Although the number of people working as electrical engineers declined by 29,000 last year, a 10-percent drop, the number of software developers increased by 132,000, a nearly 12-percent gain, to a total of 1.235 million, according to unpublished U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data.
The number of software developers first passed the one-million mark in 2010.
"A nearly 10-percent decline in jobs from one year to the next, in a field that is supposed to be booming, is troubling," says IEEE-USA's Russ Harrison, referring to the electrical engineering figures. It is likely electrical engineers have moved into other fields, such as software engineering or aerospace engineering. Although electrical engineering is viewed as an important occupation that is critical to technology innovation, the number of people working in that profession has been declining for years.
"Some of the decline in the unemployment rate could be explained by unemployed electrical engineers drifting away from the profession, but not all of it," Harrison says. The unemployment rate for electrical engineers and software developers was put at 2 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively, according to the BLS data.
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