What STEM shortage? Electrical engineering lost 35,000 jobs last year

Article author: 
Patrick Thibodeau
Article publisher: 
Article date: 
4 February 2014
Article category: 
National News
Article Body: 

Despite an expanding use of electronics in products, the number of people working as electrical engineers in U.S. declined by 10.4% last year.

The decline amounted to a loss of 35,000 jobs and increased the unemployment rate for electrical engineers from 3.4% in 2012 to 4.8% last year, an unusually high rate of job losses for this occupation.

There are 300,000 people working as electrical engineers, according to U.S. Labor Department data analyzed by the IEEE-USA. In 2002, there were 385,000 electrical engineers in the U.S...

The number of employed software developers, the largest IT occupation segment, increased by only 1.75%, to 1.1 million, a gain of 19,000. The unemployment rate for developers last year was 2.7%, which is still elevated, according to Hira.

Jobs for computer systems analysts increased by 35,000, to 534,000, an increase of 7%, but Hira said it is the most common H-1B occupation and that nearly all those gains went to H-1B visa holders...

The unemployment rate for electrical engineers exceeded other engineering categories. For mechanical engineers, the unemployment rate was 2.7%, and for civil engineers, 3.4%.

In the computer hardware engineering field, which employs about 90,000, there was a decline of 1,000 jobs from 2012, setting the unemployment rate at 2.7%...

Claims of shortages of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) workers "have no support in fact and no connection to reality, " Hira said...