Congratulations, Class of 2010! You’re in a better place than the Class of 2009. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the job market is improving … slightly.

The association’s Job Outlook 2010 Spring Update reports that companies plan to hire 5.3% more new college graduates this year than they did last year. Additional data from NACE’s 2010 Student Survey reveals that prospective employers have already started doing so. 

Of 2010 graduates who actively applied for work, 24.4% have a job waiting for them post-graduation. This is up almost 5 percentage points from last year when only 19.7% of graduates submitting resumes and applications scored direct employment.

While NACE maintains that an uptick in the job market is partially responsible for the improvements, it cites other factors at work in regard to the increase.

“A greater number of Class of 2010 graduates accepted the jobs they were offered,” Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director, said in a  press release. “There appears to be a greater awareness of the economic realities among this year’s graduates, and greater flexibility in the types of jobs they will consider.”

NACE also found that college students who took part in internship programs were more likely to receive job offers, with 42.3% of seniors with internship experience receiving at least one job offer while only 30.7% of those without experience were offered a position.   

NACE, an organization created to facilitate the employment of college-educated job seekers, polled 31,470 students representing more than 400 colleges and universities in its annual survey. More than 13,000 participants were graduating seniors. A final report on the 2010 Student Survey will be available later this year. 

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