Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Uh-oh: BLS measures chemist unemployment at 6.1%

Last year, the Wall Street Journal published the Bureau of Labor Statistics' unemployment rate for chemists and material scientists at 3.1%. This year, the BLS number for chemist and material scientist unemployment was...

6.1 percent! That's really high, folks. That's not a very good sign.

It will be interesting to learn if the ACS salary survey for 2011 (whose results will be published sometime this year) will follow this trend for chemist unemployment.

If you look at Figure 1 here, you'll see that the ACS and BLS numbers more-or-less agree. This number, though, I'll bet there will be some disagreement. Oh dear. 


  1. CJ: I never take this # seriously! The government uses several convoluted ways to quantify the number that is not simple math. Anyway, overall I concur with you that the trend is not good. I am very sure that unemployment for the chemists at all age group is around 10%+. That # is even higher for the age group over 50y+. My estimation is conservative knowing that my previous company ( rhymes with Jerk) has eliminated at least 10% of R and D workforce during the past 4 years. I am sure that it is the same for other large pharmaceutical companies as well. That # steadily inches upwards for small to medium sized companies. What is unfolding is disaster that no one can control but to watch frustratingly!

  2. Oh, let's make a poll! I predict 2.4% and word "rosy" encountered at least 5 times.

  3. My money is on 3.4% with a comment like "an encouraging outlook for 2012 as the broader economy improves".

  4. So, chemistry unemployment doubled? Call me skeptical on this.

  5. Bu..but they told me things were going to get better!

    "Based on the information they gave, the steady recruitment shown over the last 8 years is predicted to continue for at least the next 5 years."


    Just pretend it's still 2006. It'll make you feel better.

  6. You know what I don't understand? In 2009 I was unemployed and needed 17 hours of credit to get B.S. in chemistry. Under Obama, I qualified to receive unemployment AND grants to go back to school because "my degree" was highly sought after and there was demand in my field IN MY STATE. Now? I work part-time as a chemist, hold two jobs and have no medical. Show me the demand.


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20