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Base salaries get a boost

Average wages for professional occupations are expected to rise 3.6 percent in 2017.

Those job offers may feel a little cushier in the year ahead.

National starting salaries for professional occupations are expected to increase 3.6 percent, on average, next year, according to a 2017 salary report from staffing firm Robert Half.

Led by increases in compensation for those working in technology, base salaries will rise as much as 3.8 percent for the most in-demand positions, like data scientists, the report said. Financial analysts, accountants and first-year associates at large law firms will also see above average pay gains in the coming year.

Among data scientists, for example, the unemployment rate is far below the national average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (with high job satisfaction and industry growth to boot).

"With skilled professionals in high demand and short supply, more hiring managers are willing to negotiate compensation with potential hires," Paul McDonald, Robert Half's senior executive director, said in a statement. "Top candidates are receiving multiple offers and will lose interest when faced with a lengthy hiring process."

For newly minted college graduates, it's the best job market in years. Overall, employers are estimated to hire about 5 percent more graduates from the class of 2016 than last year, according to a separate report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.