Wednesday, July 15, 2009
What is the unemployment rate for chemists?
What is the unemployment rate among chemists? Surprising that I haven't asked such a fundamental question, but an assertion by Kinetix on "In the Pipeline" that the current US unemployment rate for chemists was greater than 25% got me thinking and looking.
According to the ACS salary survey, the rate of unemployment ("unemployed/seeking employment) amongst chemists was 2.3% in 2008. If you expand the definition to include part-time workers and postdocs (heh), you get a rate of 7.5%. While I personally think that's stretching it, there's some precedent, in that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has a U6 unemployment rate that includes "discouraged workers", "marginally attached workers" and part-time workers who wish to work fulltime. Considering U6 unemployment in the US is 16.8% while the official unemployment rate is 9.5%, I can see a disbelief of the ACS' remarkably low number of 2.3%.*
I expect that the number for the 2009 salary survey will show a "U3-like" unemployment rate among ACS members at 5%, with the "U6-like" total rate around ~12%.
Twenty-five percent? I don't think so.
*It's worth noting that I haven't been able to find other sources about chemist unemployment, like a BLS number. Anyone have an idea?