Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Chemists come out worse in 2012 unemployment comparison

The latest unemployment numbers for all graduate degree holders for 2012 has been released from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. I've helpfully annotated the chart with comparisons to the (skepticism-inducing*) 2012 ACS member unemployment numbers and 2012  (skepticism-inducing**) BLS "chemist and material scientist" unemployment numbers.

As you can note, chemists come out worse in every single apples-to-apples comparison on all equivalent degree holders. (I'll do the salary numbers at some point soon.)

I've been trying to figure out for a while what "recovery" looks like -- so this is one of the key markers, I think. Recovery will be when our numbers are not consistently higher than "all" degree-holders.

Best wishes to all of us.

*Not all chemists are ACS members, the survey has a very low response rate, etc., etc. 
** The Current Population Survey only surveys 80,000 households -- what's the chances of a representative mix of chemists in there? 

1 comment:

  1. I have always wondered why employment numbers and salary surveys seem so rosy. I suspect part of the reason is that the statisticians seem to always do the equivalent of asking lottery winners what the benefits of buying a lottery ticket are, ignoring all the losers.
    Here is an example of someone who did it right and looked at the outcomes for everyone, not just those lucky few who got a winning ticket. Obviously, things aren't so rosy when looking through those glasses.
    This is also why I cringe whenever I hear someone say "They shouldn't have majored in X. Everyone who majors in Y does great."