College graduates should have a relatively easy time finding jobs this year .
The job outlook for college graduates is better than it has been in years, local and national job placement officials said.
``It's a very good year to be graduating from college,'' said Ann Hartley, associate director of Kansas University's Career and Employment Services.
``It's a little bit more optimistic from a few years back when everybody was downsizing and nobody could find a job. It's definitely a good market.''
In a national survey conducted this spring, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) said the job outlook for college graduates is brighter than it has been in several years.
``While computer science majors are receiving offers faster than a speeding Pentium processor, students and new graduates in other areas are profiting from the technology boom as well,'' NACE said in a report of its survey.
Employers, mainly computer software and data processing firms, are offering new computer science graduates average starting salaries of $40,417 -- an 8.6 percent increase over figures posted in September 1997.
In the engineering disciplines, mechanical engineering majors experienced a 4.8 percent increase and are now looking at average starting salaries of $40,117.
Chemical engineering majors had average starting salaries of $44,735, and electrical engineers had an average starting salary of $41,192.
Offers to accounting graduates rose by 7.5 percent over those posted in September, with average starting salaries climbing to $32,407, NACE said. Offers to candidates with degrees in management information systems rose by 8.8 percent, with average starting salaries of $38,229.
Economics and finance majors saw their offers increase by 3.8 percent, giving them average starting salaries of $32,522, the survey said.
According to an annual job outlook survey conducted last fall by NACE, starting salary offers to new liberal arts graduates were forecast at 6.5 percent higher than last year's offers to liberal arts graduates.
The average offer to a liberal arts graduate will be $28,875, according to the national survey.
Mike Pritchard, director of the Lawrence Job Service Career Center, 833 Ohio, said a low unemployment rate and strong economy means a good outlook for graduates this year.
``The need that employers have for well-educated staff is pretty good,'' he said. ``It's pretty wide open for (graduates) to find work with about any employer they want.''
Those graduating from high school, he said, also have possibilities for minimum-wage work, but not many high-paying jobs.
``If you don't have a marketable skill, it's just real difficult,'' he said.
-- Mike Dekker's phone message number is 832-7187. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.