Thursday, January 14, 2010

Nervous smiles 

According to, an online database of job openings for PhDs in economics, the number of jobs advertised in the last four months of the year, when almost all jobs for newly minted economists are listed, was 1,285 in 2009, down by 21% on 2008�s figure. American economics departments churned out an average of 948 PhDs each year between 2006 and 2008. Add the number of candidates from European universities, which reckons is more than 350, and the supply of economists may exceed demand.
From the Economist, courtesy an anonymous reader. Not all those jobs are for new PhDs. We're one of those jobs for a new one, for now. Many state universities are sitting on offers "subject to budgetary approval", which risk-averse administrators may later choose to pull.

So should new PhD's wait to graduate like my undergrads? My experience is no -- you may see more job openings in future years, but also more candidates who didn't place, or placed in a school that is a poor match, etc. I tried to come out in January 1983, had ten interviews at the ASSAs and two fly-outs ... and no offers. Next year 23 interviews, five fly-outs and only two offers. Competition was fierce.

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