CHICAGO (CBS) — CBS 2 is Working for Chicago – getting you the information you need about the job market.

Here is some for soon-to-be college grads. They may be entering a rebounding economy, but they will have to compete with a swarm of more experienced workers who lost their jobs in the pandemic.

CBS 2’s Tim McNicholas reported Monday morning on a new economic study that points to opportunities – and challenges.

College commencement day is one of the biggest days of your life – a moment of triumph after years of hard work. But you should skip the victory lap, if you ask Chicago-based job placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

“There’s some years where it’s OK to take the summer off, but in this case, as the economy is just starting to rev up,” said the firm’s Andy Challenger. “This is when the most opportunities are going to be available.”

Challenger started with the good news – employers are expected to hire 7.2 percent more college graduates this year compared to last, according to a study from the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

The bad news is that more than 8 million Americans are still unemployed, and many are applying for those same jobs.

“That means new college graduates are going to be competing for roles against some people with more job experience than them who have already been working for years,” Challenger said.

Challenger’s advice? If you have the work experience, talk it up. If not, tell employers about the challenges you overcame over the past year.

“We have this ready-made period – the coronavirus,” Challenger said. “If you were going to school over the past year, you ran into many, many obstacles, throughout your school year.”

And with an unpredictable job market, you may be facing another challenge right out of the gates.

We asked Challenger, Gray & Christmas which industries have the most openings popping up right now. They say IT, finance, health care, energy, and manufacturing.

CBS 2 is committing to Working For Chicago, connecting you every day with the information you or a loved one might need about the jobs market, and helping you remove roadblocks to getting back to work.

We’ll keep uncovering information every day to help this community get back to work, until the job crisis passes. CBS 2 has several helpful items right here on our website, including a look at specific companies that are hiring, and information from the state about the best way to get through to file for unemployment benefits in the meantime.

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