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Job Horizon

Employment Outlook in Select STEM Sectors
By Frank McCoy
Jun 12, 2014, 20:35

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Projections in the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor show STEM employment options will likely improve through 2020. At least 20.5 million jobs are expected to be created by then.

The fastest-growing occupations, which require at least a master’s degree, will be in health care, personal care and social assistance, and construction-related industries.

• In construction, a 33 percent increase, equaling about 1.8 million jobs, is anticipated although that will not meet the 2.2 million sector positions slashed during the recession. Architects, civil and construction engineers will be lifted by a slow return to normalcy.

The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) “represents more than 33,000 firms, including 7,500 of America’s leading general contractors, and over 12,500 specialty-contracting firms.” In 2012, the AGC reported that while public sector growth may still be weak, private sector construction will be stable or strengthen, and nearly a third of companies will be hiring.

Information technology students should note that more companies are incorporating Building Information Modeling technology, which uses “three-dimensional, real-time, dynamic building modeling software to increase productivity in building design and construction.”

• Manufacturing presents a mixed bag. Output may increase while employment prospects remain flat. Computer, technology and management engineers will still be needed, however, to manage increasingly automated plants. Product, rubber goods and wood manufacturing are all expected to increase as hiring at unskilled levels falls in computer and electronic, apparel manufacturing and chemical manufacturing.

The trend is not all south in machinery manufacturing. The Wall Street Journal reported in December that, “in certain areas—notably aircraft, industrial engines, excavators and railway and mining equipment—the U.S. exports far more than it imports.”

Companies such as Caterpillar, the world leader in manufacturing giant mining trucks, Deere, and the U.S. division of Komatsu are rushing to provide equipment to meet the global demand for minerals. The Journal also noted that the U.S. companies’ experience at developing military equipment has enhanced their private sector expertise in making durable, technologically sophisticated machinery.

• Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction are experiencing stellar growth. By 2010, job growth in the oil and gas extraction and non-metallic mineral mining and quarrying is expected to rise, respectively by 15 percent and 14 percent.

• Astronomers, astrophysicists, would-be astronauts and a range of engineers received an early holiday present last December when NASA announced a new multi-year Mars program. In 2020, a new robotic science rover will be launched.

At the recent announcement of the new Mars program, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said, “The Obama administration is committed to a robust Mars exploration program. With this next mission, we're ensuring America remains the world leader in the exploration of the Red Planet, while taking another significant step toward sending humans there in the 2030s."

• As automobile sales surged in late 2012, the spirits of students in automotive, design, mechanical engineering should be rising as well.
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Promoting STEM

The development of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers is integral to America's advancement. Career Communications Group publications--US Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine, Hispanic Engineer & Information Technology magazine and Women of Color magazine--offer a blueprint for continued growth and success in STEM fields by highlighting progress and people at all stages of the STEM pipeline; from the college student taking his first engineering courses to the senior executive managing the projects that will change the ways we live.

About CCG

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