Monday, January 13, 2014

Bureau of Labor Statistics revises expected chemist job growth from 4% to 6%, lowers material scientist job growth from 10% to 5%


BLS has released the 2014 edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook; its entry for Chemists and Material scientists has been updated. From this, you can see that the expected chemist job growth for the 2012-2022 period is 6%, still well-below the expected job growth in the US for all occupations (11%). This is a upward revision from 2012, when the projected job growth for chemists was 4% for the 2010-2020 time period.

Also, it is interesting that material scientist job growth is now predicted to be 5% for the 2012-2022 period; it was 10% just two years ago. It would be fascinating to know (and I am efforting to find out) why material scientist job growth was revised down significantly.

Finally, I find it really troubling that the overall expected occupational job growth was just 10% for the 2012-2022, as opposed to the 14% expected 2 years ago for the 2010-2020. That's not a good sign for the overall US economy, I think.

Best wishes to all of us.

UPDATE: PQ comments to note that he was right, ~3 years in advance. Nice job, PQ! 

12 comments:

  1. "It would be fascinating to know (and I am efforting to find out) why material scientist job growth was revised down significantly"

    China. Materials and polymer science jobs are being outsourced there like mad, and the Chinese share of the literature is booming. R&D follows manufacturing. The shale boom in the US won't help much as there is only so much R&D to do around polyethylene and polypropylene. It'll be great for engineers and construction contractors. Not so much for chemists.



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  2. How can one plan his/her future if the government changes demand projections every two years? Up, down, up, down..... The fact that these numbers change before a student can make it through their sophomore year of college tells you that projections of STEM shortages is just made-up numbers by people with a self-serving agenda. A student, blindfolded with dart in hand would be more reliable in picking a STEM education vs. a liberal arts education for their future economic wellbeing.

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  3. So, job growth at half the rate of the economy as a whole?

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    1. Yes, if you take (chemist job growth)/(job growth of all jobs). Good news: it used to be 28% (3.8%/14%).

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    2. Better "train" more PhDs pronto!

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  4. Hmmmm. I seem to remember something...

    CJ: The Bureau of Labor Statistics foresees 12% growth in MatSci positions from 2008-2018 -- are they wrong?

    PQ: Well, if they’re right, it’s nothing to crow about. According to their numbers, job growth for accountants is supposed to be 21%. I don’t know about you, but given those numbers, I’d be strongly encouraging my nieces and nephews to become CPAs over Ph.D.s in materials science.

    Nonetheless, I still think it’s an unrealistic number given the decline of manufacturing and the profession’s strong connection to it. If the “making stuff into other stuff” business goes away, then what’s the point of being an expert on “stuff?”

    http://chemjobber.blogspot.com/2011/04/interview-pq-materials-scientist.html

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    1. Welp, you were righter than wronger and I was wronger than righter. Nice call.

      Cheers, CJ

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    2. It's a lousy thing to be right about. I wish I'd been wronger.

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  5. Well, here is what the BLS says about Pharmacists:

    http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Pharmacists.htm

    Yup: a 14% increase in 10 years.

    Yet the blogs I read suggests that the market here is now at saturation, due all of the new Pharmacy schools that have recently opened up and have nearly doubled the number of PharmD graduates. If the schools continue to churn out graduates, it will soon become as absurdly competitive as Chemistry. I don't think the BLS numbers are reliable. The gov't probably gets its "facts" from the "brains" of McKinsey and associates.

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    1. Two things:

      1) I think BLS does a pretty good job, myself. While I don't think that they can be expected to be correct every single time, I think they do a good job of balancing openness, speed and accuracy.

      2) It's worth noting that they were predicting pharmacist job increases of 25% before: http://www.bls.gov/opub/ooq/2012/spring/art02.pdf

      3) It's possible to have both issues, right? It's possible to have a near-term increase/glut* and then have long-term demand, I think. (Maybe I'm wrong.)

      *The schools ramp up admissions/graduating classes, pump out 5000/yr (or whatever.) from 2500 students/yr. At the same time, openings for entry-level pharmacists increases during the same time period from 3000 to 4000. That'd still leave 1000 new pharmacists in the cold, even with a 33% increase in openings.

      (I do feel that the word about issues with pharmacy school are being heard.)

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    2. I agree with CJ. A growth in job openings doesn't mean there won't be an oversupply of pharmacists. I wonder what these numbers look like for veterinarians. They have an oversupply issue as well according to reports.

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