Dismal Unemployment Numbers for Electrical Engineers

An IEEE-USA report reveals a sharp downturn

24 April 2013

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Despite talk of a recovering economy in the United States, unemployment numbers for electrical engineers have become significantly worse. That’s according to an analysis of U.S. Labor Department data by IEEE-USA.

Electrical engineering jobs went down by 40 000 in the first quarter of the year, with the unemployment rate rising to 6.5 percent, according to the analysis. In 2010 and 2011, electrical engineers’ unemployment rate was just 3.4 percent according to the report.

“Seasonal fluctuations are normal, but the first quarter unemployment spike is alarming,” says Keith Grzelak, IEEE-USA vice president of government relations.

I am sadly not surprised by the dismal figures, although it is a little disturbing that the electrical engineering unemployment rate has nearly doubled. I wrote a post in February 2012 asking whether engineers are really in demand, and we continue to receive comments from readers still having a difficult time finding jobs. In fact, at the time of that post, electrical engineers were among the most sought after. What a difference one year can make.

But not all engineers are suffering, it seems. According to IEEE-USA’s report, software developers are doing well. Their unemployment rate dropped to 2.2 percent from 2.8 percent.

Why do you think the unemployment rate for electrical engineers has dropped so sharply? Are you an engineer affected by the continued difficult job market? What is the situation like in your country?

Photo: iStockphoto

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