Big Hiring Back at Colleges Interviews, wages all up more than expected, say experts By Mark Russell, Newser Staff Posted Apr 2, 2012 12:02 AM CDT Updated Apr 2, 2012 12:24 AM CDT 4 comments Comments New graduate hiring is up 10.2%, pointing to the economic recovery picking up its pace, say economists. (Shutterstock) (Newser) – In another sign that the recovery is picking up speed, university graduate hiring is way up this spring, surging 10.2% from last year, reports Reuters. The National Association of Colleges and Employers had expected grad hiring to rise, but previously predicted 9.5%. Around the country, universities' career services departments are reporting big increases in the number of companies attending career fairs, and the number of interviews being granted. Even wages are up, with salaries for first-time job seekers after college rising 4.5% to $42,569. "It's kind of like a no-brainer," says the director of Career Services at UCLA. "The economy is better, and the college recruitment market is improving." While the unemployment rate in the US is 8.3%, among college graduates over the age of 25, unemployment is just 4.2%. One American University senior said he has not found a job yet, but he's confident about his odds. "The vibe on campus is that people are excited," he said.