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High-technology industries in 1998 have cut four times as many jobs nationally as last year, including 143K layoffs in the electronics, computer, and telecommunications industries -- more than almost any other sector of the economy. EE unemployment jumped to 3.4% in the 3rd quarter, up eight-fold since the beginning of 1998 and the highest since the record high of 1994. Nearly 50% more US high-tech degree holders (4.7M) were working outside of their fields than the total number of US technical workforce professionals (3.2M) as of 1995, according to a new NSF report. Most of the displaced science/engineering degree-holders now work in sales and marketing, management and administration, and non-science teaching. . [Paul Kostek and Chris Currie , IEEE-USA , 09Oct98. Bill Park.]

(These statistics are fuel in the H-1B visa fight, concerning the importation of perhaps 150K more foreign workers. It's not clear to me whether any significant fraction of the displaced workers would have made good scientists or are not happier in sales and management. As frustrating as [forced?] career changes may be, they're a part of growing up. Our universities do not force students to explore their options and themselves, but rather pump students through whatever department they join. Grade inflation helps poor students remain in the stream. Imagine what the arts would be like if anyone who could pay for lessons were considered a national resource. Besides, isn't it good that technical salespeople, managers, and teachers actually have some science training?)

"I don't think it's very useful to open wide the door for young artists; the ones who break down the door are more interesting." -- Paul Schrader.