The stock market recently hit record highs this month, while the unemployment rate changed little – holding steady at 3.9 according to the latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, job gains were in health care, social assistance, transportation, and warehousing, and those are all expected to remain among the fastest-growing sectors over the next decade.

Those weren’t exactly the gains that recent college grads likely hoped to see.

Moreover, the National Association of Colleges and Employers projected that entry-level hiring is set to fall by 5.8% this year compared to 2023.

Entry-Level Hiring

Even though entry-level hiring could slip slightly, NACE’s Job Outlook 224 Spring Update survey found that 80% of employers expect no change in the bachelor’s degree requirement for entry-level positions in the next two years. The respondents to the survey stated that there are now expectations that the bachelor’s degree requirement could increase, mainly due to an increase in skill requirements of entry-level jobs and their partnerships with colleges and universities.

Those respondents expecting the bachelor’s degree requirement to decrease emphasized it would be due to a shift in focus to skills instead of the degree.

The Great Resignation Is Over

The post-pandemic great resignation is largely seen as a thing of the past, as Americans have released there is no free lunch (or the rent has come due). While workers are still ditching some personal care jobs, and trucking has seen a decline, the days of the mass resignations in hopes of finding more meaningful work are over.

Even in retail and professional services the only thing workers are quitting is actually quitting the job. A cooling job market and economic uncertainty are convincing workers to stick it out.

In some cases, the cooling job market is due to many finding a position that better matches their skills, interests, and salary requirements. That was probably good news for those who graduated in the past few years, but not so good for those in the class of 2024, and it could be worse for next year’s grads.

Tech Sector is ‘Down Loading’ its Staff

Some long-in-demand jobs in the tech sector – notably those in IT and cybersecurity – are still seeing growth, even as major firms have seen massive layoffs after years of unprecedented job growth brought on by the pandemic. Amazon, Google, Meta, and Microsoft all cut staff are hiring booms.

They’re hardly alone.

According to data from, some 287 tech companies have laid off more than 80,000 workers so far this year. Yet, the data also shows that there are still more IT job openings than job seekers, and data research firm Gartner predicts that 79% of CIOs still have a goal of increasing headcounts by as much as 5% in the coming year.

However, Dice has noted that the average IT salary fell last year to $111,193 down from a high of $111,348 a year earlier. It also found that overall salary satisfaction was on the decline.

The Bottom Line

New college grads won’t likely want to take the summer off as they could face increased competition on getting their foot in the door, but that degree will still give them a leg up. It may also be a bit harder to be selective when it comes to landing that first job.

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Peter Suciu is a freelance writer who covers business technology and cyber security. He currently lives in Michigan and can be reached at You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.