June 7, 2014
Marilyn Geewax / NPR
The U.S. Labor Department said the U.S. economy as of June 2014 has 138.5 million jobs, slightly more than the previous high set in early 2008 — just as the Great Recession was tightening its grip. This post-recession peak came after employers added 217,000 jobs in May. That marked the fourth straight month when payrolls increased by at least 200,000. "The economy has recaptured all the jobs that were lost during the recession, and is now beginning to show incremental employment growth from over six years ago," said Doug Handler, chief U.S. economist for IHS Global Insight. May's data on jobs and wages fits with earlier predictions of brighter prospects for the 1.8 million Americans graduating from college with bachelor's degrees in June 2014. A survey done this spring by the National Association of Colleges and Employers showed companies plan to hire nearly 9 percent more college graduates compared with 2013. For those graduates who studied science or engineering, this hiring season looks particularly encouraging.
Shelby Sweat, an Atlanta resident who just graduated from Georgia Tech in Biology, said she and her classmates have not had any trouble finding work in science and technology fields. As a Biology major, she quickly landed a job in a research laboratory at Emory University. "I had a really good job-hunting experience," she said. "I got the first job I applied for." She said Georgia Tech's focus on hard sciences made the difference. "Everyone I know who came out of my school had a good job experience," she said. "But that has not been the case for some of my friends who were English majors" at liberal arts colleges, Sweat added.
The School of Biology keenly tracks the fate of our graduates and has developed programs to help them launch their careers. A prime example is the Biology internship program which places undergraduates in internships with Atlanta-based biotech firms, federal and state agencies, and GTRI departments. More than most universities, Georgia Tech is adept at the application of science to solving societal problems and introduces Biology students to careers where they can make a difference in the lives of people. The following figure illustrates the diversity of career paths of more than 472 thousand biology majors in the USA. The most common careers are in the health sciences, education, technology, and management.