Scientist shortage? Maybe not

As the push to train more young people in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers gains steam, a few prominent skeptics are warning that it might be misguided, USA Today reports — and that rhetoric about the U.S. losing its world preeminence in science, math, and technology might be a stretch. One example: Numbers from the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics issued July 7 showed the unemployment rate for electrical engineers hit a record high, 8.6 percent, in the second quarter, more than doubling from 4.1 percent in the first quarter. The rate for all engineers climbed to 5.5 percent, up from 3.9 percent in the first quarter. Those are still better than the nation’s overall unemployment rate of 9.7 percent—but the slow growth of U.S.-born STEM workers, analysts say, might 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. Among the most vocal critics: Michael Teitelbaum of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in New York, which funds basic scientific, economic and civic research. He says there are "substantially more scientists and engineers" graduating from the USA’s universities than can find attractive jobs…

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