The unemployment rate for chemists who belong to the American Chemical Society (ACS) reached a record 4.6% in 2011 — 6.2% among bachelors degree chemists, 5.2% for masters degrees, and 3.9% for Ph.D.s, according to Chemical & Engineering News. Each of these figures represents an increase in joblessness over the year before, each is the highest in the 40 years that ACS has tracked unemployment. Strikingly, the proportion of ACS members holding postdoc positions dropped by more than half, from 4.0% to 1.8%, between 2010 and 2011.
Overall U.S. unemployment dropped by almost a full percentage point, to 8.8%, between 2010 and 2011. Historically, unemployment among chemists often reaches its peak a year after the general economy, the article notes.