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Turns Out, Jobs for Historians Are...History

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While Wednesday’s ADP number for December was surprisingly strong, skeptical strategists emphasize that this US labor market remains in a state of disarray.

So says Gluskin Sheff’s David Rosenberg, who points out that fully 6.3 million Americans have been actively looking for a job with no success for at least six months – a record, both in absolute and relative terms, to the size of the workforce.

Some demographics continue to disproportionately suffer. For instance, the youth unemployment rate in this country stands at 25%; the adult male jobless rate remains at 10%.

How about the well educated among us? How are our PhD-carrying comrades navigating this lousy labor market? Interestingly, it depends on the area in which they specialize.

According to a new report by Inside Higher Ed, historians have it rough: During the 2009-10 academic year, the number of positions listed with the American Historical Association dropped by 29.4%. That follows a 23.8% drop the year before. Last year, the association announced that the number of listings it received -- 806 -- was the smallest in a decade; this year's total of 569 marks the smallest number in 25 years.

But the jobs picture is decidedly different for all those academics studying their Hayek, Keynes and Friedman.

The American Economic Association says that its job listings in 2010 recovered from a 21% decline in 2008. Further, the number of academic jobs exceeded the number in 2008. (Economics job listings include positions in the finance and consulting industries, in addition to academic slots.)

The total number of listings with the AEA rose to 2,842 in 2010, up from 2,285 in 2009, and only 43 jobs shy of the 2008 total. New academic jobs increased to 1,884 in 2010, up from 1,512 in 2009, and now exceed 2008 totals by 24.

The top area of specialization in job listings, by far, was mathematical and quantitative methods, followed by microeconomics, macroeconomics and financial economics, international economics, and macroeconomics and monetary economics. (HT: Carpe Diem)
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