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687,000 U.S. High-Tech Jobs Lost in a Decade

By - Source: NSF | B 55 comments

A new study released by the National Science Board (NSB) of the National Science Foundation (NSF) raises concerns about the global leadership of the U.S. in Science and Technology investments. The report also highlights massive job losses in high-tech.

According to the NSB, the U.S. lost about 687,000 jobs in high-tech since their peak of about 2.5 million in 2000. The organization stated that there have been "permanent" losses in an ongoing trend that affects the areas of aerospace, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications equipment, computer and office equipment as well as scientific instruments.

The NSB carefully criticized the government's approach of funding science and research by stating that there is still a $7 billion budget for the NSF, but the U.S. is quickly dropping in the global view of investment dollars. Between 1999 and 2009, the U.S. share dropped from 38 percent to 31 percent, while Asia gained from 24 to 35 percent during the same time. Especially China is growing fast, the NSB said, and is now the largest science and technology investor behind the U.S.

"Over the last decade, the world has changed dramatically," said José-Marie Griffiths, chair of the NSB committee that oversees production of the report. "It's now a world with very different actors who have made advancement in science and technology a top priority. And many of the troubling trends we're seeing are now very well established." The NSF said that it has launched a number of new initiatives designed to better position the United States "by enhancing international collaborations, improving education and establishing new partnerships between NSF-supported researchers and those in industry."

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  • 24 Hide
    bit_user , January 22, 2012 11:14 AM
    US Politicians rarely think more than 2 years ahead. Wall Street rarely thinks more than 1 quarter ahead. This outcome is hardly surprising.

    Once the patent trolls have sued all US tech companies out of existence, we're going to be left wondering just how it was that tech went the way of the auto industry.
  • 17 Hide
    SoiledBottom , January 22, 2012 10:12 AM
    "687,000 U.S. High-Tech Jobs Lost"

    Did they check under the cushions of the couch...I found my keys and wallet there once
  • 16 Hide
    SmileyTPB1 , January 22, 2012 2:15 PM
    I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that it is probably a bad idea to let the Chinese be more technologically advanced than the US.
Other Comments
  • 17 Hide
    SoiledBottom , January 22, 2012 10:12 AM
    "687,000 U.S. High-Tech Jobs Lost"

    Did they check under the cushions of the couch...I found my keys and wallet there once
  • 5 Hide
    ajay_vishvanathan , January 22, 2012 10:24 AM
    well.. it ought to happen.. companies find that Chinese are cheaper to work with.. shifted most of their manufacturing to China.. every other product in the world carries a "Made In China" tag.. blame the companies for that not the government.. the government has limited role in this.. remember America is a capitalistic and not socialistic economy to dictate the rules..
  • 6 Hide
    memadmax , January 22, 2012 11:01 AM
    Yea, one of the things about a recession... I know this cause' my number is 686,999........
  • 8 Hide
    XZaapryca , January 22, 2012 11:10 AM
    The Chinese/Indians are cheaper, but they're not better from what I've seen. The companies I've dealt with seem to have a "good enough" attitude. Specifications are just suggestions and quality control is something to throw out the window when deadlines/expectations can't be met. Like most things in corporate America, off shoring is about dollars and shortsightedness. We're not losing to China because of their innovation, they're just the people that build the crap we think up. The dream of seamless, 24/7 HW/SW development is a crock.
  • 24 Hide
    bit_user , January 22, 2012 11:14 AM
    US Politicians rarely think more than 2 years ahead. Wall Street rarely thinks more than 1 quarter ahead. This outcome is hardly surprising.

    Once the patent trolls have sued all US tech companies out of existence, we're going to be left wondering just how it was that tech went the way of the auto industry.
  • 2 Hide
    Gulli , January 22, 2012 11:52 AM
    Quote:
    The NSB carefully criticized the government's approach of funding science and research by stating that there is still a $7 billion budget for the NSF, but the U.S. is quickly dropping in the global view of investment dollars. Between 1999 and 2009, the U.S. share dropped from 38 percent to 31 percent, while Asia gained from 24 to 35 percent during the same time. Especially China is growing fast, the NSB said, and is now the largest science and technology investor behind the U.S.


