The job market for this spring's science graduates at all levels may well be one of the tightest in decades, university career development experts say. Many also point out, however, that this year's recruitment patterns indicate that employment prospects are no longer experiencing the precipitous decline of the past several years.

"Things seem to be finally leveling off and starting to go forward a bit," says Steven Kravinsky, director of career placement for the sciences, business, and liberal arts at Iowa State University of Science and Technology in Ames. "In the Midwest, we've never felt the fluctuations [in the job market] as severely as they were felt on the coasts. So a slight recovery for us probably means more in terms of the big picture."

The current employment dynamics for young scientists appear to be stabilizing into new, probably long-term, patterns, career placement professionals say. These include an employer pool...

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