A new, 11 October 2012, blog post by Jenna Goudreau of Forbes staff using data from the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University reports that anthropology and archaeology top the list of the worse college majors in economic terms.
Topping the list at No. 1, anthropology and archeology represent the worst choice of college major in economic terms. Recent college graduates of the major, those ages 22 to 26, can expect an unemployment rate of 10.5%, well above the national average. When they do land a job, the median salary is just $28,000, compared to a mechanical engineer’s initial earnings of $58,000.
Charles Mount has been following construction activity as a proxy variable for commercial archaeology work in Ireland (Mount 2012). His data show that a slowdown in construction results in a reduction in commercial archaeology, a well known trend around the world. Applying this concept to the UK we can look at the construction industry as a proxy for possible commercial archaeology activitiy. In this case, the The Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) is used. The results show that while construction was very strong at the beginning of the year, especially March, the index has been falling in the last couple of months. It is currently flirting with contraction, a reading of under 50, and it is unlikely that commercial archaeology, as a whole sector, will have seen lots of growth in the last few months.
Taking a longer view of the sector shows some clouds on the horizon. The UK government is now providing pipeline views of new construction projects anticipated over the next couple of years. These are big projects, £10 million plus, but these projects indicate a drop in government construction projects over the next few years. Government construction projects make up 40 percent of the construction sector.
|Count of Entries||Sum of 2011/12 (£m)||Sum of 2012/13 (£m)||Sum of 2013/14 (£m)||Sum of 2014/15 (£m)|
|Flood||38||£224 m||£289 m||£273 m||£251 m|
|Health||158||£590 m||£1,066 m||£983 m||£807 m|
|Housing & Regeneration||47||£1,789 m||£1,100 m||£1,281 m||£1,552 m|
|Justice||14||£203 m||£254 m||£280 m||£78 m|
|Transport||68||£3,596 m||£3,411 m||£3,622 m||£4,001 m|
|Waste||35||£594 m||£1,090 m||£1,407 m||£803 m|
|Education||£2,504 m||£1,640 m||£486 m|
|MOD||90||£396 m||£732 m||£627 m||£592 m|
|Police Authorities||132||£216 m||£14 m||£15 m||£03 m|
|Home Office||6||£13 m|
|Nuclear Decommissioning||24||£313 m||£275 m||£360 m||£449 m|
|Research||10||£13 m||£23 m||£14 m||£11 m|
|Further Education||1||£17 m||£153 m||£59 m||£01 m|
|Culture, Media and Sport||4||£1,098 m||£467 m||£425 m||£117 m|
|FCO Embassies||£42 m||£64 m||£69 m||£65 m|
|Coal Authority||2||£06 m||£07 m||£08 m||£08 m|
|Grand Total||629||£11,614 m||£10,586 m||£9,908 m||£8,738 m|
This could pickup as more projects are proposed and more money is allotted to large government construction projects. However, there needs to be a 25 percent increase in money allotted for proposed projects by 2014/15 to keep the supply constant. It looks as though construction will not see large growth in the next few months and there are head winds for the future. This means that commercial archaeology is probably in a similar setting. Do not expect a large contraction, but there is unlikely to be a large pickup either.
As should always be noted, a large catastrophic event make all projects redundant.
Mount, C. 2012. Indicators suggest that archaeological activity in Ireland continued to decline in the third quarter of 2012. The Charles Mount Blog, 4 October 2012. http://charles-mount.ie/wp/?p=960
Charles Mount has published some numbers on excavation licenses for Irish archaeology during the first two quarters of 2012–and the news is not good. You can see the full numbers in his post: