For a side project I have been looking at a lot of university anthropology department pages. As part of that I keep stumbling across this statement on department websites
” Overall employment of anthropologists and archaeologists, geographers, and historians is expected to grow by 22 percent from 2008 to 2018, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.”
Well I looked into this and it is not as cherry as the headlines read. The data is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which would seem like a trustworthy, but the data is from May 2008 (website is here http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos315.htm). Yes, before the crash. (Edit- in case this is not clear I am saying that these numbers are useless because they were taken before the economic crash when everyone’s outlook was better. Case in point, companies went from thinking about making CRM field tech. positions permanent because there were not enough archaeologists in Aug. 2008 to 200 applicants per position in Nov. 2008). Which means these numbers are pretty much useless now and universities should really take it off of their pages.
I did a little more digging and looked at their current data, found here – http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes193091.htm#%281%29
There are quite a few problems such as it says there are only 5,100 archaeologists and anthropologists employed in the US, in May 2010. Every estimate I have seen puts archaeologists at between 15,000-20,000 alone, not including anthropologists. This map I think sums up the massive bias in survey data.
From what I can tell the survey misses about 95% of the US landmass, entire states, and the majority of areas within the states it does reach. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is probably not the best source of data on archaeology or anthropology job conditions.