Friday, July 17, 2009

Scientist shortage?

Scan Bureau of Labor Statistics projections and you won't find words like "crisis" or even "shortfall."
Hey, remember all those reports about scientist shortages? Remember how Bill Gates and others were blaming the schools for not turning out enough scientists and engineers and for hurting us in our competition with China and India?

Well, maybe not:
Numbers from the U.S. Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics issued Tuesday showed the unemployment rate for electrical engineers hit a record high, 8.6%, in the second quarter, more than doubling from 4.1% in the first quarter... Meanwhile, emerging nations such as India and China produced nearly 700,000 engineers alone. But the slow growth of U.S.-born STEM workers, analysts say, may have less to do with funding commitments than with cloudy career paths and low wages relative to other specialized careers such as medicine, law and finance. (USA Today)
Unemployment, especially among older Silicon Valley engineers, has been a constant reality for the past 20 years. "But it's certainly gone into 'hyper mode' in the last six," says Alan Weissberger, a 61-year-old telecommunications engineer in Santa Clara, Calif., who admits to being "stumped" when people say there's a shortage of engineers..

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