**Surplus of MLIS degrees (US)**

This has been one of the more popular topics I’ve discussed so I’ve decided to take a closer look at the data. Earlier I pointed out that there has been a tremendous increase in the number of MLIS degrees conferred over the years. In these two charts we’re taking 2 different looks at the same data.

The rate that the profession grows is a huge factor in considering whether or not we should be concerned about rising numbers of MLIS grads. In the first chart I’ve taken this into account. I’ve taken the change in librarians from the previous year and subtracted that from the number of new MLIS degrees conferred. If, for example, the change in the number of librarians employed from one year to the next is roughly equal to the number of MLIS grads, then we can expect everyone to find a job. If the number of new librarian position is greater than the number of new grads, the we can expect to run out of enough trained people. And finally if growth smaller is than the number of new grads we end up with a surplus of MLIS degrees. Blue bars in the first chart means that the number of librarians in the US did not grow to meet the number of new MLIS graduates.

In the second chart we can see the cumulative effect. Ideally we’d want that line to be roughly flat. Clearly this is not the case, in this chart at at 2009 we can see that 46,648 more MLIS degrees have been generated than jobs created.

The one factor I haven’t taken into account is retirements, growth creates jobs as well as retirements. I’m still working on creating some models for this, but even anecdotally we can guess there may be trouble.

46,648 librarians would have had to retire from 2000-2009 to make enough jobs. In 2000 there were 139,460 librarians in the US. This means roughly 1/3 of all librarians working in 2000 would have had to retire in order for there be enough jobs to meet the needs of new graduates with MLIS degrees. However retirement data, and even good projections, are hard to come by. I’ll do my best to show a couple of best and more realistic scenarios.

Data sources:

Bureau of Labor Statitics

Digest of Education Statistics (2010)