Facts and Figures About Work Shortage and Unemployment

Worker Shortage Looms

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the U.S. economy will create 120,000 jobs a year in computer science through 2020. However, U.S. institutions of higher learning only produce 40,000 bachelor’s degrees annually in that field, leaving a detrimental shortage of qualified workers to fill critical positions with American companies.

“Our schools are constantly handing out diplomas to graduating doctoral candidates who have earned degrees in the sciences, only to see them have to leave the U.S. soon after graduation. They go home to their country of origin to work for business and industry in competition with the U.S.” —Ed Moore, president of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida

Improving Mood of Business 

Economic optimism is growing among Florida’s small businesses, according to a Florida Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index Survey released in May. 

  • 36% of small businesses believe they are better off today than six months ago (up from 32% in December 2012)
  • 42% are reporting higher sales 
  • 55% believe the economy will improve over the next year 
  • 61% expect the economy to improve during the next three years
  • 32% of employers plan to hire employees during the next six months (up from 29% in December 2012) 
  • 52% were able to obtain capital (up from 17% in December 2012)

Job Growth and Unemployment

In Florida, the number of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) jobs are projected to increase by 19 percent from 2008–2018, compared to 12.2 percent job growth for Florida’s economy as a whole. The unemployment rate in Florida’s STEM industries stands at 5 percent, compared to 11 percent in non-STEM industries. 

Source: Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida

Nationally, just 24,782 U.S. students took the AP Computer Science exam in 2012, which is less than 0.7 percent of all AP exams taken last year. In 2000, that percentage was 1.6. This achievement rate in American classrooms is not supporting the rapid growth of STEM jobs in the American economy.

Categories: Politics