SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s nearly graduation time for college seniors across KELOLAND and like last year, many are facing a wide-open job market with plenty of opportunities.

Across the nation, economic concerns can be felt in nearly every industry.

“While we hear about looming layoffs or recession, that has not been the case for entry level hires in our region,” Billie Streufert, the Assistant Vice Provost of Student Success at Augustana University said.

But workers are still in high demand all across KELOLAND, where local employers are competing for this new round of college graduates.

“Especially here in Sioux Falls where the talent war is very real,” Streufert said. “Many of our graduates have already secured employment in the fall because of early hiring, especially in fields like accounting, nursing and computer science.”

The Augustana class of 2022 had a 99 percent placement rate in their major or chosen field; Streufert says so far the class of 2023 is looking similar. 

“The demand right now remains just as strong,” Streufert said. “We have not heard from any local company that hiring is slowing down.”

“There’s so many opportunities for medical students and athletic trainers everywhere, it’s really easy to find an opportunity,” Augustana Junior Mary Holthe said.

Even juniors and sophomores are finding plenty of options for paid summer internships directly in their field.

“Its very nice to be able to choose where I want to go, instead of being forced to stick to one place because that’s the only offer you get,” Augustana Sophomore Grace Schavee said.

In the current job market, the real competition is between employers rather than college graduates. Many of Augustana’s class of 2023 have had multiple job offers to choose from.

“The culture of the work environment has become incredibly important and internships,” Streufert said. “They get an early glimpse of an internship and that has really helped our students stay in Sioux Falls.”

While employees are in even higher demand in South Dakota, many companies across the nation are facing workforce shortages.

Streufert says the Department of Labor showed early hiring of college graduates was up more than 15 percent for the class of 2023.