Friday, February 22, 2008

we've got to get these numbers up

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics collects information across America on the number of employees for over 800 occupations. These values can be sorted by metropolitan area, allowing regions to be compared to each other.

It's possible to group all of the scientists and engineers in a metro region together, and compute how much of an area's employees they represent. Here are some examples from May 2006, the most recent data available:

5.2 percent - Dayton, OH
4.6 percent - Columbus, OH
4.2 percent - Pittsburgh, PA
4.1 percent - U.S. total
4.0 percent - Akron, OH
4.0 percent - Cincinnati, OH
3.6 percent - Cleveland, OH
2.5 percent - Toledo, OH
2.9 percent - Johnstown, PA
2.9 percent - Buffalo, NY
2.8 percent - Erie, PA
2.5 percent - Flint, MI
2.2 percent - Canton, OH
1.6 percent - Lima, OH
1.6 percent - Mansfield, OH
1.4 percent - Youngstown/Warren

In this case, the Youngstown/Warren region is Mahoning and Trumbull counties in Ohio and Mercer county in Pennsylvania.

Comparatively, this region's percentage of the workforce that are scientists and engineers are abysmal as compared to others. In fact, out of the 100 largest metros in the U.S. (Youngstown/Warren is still in this grouping), our region has the lowest percentage when compared to all others.

I think some people tend to think with all the manufacturing around here, there are many engineers as well. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

So while it should be said that the mere existence of scientists and engineers do not translate into economic success, many of the country's top performing regions have much higher percentages of S&E workers.

As a region, we've got to get these numbers up.


Anonymous said...

How did you calculate the percent of engineers per area? There are a number of different types listed. Just curious, thanks.

Janko said...

Appendix Table 3-6 in NSF's Science and Engineering Indicators 2008, “Employment and earnings in S&E occupations and non-S&E occupations,“ includes this S&E employee data for all metropolitan areas in the U.S. and can be found at:

The NSF defines this, and it includes social scientists as well. (not just technical)

Mike Prelee said...

Great post. It seems like so many of the region's issues relate directly to education or a lack thereof. Crime, employment, and success in general all revolve around getting a good education and this region offers great opportunities. YSU is a fantastic school that allowed me to become successful but beyond that there are engineering, medical and law schools within an hour's drive. Focusing on education in the Valley will help every other major issue we face.

Christopher Barzak said...

In order to get the numbers up in scientists and engineers etc. in this area, we have to get the state to start funding its universities across the board again, for research and development.