    As long as the government keeps investing the same percentage of GDP you can't really blame them. Yeah, sure the global percentage will drop but that's only natural because of population growth and economic growth around the world and those factors are supposed to increase the number of high tech jobs worldwide so no country should just lose jobs, unless greedy corporations start outsourcing. The government can do something about this: force corporations that outsource to pay their foreign employees the same wage they would pay an emplopyee in the home country of the corporation, or at least the minimum wage of the home country. Globalization is supposed to pull poor countries up, not drag rich countries down.
  • 3 Hide
    doeboy , January 22, 2012 2:08 PM
    The government helps push the business cycle. They are the ones that setup free trade which basically equals out the living standards between the two populations which means US citizens drop off the cliff. Free trade would only work in a system where both countries follow the exact same rules with the exact same enforcement mechanisms. All the regulations and things a company must comply with just to have workers in a plant are large. Reduce these or streamline them in a way that is easy to understand and that will aid in a comeback of manufacturing. Don't believe me? Look at RCRA and read through it and tell me its easy to follow. We also don't live in a capitalistic society anymore we live in a semi-oligarch society. Central bank controls interest rates(state control) and we have a banking cartel that won't be broken up because so many of their players are in key positions(see goldman sachs/jp morgan). We also have social welfare up the wazoo only getting worse. We aren't capitalists at best we are an oligarchy(corptocracy) on the way to a socialist banana republic where there are only rich and poor people.
  • 16 Hide
    SmileyTPB1 , January 22, 2012 2:15 PM
    I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that it is probably a bad idea to let the Chinese be more technologically advanced than the US.
  • 10 Hide
    kcorp2003 , January 22, 2012 2:27 PM
    China has a larger population almost 5 times the USA. Companies simply don't hire here anymore too. Besides that, today kids thinks is cool to be bad, hates math and science. Too much entertainment. remember when i use to go to my room, means i'm boxed in without any contact. now kids go into their room = TV, consoles, computer, cell phone.
  • 5 Hide
    Gulli , January 22, 2012 2:37 PM
    @doeboy

    I think you got social welfare programs and unregulated capitalism mixed up there.

    All the regulations and things a company must comply with just to have workers in a plant are large. Reduce these or streamline them in a way that is easy to understand and that will aid in a comeback of manufacturing.


    Yes, manufacturing would come back, in fact it would boom, though to be fair you should also mention people would only make $1.50 an hour and get fired if they refuse to work more than 12 hours a day or operate dangerous equipment. Maybe you should visit a low-regulation country once and see how the average person lives there. Maybe take a tour of the Foxconn plant and see how their booming manufacturing sector operates, just be sure to wear a helmet when you walk outside.

    P.S. do some research and discover how US tech companies have only increased their profits over the last 10 years. The next time you hear some slimy CEO talk about how regulations are strangling his business, requiring him to outsource jobs, ask him for a graph of company profits and CEO pay, over the last 10 years, I'll bet $100 with you that he'll either try to change the subject or literally leave the room. Oh and also try asking him how it's possible that his German and Japanese counterparts, who have to deal with more regulation, employee benefits and higher effective taxes, are not complaining and are in fact thriving.
  • -5 Hide
    Anonymous , January 22, 2012 2:38 PM
    Blame the stupid government and unions for high labor costs. Government and Unions workers works only 9 months a year with supreme benefits. When government can't pay the workers they raise tax on everything and unions would go on strike to force what they want. A $70,000 worker equal to $130,000 in private companies.
  • -1 Hide
    Gulli , January 22, 2012 2:40 PM
    kcorp2003China has a larger population almost 5 times the USA. Companies simply don't hire here anymore too. Besides that, today kids thinks is cool to be bad, hates math and science. Too much entertainment. remember when i use to go to my room, means i'm boxed in without any contact. now kids go into their room = TV, consoles, computer, cell phone.


    Yes, those good old days when a more intelligent America elected such intellectual behemoths as Ronald Reagan and George Bush Jr... that must be it and it's got nothing at all to do with tech education having becoming unaffordable while at the same time corporations only want to hire people who are ok with living in slums.
  • 12 Hide
    Gulli , January 22, 2012 2:55 PM
    TomKoolBlame the stupid government and unions for high labor costs. Government and Unions workers works only 9 months a year with supreme benefits. When government can't pay the workers they raise tax on everything and unions would go on strike to force what they want. A $70,000 worker equal to $130,000 in private companies.


    Labor costs have not increased compared to inflation, in fact they have declined since the 1960s and 1970s, meanwhile the 1%'s share of the national income tripled while CEO pay has grown tenfold (the average is now 400 times a worker's pay) and naturally the economy has grown faster than workers wages, so compared to the average income per capita, worker wages, and thus labor costs, have gone down. But don't let facts get in the way of rhetoric...

