Since 1960, the U.S. science and engineering workforce has grown faster than the full workforce.
Why is this indicator important?
A growing S&E workforce is an indicator of increased capacity for innovation.
S&E employment grew at an average annual rate of 3.6% between 1990 and 2000, compared with an average annual rate of 1.1% for the U.S. workforce as a whole.
Today, S&E workers make up approximately 4% of the total U.S. civilian labor force, up from 2.6% in 1983.
Growth in the S&E workforce in the United States was made possible by three factors:
(1) Increases in S&E degrees earned by both native and foreign-born students,
(2) Both temporary and permanent migration to the United States of those with foreign S&E education, and
(3) The relatively small number of scientists and engineers old enough to retire (SEI 2008