As the nation”s economy remains mired in recession, employment opportunities are beginning to dry up, particularly for college students. A Michigan State University survey released last week shows that for the 2001-2002 academic year, companies are expecting to hire 6 percent to 13 percent fewer people.

“Jobs are still out there, but it”s going to take a variety of resources to find them,” said Lynne Sebille-White, assistant director of recruitment services at the University of Michigan”s Career, Planning and Placement office. “Jobs are going to take a longer time to find it”s not going to happen overnight.”

The annual survey, conducted by Michigan State Collegiate Employment Research Institute and based on feedback from 286 employers nationwide, also stated that starting salaries are projected to grow between only 1 percent and 3 percent over the next year, with fewer companies expected to offer bonuses and other lucrative incentives to attract potential employees.

“Right now, everyone”s cutting back,” said Graham Curchin, an equity trader at Bank of America in Chicago. “All the bonuses and the added perks have disappeared. Companies are only spending money on what they consider essential.”

Sebille-White said health care and pharmaceutical companies are continuing to recruit in Ann Arbor, while advertising, marketing and consulting firms have decreased the number of offers being made. But “companies value the quality of students here and if companies are scaling back (recruiting), U of M is one of the last schools to go,” she said.

With job prospects declining, students are debating their post-graduation plans.

“It”s been very tough to find jobs because of the economy,” said Michigan Engineering senior Ciara Stella. “It”s uncharacteristic (for engineers). You can still get internships, but it”s hard with full-time jobs.”

Stella said she is currently weighing other options, such as graduate school and traveling abroad because “the two main companies I am interested in are not hiring.”

LSA senior Dan Brody, who plans to graduate in the spring with an economics major, said he is also encountering difficulty in finding a job.

“I worked at a firm over the summer and got an offer in August,” Brody said. “A month later, it was rescinded. I hope that things get better in the spring.”

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