Unemployment Numbers and Other Stats for Meteorology

May 10, 2007
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According to 24/7 Wall Street, Atmospheric Sciences/Meteorology majors have the lowest unemployment of any college major. And 64.1% with a Bachelor's Degree go on to get a Master's. Here are the stats from the article...

1. Atmospheric Sciences And Meteorology
• Unemployment:
0.58%
• Avg. salary: $71,546
• BA holders with a master's degree: 64.1%
• BA holders in labor force: 25,417

I have to say that I have a little trouble believing this.
 

Steve Miller

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I absolutely do not believe these numbers. Granted, I'm on the business side of the weather enterprise but I see it all and when a position is opened for a basic forecaster and 150+ resumes show up in quick time, that's saying a lot. Furthermore, due to saturation, I'd also argue the average pay rate is a bit high.
I would love to see the raw metrics behind this analysis.
 
May 10, 2007
43
1
6
66
North Little Rock, AR
I absolutely do not believe these numbers. Granted, I'm on the business side of the weather enterprise but I see it all and when a position is opened for a basic forecaster and 150+ resumes show up in quick time, that's saying a lot. Furthermore, due to saturation, I'd also argue the average pay rate is a bit high.
I would love to see the raw metrics behind this analysis.
The article states that the data came from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.
 

Steve Miller

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The article states that the data came from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.
I should have been more clear. I'd like to know how, when, where, and exactly what demographic was surveyed to arrive at the determination they did for this specific list. The sample had to be either amazingly small, geographically isolated, or demographically targeted (or all three) to arrive at these numbers.
 
Apr 3, 2010
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Shreveport, LA
This has been discussed even in my classes and those “statistics” are considered misrepresentative by many. What’s concerning is the possibility of prospective students choosing the major because of the *likely* erroneous data.

Looking at the real world paints a different picture, although it *also* doesn’t seem as dismal as some make it seem.

The reality, as usual- is probably somewhere in the middle.
 
Sep 7, 2013
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Strasburg, CO
One national met making $1m/yr can offset a shitload of others making way less to get that average.

I work in design/engineering...Average actual pay in my field is nowhere near the published averages. This applies to most professional vocations.
 

rdale

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Mar 1, 2004
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24/7WallSt is a marketing firm that has no background in surveys and data analysis, yet that found a niche producing hundreds of these "surveys" per year and lazy news organizations pick them up and carry them without thinking twice.

I will repeat the comments stated above. I would guess (granted based on limited data) than under 10% of the people I went to Purdue with are employed in the met field.
 
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May 18, 2013
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One national met making $1m/yr can offset a shitload of others making way less to get that average.
I've always found median much more useful for the exact reason Marc stated. Digging into this some more, the US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics says the median pay for "Atmospheric Scientists, including Meteorologists" is $94,100/year and they are expecting a 12% increase in the number of jobs between 2016 and 2026. Atmospheric Scientists, Including Meteorologists : Occupational Outlook Handbook: : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

I believe the AMS site has some info that is less optimistic than the BLS and the subject of this thread, but their website is undergoing maintenance at this time.

I did find a flyer called "Career Opportunities in Meteorology" on a NWS website (https://www.weather.gov/media/bro/outreach/pdf/CareerOpportunitiesMeteorology.pdf). It says "The meteorology job market is very competitive, with the supply of meteorologists exceeding demand. Currently, universities and colleges in the U.S. graduate 600 to 1000 meteorologists each year. One research study indicated that the number of entry-level meteorology positions available in the each year is approximately only half the number of newly degreed meteorologists. The number of new, traditional, entry-level positions has not been increasing along with the number of meteorologists entering the workforce, nor is it expected to in the next few years. Trends suggest there will be an increasing oversupply of meteorology graduates in the coming years, and that some meteorologists will have a difficult time finding a traditional weather-related job."

