The job market is good for job seekers

New graduate? Getting back into the workforce? Looking for a job upgrade? The Minneapolis Star Tribune has some good news…

There has seldom been a better time to go job hunting, particularly for new graduates and entry-level workers.

After many recessionary years of clawbacks and wage reductions when the employed were grateful even to have jobs, job seekers now find employers fighting to hire them. Wages are inching up — not enough, and not in all sectors, but it’s happening. Earlier this year a survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses showed that more than 30 percent of small businesses reported paying higher wages. Average U.S. hourly pay has risen nearly 3 percent, the biggest jump in nearly a decade.

To their delight, students looking for summer jobs have found plenty, many paying well above minimum wage and some even accompanied by modest benefit packages.

Particularly for workers just starting out, this may be the best labor market since the 1990s, said Steve Hine, director of labor market information for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. “We’re at 3.1 percent unemployment. For workers, we’re moving into a sellers’ market in a way we haven’t seen before.”