As of March 1, 2011, unemployment among ACS Member Chemists was 4.6%; the highest rate recorded since the annual Comprehensive Salary Survey was initiated in 1972.
The Pacific and Middle-Atlantic regions have been the hardest hit, with 2011 unemployment rates of 7.4% and 7.2% respectively. The average unemployment rate for all other regions in the US is 3.2%.
Also in 2011, ACS reported a drop in ACS Member Chemists employed in post-doc positions, slipping from 4.0% in 2010 to 1.8%. Still, the 2011 New Graduate Survey shows 47% of recent PhD graduates have secured a post-doc position, which is up slightly from 45% the previous year.
Unemployment continues to rise among recent graduates across all degree levels, with 13.3% of recent graduates in chemistry and related fields unemployed and actively seeking employment in 2011. New PhD graduates were better off with 8.8% unemployment compared to 13.6% of BS graduates and 17.8% of MS graduates.
Salaries among recent PhD graduates were up by nearly 10% in constant dollars in 2011, while MS graduates held steady and BS graduates experienced a 3% decrease in constant dollars.
For the 2012 Comprehensive Salary Survey, a series of questions was added to the instrument to gain insight into underemployment among ACS Member Chemists. These data are being analyzed and will be reported to Council in Philadelphia.