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Media Advisory 05-016

Labor Day: NSF's Portrait of the Workforce

The number of U.S. jobs that require S&E skills is growing faster than the labor force as a whole.

The number of U.S. jobs that require S&E skills is growing faster than the labor force as a whole.

September 1, 2005

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

With the approach of another Labor Day, the National Science Foundation (NSF) can offer a rich array of data about the nation's science and engineering workforce. The foundation's biannual report, "Science and Engineering Indicators," describes how employment has evolved in a variety of categories, including gender. And a number of other NSF-funded surveys analyze factors such as immigration and emigration, labor markets, and state-by-state comparisons.

For example:

  • The number of jobs in the U.S. labor force that require S&E skills is growing faster than the rest of the labor force--which means that we may soon see a gap between supply and demand of S&E-trained employees.
  • The percentage of foreign-born mathematicians and computer scientists in the U.S. workforce has nearly doubled since 1990.
  • The states with the more educated workforces (that is, more workers with a bachelor's degree) are not necessarily the same states that educate those workers.

NSF also funds a long-running survey called the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), which show the ups and downs of American family incomes over time. PSID is described in a Special Report on Surveys.


Selected reports and briefs:

Science and Engineering Indicators 2004: Chapter 3 (S&E Labor Force)

Federal Scientists and Engineers

Gender Differences in the Careers of Academic Scientists and Engineering

Degrees in science and engineering occupations

Emigration of scientists and engineers

Related press releases:

NSF Puts Priority on Attracting and Educating a Skilled, Diverse Science and Engineering Workforce

States Vary Widely on Indicators of Education, Workforce, R&D Spending and High-Tech Economies

United States Still Leads in Science and Engineering, But Uncertainties Complicate Outlook

National Science Foundation Releases "Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering 2004"

Media Contacts
M. Mitchell Waldrop, NSF, (703) 292-7752, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2022 budget of $8.8 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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