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Conference Board Analysis , ,

Healthcare Practitioner Job Ads Surge in June, While All Other Science-Related Categories Were Flat or Declined

In June, the number of job ads posted in the “healthcare practitioners and technical” category recovered, partially, from a large decline in May — but all the other science-related careers tracked by Science Careers declined or were flat. That’s the conclusion of an analysis of numbers released yesterday by the Conference Board. The latest numbers also show that May, in retrospect, was a pretty good month for the job categories tracked by Science Careers, as declines in the number of job-seeking unemployed meant more advertised jobs for every job-seeker in most of these categories.

The Conference Board, a private business and economic research institute, provides these data, which are tracked monthly by Science Careers.

Online job ads

The number of job ads posted in June in the science-related categories tracked by Science Careers increased by 2.7%, month over month. Taking a longer view reveals how far we’ve come since last year: In all the categories we track, 300,000 more job ads were posted in June than in June2009, an increase of more than 25%. Keep reading to learn how the numbers break down by category.  

According to the Conference Board data, in June, online employment ads in the “health-care practitioners and technical” category increased by 51,900 — an impressive 9.6% increase. This fails to offset declines in the number of job ads the previous month, but it’s still an impressive number: Fully 27% of May’s unemployed job-seekers in this category found jobs in June, the numbers suggest.

The numbers in the other categories aren’t as good. The number of job ads in the life, physical, and social sciences category increased by about 500, or about half of one percent of May’s total. The number of ads in architecture and engineering was completely flat. Ads in computer and mathematical sciences declined by 12,700 — about 2.2%. Ads seeking employees in education, training, and library fell by about 900, or about 1.1% of May’s total.

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Job market competitiveness

The Conference Board computes a job-market competitiveness measure — a ratio of online ads to the number of unemployed workers in the job market — for these categories. However, the most up-to-date unemployment data, taken from Bureau of Labor Statistics’ reports, are a month older than the numbers for online job ads, so the ratios calculated below are for May 2010, while the number of employment ads reported above are for June.

In May, computer and mathematical science, and health-care practitioners and technical, remained the best sectors to be looking for work, according to this ratio: There are far more job ads than unemployed people looking for work, with 0.4 unemployed job-seekers per job ad in both categories.

The market also looked good for life, physical and life scientists; in this category, in May, there was 0.8 job-seeker for every ad, the same as a month before. The ratio for architects and engineers was just a little worse, at 0.9. But that’s a bit improvement from the previous month, when there were 1.2 job seekers for every online ad. That leaves education, training, and library, where, despite dramatic improvement in May, the outlook still looks dismal. The ratio of job-seekers to job ads in this category decreased from 5.1 to 4.3 from April to May. That’s the best number we’ve seen since we started tracking these numbers a year ago. But it’s still far worse than any other category we track.

Across all the categories tracked by Science Careers, this ratio improved dramatically in June, thanks to a healthy reduction in the number of unemployed. 955,200 unemployed people sought jobs in these categories in May, compared to 1,085,900 the month before — a 13.6% reduction in the number of job-seeking unemployed. This brought May’s overall ratio of online ads to the number of unemployed workers to about 0.6, down from 0.8 a month earlier.

How does this compare to the labor economy as a whole? Except for one category — education, training, and library — job-seekers in science-related categories continue to be in far better shape than the average job-seeker, by this metric. In May there were 3.6 job-seekers overall for each online job ad, suggesting that there is six times as much competition for the average job than there is for jobs in these science-related categories.

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