Is the STEM worker shortage real?


The shortage of U.S. workers with a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) background has become an article of faith, and here at PlasticsToday, we have certainly done our share of writing about this trend. As manufacturing technologies increase in sophistication, the availability of skilled labor is an imperative. Just a couple of weeks ago, PlasticsToday Senior Editor Clare Goldsberry reported on a study from Accenture, which stated that a "shortage of skilled talent exists in the manufacturing industry, and this shortage is likely to become more severe in the coming years." Pshaw, responds Steven Camarota, Director of Research at the Center for Immigration Studies. He has published a report with colleague Karen Zeigler, which he summarizes in an article, "What STEM Shortage?" at

Based on an analysis of the latest government data, Camarota and Zeigler conclude that there are twice as many workers with STEM degrees as there are STEM jobs. Moreover, they found only modest levels of wage growth in that field over more than a decade. "If STEM workers were in such short supply," writes Camarota on, "wages would be increasing rapidly." In fact, they found that wages, adjusted for inflation, grew on average 0.7% per year between 2000 and 2012 for STEM workers. Annual wages fared even worse, increasing only 0.4% per year.

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