Friday, April 12, 2013

Decline in Engineering Job Creation

Both as part of the debate on immigration reform and independently per request from west coast technology firms, the congress is considering increasing the number of those on technical visas and immigrants with technical skills admitted to the US as there seems to be a shortage. But is the shortage real? is one of those web sites that consolidates information from other sites into one interface. In the case of Indeed, it consolidates employment solicitations. It also has a number of tools to help the job searcher, one of which is a Trend chart that shows how many or what percentage of employment solicitations mention a particular skill. This facility of shows some peculiar results regarding engineering.

For most of the current century 10% of employment ads mentioned engineering. During the 2008 collapse, this number had been approaching 15% but fell back sharply coinciding with a renewed loss of manufacturing jobs. Since the collapse, there has been a slight recovery in the percentage of job solicitations mentioning engineering. However in mid 2012 that number collapsed again, falling below 10% and reaching levels of pre-2006.

The general trend of the above graph is repeated by plotting individual engineering specialties (electrical, mechanical,chemical), "civil engineering" is relatively stable for now but only because it could not get any worse. Although there has been some recovery in manufacturing jobs, the chart tends to indicate a continued hollowing out of the country's technological base. The decline in percentage of engineering jobs being created lead the overall decline in job creation and may be something of a leading indicator. It highlights the need to grow manufacturing to return the US to economic health.


  1. the elephant in the room that no one wants to acknowledge is the fact that there is plenty of engineering talent here, but firms hiring are not willing to pay the going rate for talent, therefore they attempt to falsely create an infinite supply which drives wages down.

  2. Another indicator of the decline in our ability to make things people want to buy, other than weapons and financial instruments. Look at the US trade deficits of both high-tech and low-tech goods since 1980, our tax and trade policies along with business practices of the past 30 years have led to this disaster, and we address it with short-term gimmicks


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