While we are in dire need of STEM graduates and the high pay in these fields speak to the labor market shortage, the market for bight, educated people isn’t equal. According to Jordan Weissmann at The Atlantic, the job market for PhD grads seems to have gone off the rails, and that includes for STEM doctoral students. The reasons aren’t explained by Weissmann, but my guess is that the skills and career direction imparted by a PhD program may not line up with the needs of those looking to hire smart graduates like these. Further research is certainly needed.
3D printers are quickly growing in their potential. According to CNN, these machines can now even “print” houses.
Tyler Cowen writes, “The Great Stagnation is a temporary slowdown in growth, not the permanent end of new ideas.” Well put, Tyler.
Some companies carry the weight of ambition loosely. They are the young and hungry types, fit with a lean form bent on innovation. You wouldn’t know that they carried entire economies on their backs. Yet young innovative companies are vanishingly rare and studied even less.
In a dense pocket of northern Belgium, two economists decided to study a very specific subset of the economy, what they called “young innovative companies,” or YICs. Dirk Czarnitzki and Julie Delanote found that these firms grew faster than the fastest firms. Not only that, but they never did worse than other companies, even when they experienced a downturn. YICs enjoyed an average of 3% annual employment growth from 2001 to 2008, while other firms saw a 3% decline.
To be young, hungry, and, most importantly, successful, the authors found that companies needed to stay small and maintain an intense focus on research and development (R&D). The good times didn’t always last though. As these companies grew in size and age, you began to see diminishing returns. They chased after export markets, for instance, which required a size and scale they’d previously shrugged off. Being a large, slow firm ended up being a better outcome though than staying a small, slow firm; the latter died off easily.
In 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the world’s first satellite. Its launch in turn propelled the development of the United States’ own space program. These two countries dominated the space race for decades. Recently, new space programs have been developed by China, Japan, and the European Space Agency, fostering interest in advancing their own space agendas.
Today, there are 60 nations or government consortia operating in space. Deputy Defense Secretary Bill Lynn stated that “ten years ago, the U.S. controlled 65% to 70% of the space market. Today, it has just 35% to 40%.”
That’s the question Jim Tankersley asked in a page one Washington Post story this week.
Here is how he summarized the situation:
“In the past three recoveries from recession, U.S. growth has not produced anywhere close to the job and income gains that previous generations of workers enjoyed. The wealthy have continued to do well. But a percentage point of increased growth today simply delivers fewer jobs across the economy and less money in the pockets of middle-class families than an identical point of growth produced in the 40 years after World War II.
That has been painfully apparent in the current recovery. Even as the Obama administration touts the return of economic growth, millions of Americans are not seeing an accompanying revival of better, higher-paying jobs.
The consequences of this breakdown are only now dawning on many economists and have not gained widespread attention among policymakers in Washington. Many lawmakers have yet to even acknowledge the problem. But repairing this link is arguably the most critical policy challenge for anyone who wants to lift the middle class.”
The Forum for Innovation reads the Internet so that you don’t have to, sharing a short list of curated blog posts for your Friday reading.