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Companies Expected to Increase Hiring of New College Graduates

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A recent survey finds employers will increase hiring of new four-year college graduates about 5 percent in 2013. Demand for graduates with associate’s degrees is expected to increase more sharply, while MBA hiring appears headed for an unexpected decline.

The 42nd annual survey from Michigan State University’s College Employment Research Institute collects responses on hiring plans from more than 2,000 U.S. employers.

For four-year college graduates, the report finds employers are looking most actively for business-related majors but demand is also strong for “all majors” — an indication many employers want critical thinking skills that can be developed in many different courses of study. Demand for engineering, accounting and computer science majors appears somewhat softer than in previous years.

Employers Held Health-Benefit Cost Growth to 4.1 Percent

Decisive action by employers in 2012 —for example, moving more employees into low-cost consumer-directed health plans and beefing up health management programs — was rewarded with the lowest average annual cost increase since 1997.

According to the National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans, conducted annually by global consulting firm Mercer, growth in the average total health-benefit cost per employee slowed from 6.1 percent in 2011 to just 4.1 percent in 2012. Cost averaged $10,558 per employee in 2012. Large employers — those with 500 or more employees — experienced both a higher increase (5.4percent) and higher average cost.

Employers expect another relatively low increase of 5 percent for 2013. However, this increase reflects changes they plan to make to reduce cost; if they made no
changes, cost would rise by an average of 7.4 percent.

Mercer’s nationally projectable annual survey includes public and private organizations with 10 or more employees; 2,809 employers responded in 2012.

“Employers are very aware that in 2014, when the health reform law’s provisions kick in, they will be asked to cover more employees and face added cost pressure,“ stated Julio Portalatin, president and CEO of Mercer.

To download a copy of the Manufacturer & Business Association’s most recent health-care reform update by Lorin Lacy of HR consulting firm Buck Consultants, visit www.mbausa.org.