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Science and Engineering Jobs Stall in the U.S.

According to statistics released by the Population Reference Bureau, science and engineering jobs had a 4.9 percent share in the U.S. in 2010, which was slightly down from 5.0 percent in 2009. The 5.0 percent share had held steady at least since 2005, but is down from 5.3 percent in 2000. The Population Reference Bureau said that there are currently 7.6 million people working in the science-and-engineering segment of the job market.

Since science and engineering is considered to be the origin for innovation and resulting job growth, there is now concern that this job engine may be permanently stalling. The Population Reference Bureau also noted that U.S. scientists and engineers have additional value to the U.S. economy as their presence can "boost tax revenue, housing values, and consumption of goods and services in the communities where they live and work." The median income of this group in 2010 was $65,000, compared with $31,000 for people in all occupations nationwide. According to the Bureau, this gap has grown between 2007 and 2010 from $31,000 to $34,000.

Off-shoring and investments in other nations may be one reason, but it appears that availability of a workforce is not a driver for this trend. Between 2007 and 2010, the unemployment rate for science and engineering workers more than doubled from 2.6 percent to 5.6 percent. According to the data released, Maryland and Virginia had the highest share of its labor force in science and engineering jobs with a share of 8 percent each. Colorado, Massachusetts and Washington follow with 7 percent each. The top science cities are San Jose with 12 percent, Seattle with 11 percent and San Diego with 10 percent. As of 2010, there were only three cities in the U.S. with a double digit share, which is down from six in 2007 (Austin, Raleigh, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle).