Wall Street Journal posted data from the venerable Center on Education and the Workforce on earnings and unemployment by college major.
There is a relative floor at $40,000 with a wide variation of unemployment (poor clinical psychology). There is a negative correlation between earnings and unemployment rate, but it might be too presumptuous to presume that high-paying majors get their cake and eat it too. Depending on the methodology, the higher earnings might simply reflect the fact they have a job.
Of course, median earnings is only one dimension. Below shows a messy graph that also incorporates the first and third quartiles:
On average, the third quartile was about 44 percent above the median values. Most of the majors had median earnings in the center of the inter-quartile range.
Similar data is also available for Iowa community colleges.
There are important threads in the data with are important to notice. The top 10 paying jobs are:
- Petroleum engineering
- Pharmacy/Pharmaceutical sciences & administration
- Mining and mineral engineering
- Naval architecture & marine engineering
- Nuclear engineering
- Mathematics and computer science
- Chemical engineering
- Electrical engineering
- Metallurgical engineering
- Military technologies
2 thoughts on “Earnings and Unemployment by Major”
I’ve been seeing this WSJ report around a bit lately. It’s interesting, but the main thing is lacks is what LEVEL of degree do the respondents have in these fields to garner this reported salary.
A quick look at the top ten suggest a minimum of a M.S. and most likely a Ph.D.
Homer Simpson aside, I doubt you would get very far with a B.S. in nuclear engineering. D’Oh!
I should’ve been an engineer, but really, lawyers have more fun. So still not regretting my decision.