  • 8 Hide
    freggo , January 22, 2012 3:06 PM
    That's what you get when you have colleges and high school who are more interested in their sports teams than in their education.
    There are no sports teams and 'bowl' games in Europe or Asia for school teams. They actually learn stuff there. We have to rethink making our educational institutions a training ground for professional sports teams. Heck, try to find a soccer player with a high school diploma in Europe.
  • 2 Hide
    bak0n , January 22, 2012 3:15 PM
    ajay_vishvanathanwell.. it ought to happen.. companies find that Chinese are cheaper to work with.. shifted most of their manufacturing to China.. every other product in the world carries a "Made In China" tag.. blame the companies for that not the government.. the government has limited role in this.. remember America is a capitalistic and not socialistic economy to dictate the rules..



    Two way street. Blame the companies for squeezing out maximum profits and blame consumers for buying whats cheapest, not what's made in the USA.
  • 2 Hide
    td854 , January 22, 2012 3:25 PM
    XZaaprycaThe Chinese/Indians are cheaper, but they're not better from what I've seen. The companies I've dealt with seem to have a "good enough" attitude. Specifications are just suggestions and quality control is something to throw out the window when deadlines/expectations can't be met. Like most things in corporate America, off shoring is about dollars and shortsightedness. We're not losing to China because of their innovation, they're just the people that build the crap we think up. The dream of seamless, 24/7 HW/SW development is a crock.


    It's not the just the companies. Consumers (at least in the USA) are satisfied with 'good enough' for the most part. I feel like I'm in a minority because I'm not satisfied with 'good enough.' Almost everyone I know buys whatever they can get the cheapest, not what will last the longest or is built well. It's all about the bottom dollar for america and this is how china and other countries end up with our money.
  • 4 Hide
    Gulli , January 22, 2012 4:11 PM
    td854It's not the just the companies. Consumers (at least in the USA) are satisfied with 'good enough' for the most part. I feel like I'm in a minority because I'm not satisfied with 'good enough.' Almost everyone I know buys whatever they can get the cheapest, not what will last the longest or is built well. It's all about the bottom dollar for america and this is how china and other countries end up with our money.


    It's a vicious cycle: pay your employees less and (surprise, surprise) you'll find they have less spending power and therefore resort to buying cheap sh*t. You can then point to that and say labor costs need to be cut further to lower the price of the product, this leads to people having even less spending power, etc...

    You either hurt your own wallet by buying more expensive stuff or you hurt the wallets of workers by buying cheap stuff (it's catch 22 when you are a worker yourself). Regulations, unions, and groups representing the interests of employers are all supposed to stop the vicious cycle under a representative government. Things go wrong when one group gets too much influence over that government (and no, usually that's not the unions).

    The IRS expects to forego $100 billion of corporate taxes (that's tax evasion by large corporations only) every year, that's 2 million $50k or 4 million 25k wages (which would lower the unemployment rate by 1.3 and 2.6 percentage points respectively). How do we know this money isn't going to jobs? Wages are tax deductible so a corporation wouldn't have to evade taxes hire more employees.
  • 3 Hide
    clonazepam , January 22, 2012 5:28 PM
    I lost my tech job to a Canadian because he/she was happy to do it for half the salary I was receiving, and my salary wasn't that great to begin with.
  • 2 Hide
    ikefu , January 22, 2012 5:54 PM
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/business/apple-america-and-a-squeezed-middle-class.html?_r=1

    Part of our problem is we have to many people getting degrees in the arts and "soft sciences" instead of in engineering and computer sciences where a good chunk of all the jobs are headed. There is actually a major lack of engineers in this country that is causing companies to have a hard time finding people to fill those spots.

    Another problem with manufacturing in the US is that somehow we have made community college and tech schools seem like a bad choice or a choice for second rate people. Manufacturing requires a lot of skilled industrial engineers to oversee the operators but doesn't really require a full bachelor's degree. If we accepted tech school as a great choice for people who would otherwise not be able to graduate from a full four year university but still have good skills then we'd suddenly have a lot easier time find the labor force we need.

    Its a multifaceted problem and simply blaming corrupt government or big business alone won't do anything about the labor force. Encourage high schoolers to go into engineering degrees or that tech school for an associates degree is a great choice instead of going with no degree at all!
  • 0 Hide
    Gulli , January 22, 2012 6:21 PM
    @ikefu

    Are you saying kids have become 35% less interested (pop. growth was 10%, tech job reduction was 28%) in tech fields in just 10 years?
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