I'm not sure where they got the 600 to 1000 grads a year number, but if you take the 600 that would equal 6,000 grads over a 10 year period and the BLS says the net employment change between 2016 and 2026 is +1,300 (and I'd assume not all of those are entry-level). I'm sure there is some attrition too. Bottom line is I think folks are justified in questioning all this.
 
May 18, 2013
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AMS site is back up, but didn't contain the info I thought it did. They do have a webnair video about "Job Outlook for Meteorologists and Atmospheric Science" that appears to be focused on the Private sector https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOVFGNND4sI (haven't watched it yet). I remember discussing this topic on Stormtrack in the past, and I went back and found it. There was a June 1996 BMAS article "Are We Graduating Too Many Atmospheric Scientists?" written by Cliff Mass : http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/1520-0477(1996)077<1255:EA>2.0.CO;2. There also is a June 2008 follow-up was done by John Knox: http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/2008BAMS2375.1 . The Knox update said that the supply of new grads outpaced the demand by 4x. The Knox update is over a decade old. It's probably time for another well done study in this area. A lot has changed in the last decade (especially when you look at the private sector and the energy industry).
 

Jeff Duda

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The Knox update said that the supply of new grads outpaced the demand by 4x. The Knox update is over a decade old. It's probably time for another well done study in this area. A lot has changed in the last decade (especially when you look at the private sector and the energy industry).
Also considering how you basically need an M.S. just to get into the NWS as a forecaster. In fact, it seems to me to be pretty difficult to get any decent job in the science without an advanced degree anymore.
 
Jun 4, 2018
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Also considering how you basically need an M.S. just to get into the NWS as a forecaster. In fact, it seems to me to be pretty difficult to get any decent job in the science without an advanced degree anymore.
When I started college back in fall 2008, they were telling the new undergrads the same thing even then. Most decent jobs would require at least an M.S.
 
Jan 6, 2019
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Tyler
When I started college back in fall 2008, they were telling the new undergrads the same thing even then. Most decent jobs would require at least an M.S.
I do remember that being stated some 30 years ago.
The reason given was that colleges were having to make up for what was suppose to have been a high school education.
Colleges was looked at as some type of advanced high school.
 
Jun 16, 2015
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It depends what y'all mean by "decent" jobs. If you're talking about well-paying jobs outside of broadcasting, in education or the government, then that's a fair assessment.

While it is a small minority, I know several BS meteorologists who went through the motions and ended up rising in broadcast jobs, where it only took them a few years to start making a substantial income. (entry level TV pays much less than retail jobs I had or was offered in college, before I even had any degree)
 
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Jun 4, 2018
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It depends what y'all mean by "decent" jobs. If you're talking about well-paying jobs outside of broadcasting, in education or the government, then that's a fair assessment.

While it is a small minority, I know several BS meteorologists who went through the motions and ended up rising in broadcast jobs, where it only took them a few years to start making a substantial income. (entry level TV pays much less than retail jobs I had or was offered in college, before I even had any degree)
That's a really good point. A friend of mine just has his BS and is doing really well for himself it seems at a station down in Hattiesburg. He even made a bit of a name for himself when the station lost sound during a severe weather outbreak, and he started writing messages on paper for the area's affected by a tornado and holding them up to the camera. Great thinking under pressure. I think he's going to keep rising.
 
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Jeff Duda

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That's a really good point. A friend of mine just has his BS and is doing really well for himself it seems at a station down in Hattiesburg. He even made a bit of a name for himself when the station lost sound during a severe weather outbreak, and he started writing messages on paper for the area's affected by a tornado and holding them up to the camera. Great thinking under pressure. I think he's going to keep rising.
Exceptions to the rule.
 
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rdale

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TV is not the place to be shooting for in this day and age... The number of TV met jobs is dropping as more and more are going to a centralized model (where they have one location do "look live" forecasts for multiple stations across the country.) And the era of a 6pm/11pm met having a job in Philly that pays 7 figures has ended too. Do it if you love it - don't do it for the money :)
 
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