openings for nursing jobs are up more than 12% since April 2022, while positions seeking high school teachers, for example, are up 64%.

Job listings in the technology industry plummeted by more than half.

“We don’t want all the talk about layoffs at tech companies to deter students from entering the workforce,” said Daniel Voloch, director of programs for Girls Who Code, a nonprofit group that trains and advocates for the race from youth to youth. women and non-binary people to enter the tech industry.

“Working in the tech industry can mean a lot of different things, and that can mean working in healthcare, art or government,” Voloch said. «They can take all the skills and experiences they’ve been developing and apply them to a career in tech, even if it’s not at one of the big tech companies.»

Some blue-chip brands have continued to invest in tech recruiting amid the now-regular cadence of the industry itself hemorrhaging employees. walmart recently sublet 21,000 square feet of office space in downtown Atlanta, populated by Georgia Tech University and its alumni, for what the company called its «Global Tech Atlanta Hub.» It will count Cisco and WeWork among its new neighbors.

Another sector in which graduates have difficulties landing: communications. In the Labor Department report, job openings in the information industry, which includes publishing and telecommunications, recorded just 1,000 new positions. Data from ZipRecruiter shows that job openings in the media industry have decreased by nearly 64% over the past year.

Carly Wood, 22, will graduate Saturday from Ohio-based Marietta College. The double major in graphic design and strategic communications described her job search as the opposite of Ferron’s rapid recruitment: After applying to 180 jobs, she has only had about six interviews. None of them have materialized into employment.

“I got to a point where I was literally a little anxious if I wasn’t actively applying for jobs all day long,” said Wood, who works as a barista at Starbucks. He said the roles he has applied for range from graphic designer to social media manager.

“I think this field, in particular, is a little more saturated than people realize,” he said. «I think I’ve actually applied to every job posting in the greater Columbus area right now.»

The economists emphasized a message of adaptability for students graduating in a changing landscape.

“There are opportunities. They may just not be exactly where you would have wanted to find them,” said Julia Pollak, chief economist at ZipRecruiter.

Pollak said that industries where first-time job seekers tend to start their career journeys — positions that might not require a college degree, for example — are adding staff, which could translate to «rapid promotion.»

According New York Fed dataThe underemployment rate for the US labor market, that is, the number of college graduates not working in a job that requires a college degree, was 40%, the highest in two decades.

“I think it’s forcing some students to be open-minded about where they start their careers,” Pollak said.

Eric Christensen, 26, graduated from the University of Utah last week with a degree in communications. Despite applying for at least 10 full-time journalism positions in the Salt Lake City area, Christensen received only one callback. The company hasn’t followed up, he said.

Eric Christensen.
Eric Christensen.Courtesy Eric Christensen

Christensen said that, for now, he will wait out the economic uncertainty and continue to work part-time in student services at a local community college. He got married in February, and he and his wife recently bought an apartment with a friend to split the rent.

In the meantime, she’s applying for other positions in higher education where she can put her new degree to work, such as management positions similar to the part-time job she does in student services.

“It’s been a relatively long search,” Christensen said. «And I certainly felt the need for that full-time job compared to what I’m doing with my life right now.»