If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.



Unemployment Data For Chemists Improve Slightly

ACS News: Unemployment rate of 4.2% for ACS members in 2012 is down from 4.6% level in 2011

by Rudy M. Baum
July 19, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 30

Unemployment among ACS members is down in 2012 from a record high in 2011. SOURCES: ACS salary survey 2012, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
A line graph showing the unemployment rate of ACS members and the U.S. average. Both went down this year, and ACS members are doing significantly better.
Unemployment among ACS members is down in 2012 from a record high in 2011. SOURCES: ACS salary survey 2012, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

The unemployment rate for American Chemical Society members in March 2012 fell to 4.2% from the record high of 4.6% recorded in March 2011, according to the society’s Membership & Scientific Advancement Division (M&SA). The March 2011 unemployment rate was the highest level recorded since the society began tracking employment in 1972.

Although still high by historical standards, the 4.2% unemployment rate for ACS members is well below the 8.2% national unemployment rate in March reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That rate was down from 8.9% in March 2011.

According to Elizabeth McGaha, manager of the Department of Research & Member Insights in M&SA, this year’s salary and employment survey showed that 90% of ACS members were employed full-time as of March 1, 2012; 3.2% were part-time, and 2.6% were in postdoc positions. More than 7,000 ACS members completed the survey, which was conducted with domestic regular members younger than 70. No students, emeritus, retired, or international members were included.

Median salaries in current dollars for ACS chemists employed full-time have declined somewhat for Ph.D. (1.9%) and M.S. (1.1%) degree holders, McGaha says. B.S. chemists saw a modest increase of 2.3% in their salaries. The percent of ACS chemists within academia rose to 35% in 2012 from 31% in 2011; the percent employed in industry is down for both manufacturing—44% in 2012 from 45% in 2011—and nonmanufacturing—20% compared with 22%.

Overall, one-quarter of survey respondents expect their employment situation to be better by March 2013; 68% predict that their situation will be about the same.


This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.