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Companies are expected to offer 825,000 jobs to new graduates of universities and graduate schools in 2007, close to the 840,000 in 1991 when the economic bubble was peaking, the employment and labor research division of Recruit Co. said Tuesday.

The estimate for 2007 is an increase of 18.1 percent over the previous year and the second largest since data was first compiled by Recruit in the mid-1980s.

The bright employment outlook for graduates reflects the economic recovery and the retirement of the oldest baby boomers starting next year, the division said.

If the forecast proves accurate, the ratio of job offers to job seekers will be 1.89 for 2007, up from an estimated 1.6 for 2006.

By sector, financial institutions plan to offer 26.7 percent more jobs for 2007, while 20.8 percent more students want to work in that industry.

As students are more inclined to seek employment at big companies, small and midsize businesses may find it difficult to hire young workers, the institute said.

To determine job market trends in 2007, the institute surveyed 7,469 companies with five or more workers on their hiring plans for students graduating in March 2007. It compiled the data based on replies from 4,068 companies.