It’s Still A Struggle | November 7, 2011 Issue - Vol. 89 Issue 45 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 89 Issue 45 | p. 32
Issue Date: November 7, 2011

Cover Stories

It’s Still A Struggle

Jobs for chemists might be slightly easier to find in 2012; recruiters and entrepreneurs can help
Department: Career & Employment
Keywords: employment, unemployment, jobs
Ying Wang synthesizes a viscosity modifier in Lubrizol’s chemical synthesis lab in Wickliffe, Ohio.
Credit: Lubrizol
Ying Wang synthesizes a viscosity modifier in Lubrizol’s chemical synthesis lab in Wickliffe, Ohio.
Credit: Lubrizol

Although the Great Recession that began in December 2007 ended in June 2009, the economy is still fragile, and the outlook for chemical companies—and for the chemists they employ—remains uncertain.

At the mid-October G-20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner stated that “we face a world economy still healing from the crisis of 2008 and 2009, damaged by the shocks to growth of the past year, and threatened by the ongoing crisis in Europe.”

In the U.S., “economic growth slowed sharply this winter and spring, as it did around the world, as a result of the rise in oil prices and the disaster in Japan,” he noted. “Consumer and business confidence eroded further over the course of the summer, in part because of the debt limit debate in the Congress and the broader concern about political paralysis in Washington,” he said. Europe’s own protracted economic and financial crisis “has added significantly to these pressures.”

Preliminary figures released by the U.S. Commerce Department in late October indicate the economy grew 2.5% in the third quarter, up from 1.3% in the second quarter and 0.4% in the first quarter. Nonetheless, Commerce warned that faster growth is needed to reduce ­unemployment.

Despite the general weakness of the economy, U.S. chemical companies continue to beat last year’s sales and earnings results. However, sales volume is shrinking (C&EN, Oct. 31, page 7).

Assistant Managing Editor Sophie L. Rovner explores the impact of these forces on chemical industry hiring plans in the first article in C&EN’s Employment Outlook feature package.

Next, Senior Editor Susan J. Ainsworth describes how current and future job seekers can fully benefit from recruiters’ services.

In the final story of the series, News Editor William G. Schulz examines an action-oriented report produced by a blue-ribbon American Chemical Society panel that is meant to inspire innovation and entrepreneurship—and boost employment—in the chemical enterprise.

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