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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A 25 percent increase in on-campus job interviews points to the best employment opportunities for University of Tennessee-Knoxville grads since the 1980s, UT’s director of career services said Thursday.

“This is by far the best year we’ve seen in the 1990s. Last semester we had about 25 percent more recruiters on campus than in the fall of ’95, and for spring, we’re up even higher,” Dr. Bob Greenberg said.

The annual jobs forecast from Michigan State University and corporate recruiters on campus this week to interview UT students say hiring is up nationally.

“I would certainly agree that the market is looking up,” David Dixon, employment specialist with Norfolk Southern Railway, said. “We’re looking for graduates with training in transportation and logistics, accounting, information technology, engineering and other fields.”

Like Norfolk Southern, many employers are pursuing UT students in engineering, computer science and accounting, Greenberg said. But students looking for jobs in sales and retail management are catching recruiters’ attention too, he said.

“There aren’t many transportation and logistics majors nationwide, and employers are more and more interested in it. That puts our major in a really good competitive situation, but job prospects in many areas are very, very good right now.

“As we draw closer to graduation in May, I think we are going to see more companies that failed to meet their hiring targets coming back and trying even harder to find people.”

Students, too, are responding to the improving jobs picture, he said.

“For the first time in the 1990s, students seem to be coming to the job market aggressively and enthusiastically. I think there has been a big turn-around just over the past couple of months,” Greenberg said.

The Michigan State report says hiring this year will rise 6.2 percent from 1996, the biggest one-year increase since 1985. Engineers and computer science majors will receive the highest salaries, the report says.

Chemical engineering grads’ average salary will be $42,758, a 4.3 percent increase from last year.

Contact: Bob Greenberg (423-974-5435)