When it comes to college grads finding a job, two things are happening. One is that fewer are looking and two is that fewer are finding. Keep in mind that this data comes from a survey of 16,500 graduating seniors conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers from February through April 30. Things may have shifted somewhat since then.
In the spring of 2007, before the recession began in December 2007, 64 percent of graduates had already applied (not looked for, but actually applied) for a job by the end of April. Of those applying, 51 percent had jobs by graduation. This year, only 59 percent started applying for jobs by the end of April. Of those, only one in five had a job by cap-and-gown day.
It doesn't surprise me that kids coming out of college would be spooked by the economy. It's scary. It may be that they think that if they can hold out a little, it'll improve enough for them to find work. At the same time, NACE notes, more are planning to stay in school for graduate studies.
Accountants and engineers seem the most willing to apply for and accept jobs, perhaps because they feel the effort will pay off.