Fewer physics bachelor's degree recipients are receiving multiple job offers and more are taking part-time jobs or are unemployed after graduation than in the past. Together, those measures reflect a strained economy, according to a new report by the American Institute of Physics on initial employment of US physics and astronomy bachelors, masters, and PhDs of the classes of 2003 and 2004.

The private sector continues to be the dominant employer of physics degree holders at all levels. After three years of decline, the proportion of new physics bachelors immediately entering the job market stabilized at 41% in 2004, down from 52% in 2000.

Salaries in the private sector remained steady for 2003 and 2004. Midrange pay for new bachelors was $20 000 to $36 000 for jobs outside of science, math, technology, and engineering and $30 000 to $54 000 for jobs in those areas; new masters earned $43...

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