Monday, August 26, 2013

NSF: California, Texas and New York home to 25% of US' science/engineering workforce

From this week's C&EN, coverage by Andrea Widener of this NSF report on the geographical spread of the nation's scientists and engineers. Unfortunately, there is no breakdown for chemists, but there is a tally of physical scientists as a percentage of employed:
  1. Los Angeles, CA (2.5%)
  2. Denver, CO (2.5%)
  3. Boston, MA (2.2%)
  4. Houston, TX (2.1%)
  5. San Diego, CA  (2.0%)
  6. Santa Clara, CA (1.9%)
  7. Oakland, CA (1.8%)
  8. Montgomery County, MD (1.7%)
Looks like NSF hit a lot of the highlights of the geography that Andre and I were covering. I was surprised by LA, though. (Also, click through to the report to see the role that "computer science and mathematical occupations" plays in this analysis -- quite a large one, as you might expect.)

10 comments:

  1. Sorry but the second link should read Andrea not Andre!
    Do I get my free Chemjobber tee-shirt or coffee mug now?

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    1. Q, if there was a CJ t-shirt, I would have sent you one long ago.

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    2. Well, thank you for the kind thought(s).

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  2. I'm really starting to hate the acronym STEM. The report groups comp-sci and mathematics together without distinction, but I'd be willing to lay a wager that mathematics jobs not associated with computers are little more than a rounding error. STEM jobs is at best a misnomer, at worst a bad joke. There are tech and engineering jobs, science and math jobs are the icing on the cake.

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  3. Why is this concentration in CA, TX, and NY so surprising. Those three states have 26.6% of the population of the country as well (based on this data.)

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    1. This was my initial thought as well. I went right to the population data. I guess the takeaway is you should NOT go to these states for sci/eng jobs because other states have more jobs per capita?

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  4. Los Angeles has a disproportiate amount of geologists, who would be considered physical chemists.

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  5. I found that CA, TX, and NY together account for 24.7% of the nation's employment in food services and accommodations. Shocking!

    What exactly is NSF trying to mine from the census data? If they're that hard-up on research topics, here's a suggestion: A paper that details how the term "STEM" is useless and probably counterproductive.

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  6. Makes sense that CA dominates this list. Interesting that Houston made it as well. Were you able to find any salary data for the different cities? For example, median wages for an electrical engineer in Houston versus Los Angeles...

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    1. Probably a little lower (I am a physical chemist employed in industry in Houston). But in Houston metro you can easily get a nice 1 bedroom apartment, 700-800 sq ft, for between $800-1100. Most places in CA are much more expensive to live from what I have heard.
      It does not surprise me that Houston is on this list. It is the 5th largest US city and it is jam packed with scientists- the combo of the oil industry, Medical center, NASA, chemical plants.

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