Monday, September 16, 2019

Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 5% growth in chemists for 2018-28 period

Credit: Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released its biennial projections of job growth for the next 8 years, which include their projections for the growth of chemists. A few comments:
  • Most importantly, they have revised the overall occupational growth for the 2018-2028 decade down to 5% from 7% for the 2016-2026 period. I find that quite concerning. 
  • The expected increase in the number of chemists is 5% for the 2018-28 time period, which is slightly lower than the 6% number for 2016-2026. 
  • Also, the absolute number of chemists has been adjusted down from 88300 for the 2016 period to 87700 for 2018. 
I don't actually think this is cause for too much alarm for chemists in particular, in the sense that I imagine that these downward trends are more reflective of their overall projections for the trajectory of all employment growth in the US workforce than any particular problems within employers of chemists. At the same time, we would all hope for higher numbers than lower ones. 

I think that we have seen a warmer employment market for younger and mid-career chemists over these past two or three years, and I think it is interesting to not see that really reflected in these numbers. It would be interesting to know if the seemingly more active employment market for chemists is illusory, or I am missing trends in retirements. 

The number of chemistry professors (also known as "postsecondary teachers, chemistry" for the Bureau of Labor Statistics) will see a 6% growth over the 2018-28 period. Interestingly, they project growth of just 2000 new professors (4-year schools) during that time frame. If (a big if!) the ~500 or so that we see from the Chemistry Faculty Jobs List is an accurate number as well, then perhaps we are seeing the retirement numbers play a significant role in the overall growth in jobs? (i.e. every year, we're adding 400 or so new professors, but we're also seeing 200 or so retire?) Or, it's entirely possible that neither of these numbers are particularly accurate? Hard to say. 

Overall, not too much bad news, just kinda moving sideways...

1 comment:

  1. A 5% growth in actual chemist jobs, or a 5% growth in those crappy Yoh/Aerotek/Kelly temporary QC analyst jobs?


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