Lack of Indiana science and tech jobs won't support STEM grads, study says

A Ball State University study found that unemployment rates are higher for STEM graduates than they are overall for people with bachelor’s degrees.

Posted on May 29, 2014 at 8:08 a.m.

Indiana students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics - or STEM - may not find a wealth of jobs to choose from when they graduate. 

A new study from Ball State University’s Center for Business and Economic Research found that there is not a shortage of STEM workers in Indiana and, in fact, labor markets are shrinking in clinical health related occupations.

The study examines the unemployment rate of Hoosiers holding STEM-related bachelor’s degrees from January 2000 to October 2013 and found that the unemployment rate was higher for those who hold degrees in science and technical fields and life, physical and social science fields than the overall unemployment rate for people with bachelor’s degrees.

The unemployment rate for computer, math, architecture and engineering degree holders was less than the overall rate.

"We also found that concerns over a lingering lack of instability in labor markets for skilled STEM workers can be traced to every decade of the last century,” Michael Hicks, CBER director, said.

Hicks added that political movements focusing on encouraging individuals to pursue STEM degrees won’t help Indiana economically, but it could decrease the current wages of STEM workers or increase how many Hoosiers with STEM degrees leave the state to find work.

However, the study did find a booming labor market in one field in particular. The mortuary industry is the biggest growing industry in Indiana. The job market for morticians, undertakers, funeral service directors and other mortuary-related occupations grew 88-percent from 2008 to 2012, the study found.

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